Sept. 1, 2010
WE'RE OFF TO OHIO...
The first of our five football games preselected for the ABC/ESPN family of networks is finally here -- Arizona at Toledo, at 5 p.m. (Tucson time -- 8 p.m. in Ohio) Friday. Other Wildcat sports (cross country, volleyball, soccer) are under way, but there's nothing quite like a football season opener to herald the start of a new school year. And don't forget, in a week we'll be back in Tucson for the home opener against The Citadel -- and you need tickets to be there.
COLORS FAR AND WIDE
IMG College, our media partner, is sponsoring a national College Colors Day 2010 this Friday, encouraging all IMG employees nationwide to wear the colors of their favorite college or university. (I trust that means the dozen IMG employees in McKale Center will be wearing Arizona gear, right?) The celebration cites a number of fundamentals, notably advocating higher education through increased public awareness and supporting the achievements of colleges and universities across the country. More on the event here: www.collegecolorsday.com, or become a part of the College Colors Day team at www.facebook.com/collegecolorsday. Of course it's Wildcat Friday, so you should be wearing the colors anyway.
REPRESENTING THE UNIVERSITY
Tucson television anchor Tom McNamara wrote to describe what he felt was superlative ambassadorship by some of our student-athletes, this time members of the softball squad. The team was in the community helping with an event that involved Mr. McNamara's station. In particular he was impressed by the players' engaging personalities and patient care they showed toward some special-needs adults. It's always good to hear such news, and good to see that our pride in our student-athletes is not misplaced. Thanks, ladies, and thanks, Tom.
MADNESS STARTS BEFORE MARCH
Many of you know we play host to the Second and Third Rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships in McKale Center next March - so far, we've sold eight thousand tickets as proof of that awareness. Planning for this prestigious event began months ago, and our internal group on the tourney management team participated in the first webinar hosted by the association last week to officially commence the work calendar required to pull it off. It's amazing how detailed the events have become, and the NCAA is already reaching out to the host institutions and conferences. This is a great opportunity for the University of Arizona to again showcase its facilities and top-level program. Let's get those remaining tickets sold. Buy them here.
LETTERWINNERS GIVE BACK
Part of our increased communication effort involves former letterwinners visiting team practices to offer support and hand out (compliance-approved) snacks. Assistant Athletics Director for Letterwinners & Annual Giving Frankie Acosta helped establish the drop-ins, taking Wildcats to the practice fields and courts on an informal basis. A friendly pat on the back and a `Bear Down' or two go a long way toward making our current student-athletes aware of the legions of supporters out there, especially their own sport's former competitors. Encouragement is a hallmark of forward-looking programs.
AND THE `PAC-12' DIVISIONS ARE...
Wouldn't you like to know? The conference and institutions still are involved in discussions about what football divisional alignment will be when full Pac-12 play begins in a season (or two). Pivotal to each school's competitive self-image and revenue opportunities, alignment also plays a serious role in scheduling changes that must be effected. (Normally you have a five- or 10-year plan for future football schedules; adding Colorado and Utah to the mix makes all current Pac-10 schools' schedules subject to some serious change.) I wish I could tell you what divisions might look like, but the eventual announcement will be a final plan with comprehensive details worked out ahead of time, not argued in the public's eye.
...The world-class softball program here at UA will bring back some of its former principals in October with a touring squad of National Pro Fastpitch players. They'll play the current Wildcat team in an exhibition match on Oct. 4th during fall ball. Some of the Cats on the squad include Mackenzie Vandergeest, Jennie Finch and Caitlin Lowe... Don't forget the occasional prizes you can get by following me on Twitter. Sign up, please, if you don't already, and help me lead national ADs in followers... The new paint job on the Horizon Movers' 18-wheeler that takes Arizona football gear on the road ahead of the team is sensational and some super logo-motion. The rig will put our colors passing through eight states on about 3,500 miles of highways this week. If you ever see the truck on the road, give a friendly wave or thumbs up...