Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
Athletics Director Greg Byrne
July 14, 2010
PRESENCE IN PHOENIX
As we discussed in last week’s email, we have made a number of adjustments to the structure of our department. One of the ones that I want to focus on today is moving Tom Theodorakis from our development team in the McKale Center to a new office in Phoenix where he will become our new Regional Director of Development.
Tom, a former student-athlete at Syracuse, has been with us for the past year and has shown tremendous initiative and energy. We felt those energies would be best suited to hit the ground running for us in this critical area.
Erika Barnes, who has been our main Phoenix representative the last several years, will still be in Phoenix on a regular basis (and I will, too) but we felt it was critical to have someone there on a daily basis and Tom gives us this opportunity.
One of the goals that we have within our department is to grow our support in the Phoenix market. We have a large alumni base there, it is a critical media market and their will be many student-athletes that we recruit from that area. It is also an area where we will need to increase our season ticket numbers, Wildcat Club memberships and the identification and cultivation of major gift prospects. Tom will be working diligently on all of those things. He can be contacted at email@example.com. SPORTS ON THE TUBE
A reader asked me about Pac-10 Conference television and why there aren't substantial numbers of events involving sports other than football or men's basketball. It's a good question with a couple of answers, but the bottom line is the capability of a broadcasting entity to make money. College volleyball, baseball, softball and gymnastics events, for examples, don't draw viewers in the same numbers as the revenue-producing sports -- and advertising dollars gravitate toward the big audiences. (It is a chicken-and-egg discussion, to be sure. Thanks, Clarence Johnson.) Our league's leadership is excited about the prospect of its television rights being on the street in a year or so, and would hope to include more Olympic sports programming. Plus, there's some consideration for a conference-operated package similar to the Big Ten Network. BTN offers all its schools a wide variety of television programming geared toward their regional viewing audiences. That might work out west as well. Rest assured, we want an improved regional and national television footprint for Pac-10 athletics.
SPEAKING OF THE MEDIA...
I met with reporters yesterday in McKale Center as simply an open-door gathering to see what's on their minds and to offer whatever kernels of wisdom I had about UA Athletics. We'd like to do this at least once a month just to keep the lines open. Our situation in Tucson, relative to the media, is often underappreciated. We have constant attention from daily newspapers, four television network affiliates, the student paper and several web sites, plus all the social media they generate. This is all good exposure for us. I'm sure many of you check these sources to get news on the Wildcats, and I want to make sure they know we're cognizant of the value their coverage provides. A frequent open discussion can only help.
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR
This is typically the time of year for many intercollegiate athletics department personnel to take vacation leave. But, that's not to say we're understaffed or not at work. We're completing our reorganization, numerous student-athletes are taking some important summer school classes, ticket operations remain focused on the coming year, our development team is at work and all areas are completing planning for the new year. Coaches and players on all teams basically keep a 12-month calendar when it comes to preparation, but some staff take a breath in the summer and then get back at it full speed in August. My own plans include a family trip to Alaska and hopefully we will be moving into our new home in August.
A DOSE OF REALITY
The world of intercollegiate athletics is a mix of challenge, triumph and adversity, but nothing like some other worlds out there. Tragically, one of our former baseball recruits, Chris Moon, died this week after suffering injuries while serving our country overseas in the U.S. Army. He signed to play athletics at the UA, attended and played fall ball in 2007, but chose a different path. We're saddened by his loss and send our deepest regards to his family and friends.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Work is under way to install new lighting at Arizona Stadium as part of the overall plan to enhance the facility. I think you'll notice a brighter glow at Wildcat games this fall (if, of course, you have tickets!). The stadium has been one of the best night facilities in the country since the first game under the lights on Sept. 25, 1931, and now it's going to be even better. We're committed to improvements across the board at all facilities and this is one initial step in that progress.
IN THE NETS
Like football and soccer, the volleyball squad will be on hand and preseason will be under way in a short month. The Wildcat volleyball team will have experience provided by senior veterans Paige Weber, Tiffany Owens and Whitney Dosty, all-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selections in 2009, and are arguably the top returning trio in the treacherous Conference of Champions. UA added an impressive recruiting class and all four of the new ‘Cats will have the opportunity to see some significant court time in 2010. Head coach Dave Rubio will embark on his 19th season at the helm in 2010 and no active Pac-10 coach has won more conference matches than Rubio’s 340 Pac-10 victories. Last year, eight Pac-10 teams made the tournament, so it's a rough road from the onset of league play. In the meantime, our soccer team opens camp Aug. 11 under the direction of Coach Lisa Oyen. She's been a key assistant, took over part of the way through last year and now runs the show in her first full year. I hope you will make plans to come out and watch our volleyball and soccer student-athletes compete this fall...click on the links to view their respective schedules.