Oct. 6, 2010
CLIMBING THE RANKINGS
Congratulations to Mike Stoops and our 9th-ranked Arizona Football team for cracking the top 10 in the AP poll. This marks our highest ranking in the AP Poll since our preseason #4 rank going into the 1999 season and is an outstanding achievement for our program.
I finished this entry on a flight to San Francisco for the Pac-12 meetings. Most of you know that the gathering will be one of the most significant in the league's history. We hope to gain some consensus on revenue sharing, alignment, scheduling and a football championship game, for recommendations to the CEOs for their meetings later this month. I promise that we will look after the University of Arizona, but we also will keep the growing strength of our conference in mind as well. Often the two go hand in hand. It should be an interesting meeting.
WE KEPT BUSY ON THE BYE WEEK
Regina accuses me of not sitting still very well. The same can be said for our athletic department staff. Six staff members from our game operations and marketing departments and I traveled to the deep south last weekend to take in the Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State and Alabama vs. Florida football games. Our staff followed their peers at Mississippi State on Friday and Saturday to take in all of the operations that are a part of game weekends. The group then took the one-hour drive to Tuscaloosa for the nationally televised game and to see firsthand that Bear Bryant has not been forgotten.
One of the accomplishments that made me most proud during my time at Mississippi State was the fact that last football season they broke the single-season football attendance record by almost 70,000 fans. In addition to the fans making their commitment to purchase tickets and support their team in person, a strong commitment to customer service by the game-day workers and a great game experience both on and off the field made that record possible. We wanted to go spend time and see what ideas we could learn as we work to give you and UA student-athletes the best experience possible.
A CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE
This Friday, we'll be hosting a private reception for former Wildcat Football Coach Dick Tomey, his staff and players. On Saturday, he and his wife, Nanci Kincaid, as well as his son and daughter-in-law will be honored on the field during the OSU game. With all the current success in football under Coach Mike Stoops, it's wonderful to cite people like Coach Tomey, the winningest coach in our history, for the work he accomplished on the field and in helping build a tradition of excellence. Two of his teams from 1987 to 2000 are the 10-2 squad in 1993 and the 12-1 team in 1998, which gave Arizona one of the best performances in the 1990s in the Pac-10. His teams had high individual national honor winners, scholar-athlete recognitions and superior community and citizenship marks. Coach Tomey will be recognized on Saturday between the first and second quarters of the game. Please join us in heart-felt recognition of his work for the University of Arizona. He's being honored with the John Button Salmon Award.
RECOGNIZING ANOTHER WILDCAT GREAT
Former University of Arizona basketball star Ernie McCray will be honored by the UA Black Alumni Association in a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 22, as part of Homecoming weekend. He was named the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Achiever by the UABA. Mr. McCray's experience as a pioneer in college athletics was marked by a consummate team attitude and fortitude to go with excellence on the court, a combination that helped earn him spots in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and Tucson High School Hall of Fame. Fifty years ago he scored 46 points in a game, a mark that still stands as Arizona's best-ever. But his legacy is represented by much more than numbers and we join in the salute to Ernie McCray as a University of Arizona champion. Click HERE to register for the event.
APPRECIATING THE FIRST HALF OF 'STUDENT-ATHLETE'
Our media partner IMG will help us recognize worthy student-athletes during its locally-produced television broadcasts for football and basketball this year, with SA of the Week citations. Kudos to volleyball's Paige Weber and distance runner Jordan Mara for their citations thus far. Paige carries a 3.88 grade point average while Jordan checks in at 3.73, plus they're both active in our outreach programs, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and other community efforts. They're two of the many student-athletes who go above and beyond serious time commitments to athletic preparation and competition by providing outstanding University of Arizona role modeling.
KEEPING UP WITH THE WILDCATS
A number of readers have written to ask why I didn't include this, or mention that... One of the recurrent themes in these weekly messages is that we hope you're following the Wildcats on ArizonaWildcats.com, our Facebook page, on Twitter, and in the Tucson and national media. Please don't rely on this weekly note to give you the total package of what's happening in Arizona Athletics on a daily basis. We simply can't cover it all here. The goal is to offer you an inside glimpse of some pertinent issues we face on a regular basis.
IN TWO WEEKS IT'S ONE FOR THE AGES
This year’s homecoming – "One for the Ages" – marks the culmination of the University of Arizona’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. I hope that many of you not only will attend the Saturday events, but also the events that will take place all over campus on Friday, Oct. 22. The Collegiate and Campus Showcase presented by the UA Alumni Association celebrates excellence at the University of Arizona with more than 30 campus presentations and tours. Our deputy AD Rocky LaRose will be giving a presentation on Friday titled "Women's Sports Legacy – The Impact of Title IX on UA Sports." Later that evening we will be celebrating the 2010 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame inductions at McKale Center. The evening closes with the Homecoming Kickoff Pep Rally & Bonfire at Old Main. Coach Mike Stoops, the team captains, Dr. Robert Shelton, myself, The Pride of Arizona Marching Band, Wilbur, Wilma and the cheerleaders all will be on hand for this wonderful Homecoming tradition. For more information about any of the events happening during Homecoming 2010, please go to www.uahomecoming.com. Tickets to the game are still available and can be purchased HERE.
UKRAINE ZOO FARTHEST AWAY SO FAR
Carson Wheet, class of 2009, wrote that on his current Peace Corps tour in Eastern Europe, he's working on a youth development project and has created a Ukrainian Chapter of ZonaZoo. His charges are singing "Bear Down" with an accent (not unlike our basketball player Kyryl Natyazhko), he reports. Send Carson a note in the Ukraine if you like: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice group of kids learning about the Cats:
...Have to congratulate our women's soccer team for its recent performances in winning back-to-back games. Head coach Lisa Oyen and staff have helped the team move forward in their first full year on the job. Way to go... The cross country squads also have turned in some remarkable performances, like a sweep at the ASU Invitational last week, and now are gearing up for a pre-national meet next week. The women's squad has won four meets in four tries and is ranked in the Top 10... Volleyball, meantime, won the first half-point in the State Farm Territorial Cup series last week and will travel to the Oregon schools this weekend... Former golfer Jim Furyk designated $25,000 of a PGA Tour of America charities pledge from his Ryder Cup participation to the UA program last week. Thanks, Jim, for your generosity...Don't forget that season tickets are available for both men's and women's basketball. Non-priority men's basketball season tickets can be purchased for $370. Priority season tickets are also available. Call 621-CLUB (2582) for more information. Women's basketball season tickets start at only $75. Don't miss out on all the action at McKale!