Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sixth Annual Smoker Tonight

There are many highlights in a year when you are involved with the Arizona Wildcats. So many things to look forward to, so many great people to work with, so many sunny and fun days.

Well, tonight is one of those things that is definitely a highlight of each year. Erick Harper's annual bbq smoker at his house. This guy can flat out bbq a piece of meat; and the sauce, wow, it is the best.

Coach Harp is our Director of Football Operations and he came here with Coach Stoops. He played at Kansas State when Coach Stoops and his brother, Bob Stoops were coaching as assistants at Kansas State. Originally from Texas, Harp (as we all call him) is also just a great all around guy.

Everyone looks forward to Harp's Smoker. Everyone beats him up early in the year for the date he has set for the smoker so they do not plan anything else on the important day. Cindy and I thought, and were hoping, that we would miss it because the golf team was playing in Toledo today, but even with the golf teams poor play this past week, I couldn't help but smile because I knew we would make the smoker!

Not only is the food off the hook good, but the fellowship with everyone there is great too. Everyone always shows up in a great mood because they know how good the food is going to be, then everyone just stays around and has a great time.

My mouth is already watering just thinking about tonight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fourth Annual Pac 10 Eq Mgrs Meeting a success

The fourth annual Pac 10 Equipment Managers was a huge success. Everyone got into Las Vegas with no problems, attended some great meetings, enjoyed some golf, and left for home on time. Everyone arrived around noon this past Wednesday (May 20) and checked into our Excalibur Hotel, which has hosted us all four years. After getting checked in, we all went to Thomas and Mack Center on the UNLV campus. We met for 3 hours and had two great outside speakers.

Our first speaker was Duane Lindberg of the Pac 10 office in Walnut Creek, CA. He talked to us about the importance of branding of our conference. He talked about importance of logos on our uniforms. He also talked about different operation functions that affect us. Then he was nice enough to open the floor for questions.

After that, Jon Cooperstein talked to us about different Bowl gift programs that can help us take care of our teams better. Jon has extensive background with a number of bowls, including BCS bowls, with their bowl package gifts.

The next morning we had Thad Ide of Riddell speak to us about the development of the Revolution helmets. He did a great job of going all the way back to the 1970's with design of helmets. He had awesome videos of research done on different kinds of impact. He then show more videos of impact when chinstraps are not properly fit, or helmets not properly fit. The presentation was AWESOME.

Then, Dick Lester, had the difficult task of following a great presentation on a talk about liability and how it affects our jobs. He did a tremendous job of opening up talk and discussion among all of us. His presentation was a talk that ALL equipment managers should have to hear. He talked about how important it is for each of us in the equipment managing business to be the professional in determining helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

We then had the great opportunity to hear from Tina Kunzer-Murphy of the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl. She talked about the importance of our role with our teams and how we can help their bowl and our teams to be successful while at the bowl. She had Paul Puccarelli, Head Equipment Manager at UNLV talk to the group about logistics while using his facilities during that week. Since our conference has a tie in to that bowl, this workshop was incredibly important.

Along with all the workshops and meetings, we were able to have open discussions about important issues that confront us each day.

Then on Thursday afternoon, we were able to enjoy an afternoon of golf at Wildhorse Golf Club in Henderson. Steve McCoy was the individual winner with a score of 76. Wow, what a round!

We are already putting together ideas for next years meeting, which will be the Fifth Annual Meeting.

From L to R: Greg Allen of USC, Paul Lopez of ASU, Milton Neal of WSU, and Tino of USC:
From L to R: Tino Dominguez of USC, Gary Hazelitt of Stanford, Bart Fullmer of Washington:

From L to R: Steve McCoy of Oregon St, Arnold Alcantar, also from OSU, Pete and Tony of UCLA, Mark Zimmer of ASU, Josh Pietz of WSU, David Moosman of Cal, and Tim Pfennig of Arizona:

Pete Maglieri and Tony Perri, both of UCLA:

Paul Lopez of ASU, talking with Milton Neal of WSU:

Thad Ide, VP for Research and Development for Riddell:
Dan Vooletich, Dick Lester, Thad Ide, and Mike McBride:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Well, I am up in Toledo, Ohio to watch the Wildcat golf team compete for the NCAA National Championship at Inverness Golf Club. Tomorrow is the first round of the tournament. Oh yeah, my son, Tyler, is also competing for the Wildcats.

My wife, Cindy, and I arrived in Detroit yesterday and came down to Toledo to get settled in to our hotel for the week. This morning, she and I drove over to Youngstown, Ohio to see Cardinal Mooney High School where Coach Mike and Mark Stoops went to high school. For the past years I have learned so much about Cardinal Mooney and Youngstown and I wanted to go see for myself.

There is so much history there, plus there were so many great people who also went to Cardinal Mooney, including Frank Buffano. Anyway, I was NOT disappointed. I have been wanting to go for awhile now and since the golf team is up here, I thought I would take advantage.

The highlight was getting to see Uncle Jim Stoops, which is Coach Mike and Mark Stoops uncle. He just lets me call him uncle. Cindy and I got to visit with him at his house in Canfield. What a blast. I love visiting with him, and it was a treat to visit with him on his back porch of his house.

On the way back to Toledo, we drove through Cleveland.

We are excited about watching the team tomorrow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PAC 10 Equipment Managers Annual Meeting

It is that time of the year again where the Pac 10 Equipment Managers get together for a couple of days for meetings and workshops. This is our fourth annual meeting in Las Vegas.

We will be meeting on a variety of topics, plus we have some special guest coming to address the group. We will be meeting at the Thomas and Mack Center on the UNLV campus. Scheduled to appear this year is Duane Lindberg from the Pac 10 office, which will address a few things including the Pac 10 brand and how we can advance that effort with logos on our uniforms. He will clear up any issues any of us have, or answer questions we may have.

Also talking to the group will be Tina Kunzer-Murphy, Executive Director of the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl. Her bowl and city have so much to offer to the Pac 10 teams that come and participate in that bowl game. She will take some time to share with the group what they can offer to make our jobs as equipment managers easier during the week long experience.

Along with the bowl theme, we have Jon Cooperstein talking to our group about bowl gifts. Jon is somewhat of an innovator when it comes to bowl gifts for the bowl games and the schools that participate in their bowls. He has very creative ideas that has worked extremely well at some big time bowl games. He was nice enough to accept our offer to address our group to see if he can help with our sometime headaches when it comes to ordering bowl gifts.

We also have Riddell's top legal counsel coming to address our group about liability issues and how we can protect ourselves and our schools. For obvious reasons, this is an extremely valuable presentation. Also from Riddell will be Thad Ide, who is Vice President for Research and Development for them. He is responsible for the Revolution helmet among many other things at Riddell, but with the explosion of the Speed Revolution helmet now we are very fortunate to have him walk us through the evolution of the Revolution.

These are just the highlights of our two days of meetings this year. We will have 15 equipment managers representing 9 of the 10 conference schools this year. I hope to have some pictures and stories from our experience next week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Zac!!!!

Today is the birthday of future superstar equipment manager, Zac Cook. Zac is in his second year as a Wildcat Equipment Manager. Among the many ways Zac helps all of us out, his biggest responsibility is over seeing all of our laundry needs. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University which is in the Cincinnati Ohio area.
Zac is one of the easiest choices for a hire I have ever had to make, but one of the hardest hires to make. Fresh out of college and a long ways from Tucson Arizona, Zac was looking for an opportunity to get into the business. He, like many before him, had to make a very difficult decision and one that is NOT easy to make. He had to decide if he could leave scores of GREAT friends, family and an area he loves dearly.
I know it was tough for him early on, just like it was for me when I left Texas for Washington State. Lots of home sickness. Even though there has been tough times every now and then, Zac has done a TREMENDOUS job and has done a great job of adapting to the desert of Arizona.
He lit up like a light bulb when we hired Sean Miller from Xavier!!!! Zac's best friend, Kevin Schappell is an assistant coach for the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team and last year he got tickets for Zac and I to go to Phoenix and watch the Mountaineers and the Xavier Musketeers play in the Sweet Sixteen. Zac was very familiar with Xavier being from the Cincinnati area. After watching that game, Zac and I knew Sean Miller would be a GREAT replacement for Lute Olson.
So know we have some new Cincinnati people working in McKale, and that has helped out with Zac alot. Of course, Frank Busch, the best swim coach in the world, and our Swimming and Diving Head Coach is from the same area as Zac. Coach Busch has had Zac over to the house so he can have some Skyline Chili, just like they have in Cincy. They say Coach Busch's wife can make as good or even better.
There are so many things to love about Zac, but my favorite things are his passion for life, sports, college athletics, his teams, and most importantly, his passion for service to athletes, coaches and those around him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!!!

We did our part today in celebrating Cinco de Mayo by cooking Carne Asada out on the new grill and serving up Carne Asada burros and tacos for lunch today.

We had a GREAT turnout on the practice field for lunch today. We served fresh tortillas with carne asada, sour cream, guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, chips, and Cindy's outstanding fresh salsa. Wendell even broke out the red cabbage slaw.

We served the football and basketball coaches. It was the first event where both staffs were together for a little event. As usual, the weather was perfect and everyone had fun. It is easy to have fun with those two staffs!!!! I have been saying since we hired Coach Miller as our new basketball coach, he and his assistants are so similar to Coach Stoops and his staff it is scary (scary good of course). Both staffs are incredibly nice and very appreciative of the very smallest thing you do for them.

One thing was for sure after today's lunch. We will do it again!!! This was a trial run with the new grill, but everyone seemed to have fun. The only bad part was that Tom got sick and had to go home today, so he missed out.

I think the best part was having Daniel out there with us, especially since he once again did all the work. He insisted on cutting up the steaks after they were grilled. He is without a doubt the hardest working guy in McKale, but what really sets him apart is that he is one of the nicest and most fun guys in McKale too. We love having him around. He takes so much pride in making sure our equipment room and locker rooms are the kept extremely neat and clean. He is the best ever!!!!!

Tim and Benny keeping an eye on things:

Daniel, the hardest working guy in McKale, saved the day with all of the work:

Cindy and Daniel doing a lot of work, as usual:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Soleng Tom Elementary Day!!!!!!

This is my favorite day of the entire year! We are fortunate to have MANY great days at McKale Center, but none are as AWESOME as the day Fifth graders from Tucson's best elementary school visit McKale each May.

Soleng Tom Elementary school is located on the east side of Tucson (my neighborhood) and is one of Tucson's best schools every year. I have had the honor of being on their School Site Council for the past 2 years. For the past number of years, they have allowed me to visit their school in the fall and talk to them about leadership, and being a good team member. Then the following May, twelve of their top fifth graders are chosen to come spend a few hours with me at McKale. It is a GREAT experience, and believe me, I get more out of this event than they do!!!!!

Longtime friend, Martha Damek, is their school counselor and she is the individual who came up with the idea years ago. I grew up in Dayton Texas with her and her husband Keith (who helps with the home football team lockeroom in the fall). She does an outstanding job with Soleng Tom students. Today she came with her new principal, fellow teacher and parent and twelve kids to visit McKale.

I took pictures of some of the activities we did today at McKale. The group was able to walk out on the baseball field and football field. They then went to the new Richard Jefferson Gymnasium to shoot some baskets in our new practice facility. After that they toured the football area, and got to meet new assistant basketball coach James Whitford. After seeing the new floor design on the court, they went into the weightroom after meeting Coach Edmond. Along the way, we had to walk through the Academic center where they met many of our athletes and even had a group picture with some of our football players. They peeked in our many of our student athletes working in the Academic computer lab.

One the very coolest parts in my opinion was when Blair Willis of Media Relations opened up the press conference room and each student got a picture behind the microphone and in front of the Arizona Athletics banner behind. The parents and teachers seemed to like it alot too!

Along the way to the HIGHLIGHT of the tour (equipment room), they were able to meet Dr. Porter, our team physician and new football coach Seth Litrell. Again, they also saw many of our athletes in the hallways.

Then, they spent some time in the equipment room trying on basketball uniforms, football uniforms, over sized shoes and much more. Tim treated them to a t-shirt and helmet stickers. They also loved the eye black stickers he gave them. Then Benny took them into the Men's basketball locker room.

The last portion of their tour was seeing the Hall of Champions. They seemed to like that more than I thought they would. There, they were able to pick up many posters of our teams. From there they went over to the Student Union for lunch.

As I said earlier, I get so much more out of the visit than they do. I realize they just like field trips and they would love a tour of anything. These are GREAT kids from a GREAT school and it is so refreshing to see the leaders of tomorrow take in all that they see. It also allows me to see just how fortunate I am to work at a place like McKale. It reminds me of how great our facilities are, and what FIRST CLASS student athletes, coaches, and staff members we have. Each of the student athletes, coaches or staff members that saw us walk by came up to the kids to meet them and ask them why they were there. Each of them treated our guest with CLASS!!!

I am already looking forward to next years visit!!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Arrival

Well, we are doing away with the old hand me down, piece of junk, propane grill and going with the newest and greatest charcoal grill!

Tim is upset that we are getting rid of the ol dinasour (not really). Hopefully we can grill some good Carne Asada for Cinco de Mayo!!!!!

Thanks to Benny for heading up the construction of this beauty!

Who needs propane:

Benny can do it all:

Everyone is getting involved:

Derek helping out with the new grill:

Banker giving Benny a hand with the new grill:
Benny putting together our new grill: