Sept. 29, 2010
AND THEN THERE WERE TWELVE...
Good news last week on the official entry of Colorado into what will be Pac-12 play next year instead of the following year as had been anticipated. Many were working behind the scenes to hasten the school's entry along with Utah for the 2011-12 season. This is another step toward finalizing divisional alignment for football, and another move toward the Pacific-12 Conference as a competitive reality. The ADs meet in a week and we will be working to finalize recommendations to the CEOs on revenue sharing, scheduling, and a championship football game. The league's CEOs meet Oct. 21 at which time divisions might be finalized, despite reports saying it was a done deal last week.
TOUGH TIMES HIT HOME
The University of California Berkeley announced yesterday that the school's plan for its athletics future included eliminating four sports and re-assigning a fifth to varsity club status. We empathize with the student-athletes, coaches and community members such a decision impacts. Fiscal difficulties across the nation have pushed many schools to consider the scope of their programs and to find additional ways to save money. The Cal situation underscores the importance of our teamwork at the UA - cost containment, donor support, effective planning - to keep us moving forward. We've been a positive fund-balance program for decades and will remain so. We have deep regard for the many of you who help make that possible. We also continue to encourage you and others to join the Wildcat Club and purchase season tickets if you are not already doing so. Thanks for everyone’s support!
A VIEW OF THE FUTURE
Some have asked me when they can get the first glimpse of our plans for Arizona Stadium. We are a long way off from being able to share anything on the entire stadium but we are full speed ahead on the North End Zone Complex. The architects are updating plans after meetings on campus. They've been working with the basics - what features we want, square footage requirements for those areas, etc. - and soon will have updated plans for us to review. The project is moving on schedule and is really going to take our entire program to another level.
MEETING FANS AND SPORTSMANSHIP
Some of our staff joined me in visiting different tailgates and other areas before the game last Saturday to meet our fans, thanking them for being there and to discuss sportsmanship. The response was great and we sure appreciated the interaction. I particularly enjoyed venturing into ZonaZoo to meet our students and into the south end zone to meet everyone including the Zona Defenders. A special thank you to the school teachers that I met who gave me my first pair of football-shaped sunglasses, I’m sure that GQ will be calling soon after that incredible fashion statement. We will continue to encourage great sportsmanship though our Bear Down with Pride campaign and ask others to do the same.
EXTENDING HOSPITALITY TO THE OTHER SIDE
We received a very positive note from Peter and Margie Prescott of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., who attended the Cal football game as guests of UC Berkeley athletics director Sandy Barbour. They noted their fortune at seeing the game from the visiting AD booth, and applauded what they felt was a very positive visiting-fan experience at Arizona Stadium. They said they'd be happy one day if their children chose the University of Arizona for their education, and welcomed us to Berkeley as hosts if or when the occasion arose. I think their experience speaks to our sportsmanship initiatives and the way we should welcome and treat ALL fans and fellow spectators at events. Thanks, Peter and Margie, and thanks to UA fans for helping them feel this way.
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING
Here's a commercial: step up and get tickets to the Family Weekend football game against Oregon State (Oct. 9) and the Homecoming tilt against Washington (Oct. 23), the next segment of our home schedule. Quizz and James Rodgers of OSU and Jake Locker of Washington are just three of the visitors bringing some flair to Arizona Stadium in those contests. The OSU game kicks at 4 p.m. for a national cablecast on Versus and the Homecoming game time will be set soon. Ticket sales have been strong for each of those matchups and we need you on campus supporting our team for these critical games.
T-CUP BATTLE ON TAP THIS WEEK
I'm looking forward to my first rivalry games in 2010. We reminded you of it last week, but now it's on -- the first event in the State Farm Territorial Cup series between Arizona and our friends from Tempe. The volleyball game in McKale Center at 7 p.m. Friday opens the series. Get your tickets and be there. It will mean a lot to the young women competing on both teams and, of course, we'll be behind those in our colors. Next up in the Cup series is a soccer match in Tempe on Oct. 15 and the Pac-10 cross country championships in Seattle on Oct. 30.
FACE TO FACE
As you all know, I believe in the power of social media. Facebook is a great tool and our department does a great job using it. Right now, we are over 6,000 fans, but want to reach 50,000. This newsletter reaches almost 90,000. Our Facebook page gives daily notes and insights as well as videos, pictures and giveaways. Check it out and 'like' it to help us reach our goal. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/Greg_Byrne. I have been giving away tickets and Arizona shirts on a regular basis but you can’t win if you don’t follow.
ARIZONA BASKETBALL TICKETS
Basketball fans - now is the time to get men’s basketball season tickets. A limited number of upper-level non-priority seats are available. New season tickets will go on sale to the public next Monday, October 4th. These seats cost $370 each for the entire season. Buy them while you can!
Speaking of basketball….if you are interested in traveling to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Invitational, don’t forget to order your tickets by October 1st. The Wildcats will play two games in Orleans Arena on Nov. 26 and 27, including a showdown with Kansas. Click HERE to purchase.
You can get a sneak peek at the men’s squad at the annual Red-Blue Game, which is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. tip on October 24. The women open at home at 7:00 p.m. on November 2. Get your tickets today.
Don’t forget to wear the colors on Fridays and encourage your friends and co-workers to do the same. Here's a picture of the staff of BeachFleischman accounting firm on a Wildcat Friday... That's a lot of Cats! Be sure to send us pictures of you in your Arizona gear to firstname.lastname@example.org.
...Congratulations to former Wildcat Jim Furyk, who just won the FedEx Cup on the PGA tour with a victory at the Tour Championship Sunday. Had to make a save out of a bunker on 18 to do it... Men's and women's basketball open preseason practice in two weeks. Coach Butts and Coach Miller and staffs have been able to work with individuals and smaller groups since earlier this month, plus many student-athletes were in summer school and working with strength coaches. So, while it's not exactly like turning on a switch Oct. 15, it piques the interest in hoops to join our other active sports. A gift from Cole and Jeannie Davis and a sizeable donation from Sean and Amy Miller helped finance some upgrades to the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium facility that both teams (and volleyball) use for some practices... Have to pass on some kind words from Kenneth Muscutt of the Pebble Beach Company, who brought his party from central coastal California to the Iowa football game, "wearing everything red" they could lay hands on. "Off the charts” was how he described the excitement and his pride in the team, and noted he's already purchased group tickets to the remaining home games. That's some superior commuting. Thanks, Ken!