Nov. 23, 2011
NEW ERA FOR ARIZONA FOOTBALL
I'm sure you noticed that we culminated our six-week search and named Rich Rodriguez head coach of the Wildcat Football program on Tuesday. We're eager to embark on a new journey after bringing in Rich, a veteran who's led college programs for 18 years. There were a number of candidates, but much of the search - which, thankfully, remained confidential as planned - took a turn in his direction at just the right time and we're glad to have brought him aboard. He looks to the future, as do we, and the move in connection with our spring groundbreaking for the new football facility, a good amount of time left in the 2012 recruiting process, and Rich's brand of exciting football all bode well for 2012 and beyond. Rich will be introduced at halftime of Saturday's game. Join me in welcoming him and his family to Tucson!
Our football team closes the 2011 season at 2 p.m. Saturday in Arizona Stadium. Please come out and support our seniors and the coaches who have given their all under some difficult circumstances. I don't need to tell you the team won the Territorial Cup last Saturday (and a point in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series) with a rousing victory at ASU. (Speaking of which, there are some cool commemorative T-Shirts available here) You can purchase tickets online for as low as $10 ($5 for our Facebook fans) as part of our Black Friday Sale. Let's fill up the stadium and help the seniors end their careers on a high note.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. As we approach Thanksgiving, it's important for us to remember what we are thankful for. We are so grateful to have a great group of student-athletes here who choose to continually give back to the surrounding community. Throughout the season, our UA football players have been making trips to visit hospitalized youth prior to each Saturday home football game.
In addition, our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) decided to do a canned food and turkey drive to help provide a Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate. With the help of their teammates, SAAC collected enough money to purchase 16 turkeys to be donated to a soup kitchen this holiday season. This group also participates in monthly community service projects as well as other leadership activities.
Our student-athletes realize the importance of giving back and that they have a responsibility to be role models in the community. These are just a few of the many projects they are involved in throughout the year and we are so fortunate to work with such a great group of student-athletes.
Arizona freshman cross country runner Lawi Lalang won the men's NCAA Cross Country Championship going away in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday. Congratulations to Lawi and Coach James Li. It's said that Lawi is a rare talent who has the ability to repeat -- many times over. Meantime, our women's team finished 19th in the Championships led by Jen Bergman's All-America effort with an individual 19th-place mark.
ARIZONA BASEBALL'S HOME
We have moved forward on the agreement with the City of Tucson that will have our baseball team's move to Hi Corbett Field a reality. The Athletics Department is appreciative of the efforts by Jay Zucker of the Tucson Toros and the City of Tucson in clearing the way for the UA to sign an exclusive-use lease agreement with the City. Work will commence immediately and we'll be holding spring baseball games at Hi Corbett to open the 2012 season. Mark your calendars for January 7th, as we'll host a "select-a-seat" event at the stadium. This is an exciting and relevant transformation for our program and one that gives us a leg up on many others. More news to come on this later.
STUDENT-ATHLETES AT THE TOP
Dr. Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the Honors College, wrote to advise me that the UA has 40 student-athletes who are Honors Students. That's pretty remarkable, as she notes, given the combination of time commitment that they face in both studies and athletic competition. We have some serious appreciation for all the educators who help our students, and to the students themselves for such dedication. Bear Down!
We spread word -- again -- to our staff last week that if they witness a crime, call the police. It's a simple concept and one that can only help. Surely our warning was a reaction to some of the national news of late, but it never hurts to remind everyone that intercollegiate athletics is not the main priority in and of itself when it comes to the safety and well being of those around us. If this sounds a little vague and prideful, that's not my intention; I want you to know we do not place our program above common sense.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND STUDENT-ATHLETES
There are numbers of athletic departments taking hard-line stances on their student-athletes' use of social media, particularly the instant communication platforms that reach more widely than within the athletes' circle of friends. A casual statement through Twitter, for example, can be pushed to a huge audience of friends, foes and scrutinizing members of the media alike. As a department we do not ban use of social media by student-athletes, although we certainly do counsel our people to be aware of their stage and prudent in what they say. Effectively it's really no different than what coaches told athletes before technology came up with the current systems: Be smart, be cautious, represent your school and remember you're always "on" when you say things. In the "old days" it took a newspaper account, a pair of scissors and the mail or a bulletin board to spread the word. Now it takes 14 seconds to publish something available world-wide.
...The volleyball team had a big win last night vs. ASU and plays the Sun Devils again in another State Farm Territorial Cup Series half-point match on Saturday night in Tempe (7 p.m.). So far Arizona has a 3-1 lead in the State Farm series, a solid beginning for 2011-12 and our quest for a third consecutive title. Go Cats! Wilbur made it to the playoffs! Keep the votes coming so he can have a chance at the scholarship money! Vote by clicking here or by texting Wilbur to 78527.
WEARING THE COLORS
The staff at Riverside Dental wearing the colors as they do every Friday.
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and:
Bear Down with Pride,
- Join the Wildcat Movement
- Buy Season Tickets
- Wear the Colors (Especially on Friday)
- Get Others to Do the Same
Director of Athletics
University of Arizona