Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Forward to Thursday Night!!!!!

We are having some GREAT practices this week! Our team seems very focused at task on hand. They know that the Sun Devils are bringing one of their best teams in recent years to Arizona Stadium this Thursday night. No doubt, ASU is one of the top teams in our conference this year!

It is hard to believe that the regular season is in it's last week. After a little time off, we will be working towards going to our third bowl game in a row. Tons of fun ahead.

Everyone seems very excited about the game this Thursday.

Jordan Bates running 7on7 drills yesterday:

Starting Offensive Tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and former Wildcat, Eben Britton made an appearance at practice yesterday. One of the all time GREAT guys!!!!!

Senior Ben Hulka getting one of his last chances at running chains for the Wildcats. Thanks Jim Furyk for recommending Hulk.

Robert Lloyd had a great practice yesterday and a better Monday night after his 49ers killed the Cardinals on MNF

Senior Ryan Ewalt charting passing drills for Coach Scelfo:

Senior Mike Reed gets ready for special teams period:

Mike Baranowski and Michael Barnett work hard during Team Drill:

Myself with a future Wildcat, Bode Hammerschmidt. Bode is the son of coach Jeff Hammerschmidt and he is 11 months old. He was born right after the team returned from the Holiday Bowl. Bode and the rest of his family was here last night for Cookie Night.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A GREAT Hunting Trip

Over the years, I have heard all kinds of stories about hunting trips. Many of the stories I have heard speak of the fun had by all, even though they didn't get what they went for. Well, the same can be said about our trip to Eugene. We set out to bag the Ducks, but we came back with nothing to speak of. The trip was great, with the exception of being delayed in the Eugene Airport after the game for about 5-6 hours. The plane flown up to get us from Phoenix had an engine go out at the end of the flight up to Eugene, so US Airways had to get another plane and crew up to Eugene at the last minute on a holiday weekend. Other than that and the outcome of the game, the trip was really nice.

First of all, a shout out to Kenny Farr, the new equipment manager for the Ducks. He and his student managers did an OUTSTANDING job of assisting us with our trip. That has not always been the case in Eugene. Kenny is a future super star in this business. The Ducks and the Pac 12 equipment managers are very fortunate to have Kenny up there for a long time. Thanks Kenny!

Once again, we took 5 tremendous student managers on a trip. Four of the five were seniors and those guys will really be missed! We will have a tough time replacing our six GRADUATING senior managers. I may shed a few tears this Thursday when those six managers are introduced before the game! I am extremely proud of these six young men! They did another great job for the Wildcats this past weekend. The game was cold and wet, yet the equipment staff did a great job all week in preparation, then also executing a plan on gameday to keep the players and coaches warm and dry during the game.

Now it is on to the final regular season game this Thursday against ASU. It is so hard to believe that this will be the last regular season game. As they say, time flies when you are having a good time. This season has been a blast and I am sad to see it ending so soon. Of course, we do have the bowl game to look forward to!!!!

It will be fun hosting my two good friends from ASU, Equipment managers Mark Zimmer and Paul Lopez. I always enjoy getting to visit with them, whether we are playing them at their place or at ours. As ugly as this rivalry game can be, it is nice to know that we can get along with each other! I am smart enough to know though, once that ball is kicked off on Thursday, each of us want to win the game!!! It will be tough to beat them again, as they are one of the best teams in this EXTREMELY TOUGH conference. It is hard enough to beat a team 3 times in a row, but especially when they are as good as they are. Great talent, and a legendary Hall of Fame head coach too. Should be fun!

Enjoy some pictures from our trip to Eugene:

John Landwehr, making his first road trip (excluding bowl games), was a really nice addition to the travel squad this past weekend! This Sacramento California senior will be missed when he graduates in May.

Mike Baranowski folding an empty player bag so it will fit neatly in the players locker:

Tim Pfennig putting out extra warm long game socks for the game:

Ben Hulka making sure Jovon Hayes has everything he needs for the game against the Ducks:

Ryan Ewalt putting out jerseys for the game:

Ben Hulka putting out jerseys for the game:

Mike Baranowski getting players ready for the game against the number one Ducks:

John Landwehr paying attention to every little detail!

Ryan Ewalt, working hard with a smile on his face! He has done this from day one when he started working with us. As far as I know, he has made every trip since he started. He is a solid worker, and a more solid person and will really be missed.

Mike Baranowski is only in his second season, but has quickly become one of our future leaders. He made every trip this year but one.

Ben Hulka is one of the six seniors that will be graduating in May. This Chicago native will really be missed when he is gone! Ben has traveled to many game with the Wildcats in his four years.

It was so nice to have John Landwehr on the trip. He is only in his second season, but he is a senior and a GREAT guy so we had to get him on a trip. We will really miss him when he is gone!

Mike Reed and Ben Hulka worked hard before the team arrived:

The managers did a GREAT job of setting up the players lockers for the game. We had everything they would need for a cold night in Eugene.

Some of the suites at Autzen Stadium. Oregon (Phil Knight) has done a great job with their facilities!

Benny Conger was in charge of setting up our 3 sideline heaters for the game. Tom Boesel ordered us 3 heaters in Eugene for delivery at noon on gameday. For some reason, the Ducks do not provide sideline heaters like the other 3 Northwest schools???

Friday, November 26, 2010

GREAT Duck Hunting Weather in Eugene Today

After a little workout in the exercise room, I went to the local Safeway store to get some grub for later on today. While I was out, I took some pictures of beautiful Eugene, Oregon.

On the radio, they said it was a great day for duck hunting in the area!!!! I couldn't agree more.

When I came out of the grocery store, it was raining pretty hard. The forecast is for cold and 60% rain at game time. I say, BRING IT ON!

We are about to head over to Autzen Stadium where we will off load into our locker room at 10am and get ready for the HUNT!

The lobby of our team hotel:

I have been coming to this hotel for over twenty years, and not much has changed.

The neighborhood Safeway close to the hotel where I went to get hot dogs and buns for the guys later:

Some of the neighborhood around our hotel:

Team eating breakfast this morning. NOTE: Waiters and Waitresses wearing the colors!

Players eating a hearty breakfast early this morning:

River that runs behind the hotel and right off of the balcony of the hotel restaurant:

Hotel restaurant, Sweetwaters with a beautiful view of the river:

What A GREAT Thanksgiving Day

I could not have asked for a better day yesterday! First of all, Cindy cooked an unbelievable Thanksgiving Dinner (lunch) AGAIN. She is AWESOME.

After I blogged yesterday, and I knew it when I was writing the blog, I realized I left off so many people that have been so special to me. That is why I should never try to name people, but I just can't help myself sometimes. My friends, family and co-workers over the years have been so instrumental, and I just wanted people to know just how I feel about them.

After I wrote yesterday's blog, Cindy's mom, Cindy and I started talking about all the people that have helped us along the way. Cindy's mom mentioned Charlie Moot, who I worked with at Sam Houston State, which made me realize how awesome he was, but more than that, made me realize I should have mentioned Coach Bob Riley at SHSU. He is one of my all time favorites and he has blessed me since by coming to Tucson a couple of times to visit me. I really love that man!

Then I quickly realized that there were so many other people. I know I mentioned all the student managers, but I should have mentioned Brad Wilson from WSU, because he came down to Arizona to work with us and he was so important in helping JT Galloway and I change the culture in our equipment operation here at Arizona. There is NO WAY we could have done it without him. He is truly one of the most extraordinary people in this entire world. He is not only a great person and great friend, he is brilliant in all that he does, including being a great husband and father.

As I told the group before our blessing yesterday, friends are so important! There is no way I could have ever made it without so many wonderful friends.

Then of course, having both of our Mom's with us made me realize I could have never made it without an awesome family. Cindy and I were blessed with GREAT parents, PLUS, 3 AWESOME kids. I now realize how much of a sacrifice each of my family members made in order for me to be able to enjoy this career I love so much.

Then to top it off, we had 7 young men join us yesterday who did a remarkable job of representing every single student manager who ever helped me throughout the 30 plus years. Again, I realize how important these young people are. There is not a football program in America that could make it without student managers!, and I have had the privilege of working with so many GREAT ones. But yesterday, WOW, these guys were ambassadors. They are such good people. It really touched me when I saw each and everyone of them hug the ladies, as if they were their own Mom or Grandmother. It just topped off a GREAT day.

Then, as I sat in my seat on the plane ride up to Eugene, I realized just how symbolic the whole day was. It was like a play or a story right in front of me which made me realize just how blessed and fortunate I am. I am so thankful to so many people over the years. Like the caption on this home page says, "We are the LUCKIEST people in the world".

My beautiful wife Cindy and I with my mom, Norma:

Cindy and I with her mom, Jean. Both of our mom's live close to us here in Tucson, which is a year round blessing!

The managers seemed to enjoy Cindy's great cooking!

These young men are really special people. I always knew they were GREAT kids!

Another shot of the managers:

The managers were nice enough to take a group picture with Cindy and I. She and I really wanted a picture with them since they made our day so special.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It goes without saying, I am one of the most fortunate and blessed people in the world. I have so many things to be thankful for.

First of all, I have the BEST wife in the entire world! Not only does she support me in everything I do, she loves me despite all of my faults, and best of all, she is my best friend! She is where it all starts!

Then, I have been able to surround myself at work with the best people possible. I have the best people in the world that I get to work with each and everyday! Without them I would be lost and in big trouble. I am also thankful to the University of Arizona for allowing me the resources to hire these kind of people.

Then, the UofA also allows us to hire as many student managers as needed to run a first class equipment operation, and pay them what they deserve. We have the BEST student managers in the world!!!! They are not only hard workers and dedicated to this football team, but they are first class human beings!!!! I can not remember a better season in terms of student managers, and they deserve all the credit. We ask much of these kids, and they do such a GREAT job!

I can't forget all of the AWESOME people in my life that have allowed me to get where I am at today, starting all the way back to Dayton High School. Ironically, one of the men who mentored me and kept me focused on getting to college (really helping me get in to University of Houston, because I wasn't a good enough student to get in on my own) is my Junior High Principal and High School Counselor Mr. Bill Johnson; and he is just down the street from me today here in Tucson visiting his daughter who lives down the street from us. Then there are so many people after him that have made my life so great. People like Bill Yeoman, Ron Randleman, Jim Livengood, Bob Cook, Milton Neal, Paul Lopez, Jeff Bopp, J.T. Galloway, Tim Pfennig and Benny Conger. Also, the many parents who have allowed me to work with their kids over the years. I know there are many more, but people like this make me realize just how blessed and fortunate I really am.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, thank you to all who have blessed my life in so many ways!

Here is an individual I am VERY THANKFUL FOR!!!!!! One of the best hires I have ever made, Zac Cook, from Northern Kentucky (Cincinnati, OH area). Zac is easily one of our most important people in our operation. He hits home runs for us daily, even more than his beloved Reds.

The managers use our new jugs machine to shoot high punts to David Douglas:
David Bodzin helps out with the drills:

David Douglas throws the ball to David Bodzin after catching the high punts from the jugs machine:

Senior, Mike Reed gets the balls back to Baranowski:

Mike Harlow and Mike Baranowski shoot high punts to the returners:

In this picture are three people I am really thankful for! First of all, Coach Ed, the BEST Strength and Conditioning Coach I have ever worked with!!!! Not only GREAT at what he does, but he is one of the best people I have had the pleasure of working with. He is an incredible difference maker in our program. Then, of course, our two monster defensive ends, Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. Here, Coach Ed does more than just work in the weight room, players respect his opinion in EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time for Duck Hunt

The Wildcats are preparing for a GREAT opportunity this Friday.....beat the number one team in the country....at their place.

The biggest problem for the equipment staff is the part, AT THEIR PLACE! The weather report is not very pleasing. Rain and cold is the forecast for game time.

The truck left this morning for Eugene and we will be setting up on game day at Autzen Stadium. We will not be setting up at Autzen on the day before since it is Thanksgiving Day and the game is later in the afternoon anyway. We did not want to bother people at University of Oregon with having to open up for us on Thanksgiving.

The biggest challenge for us may be finding a good place to eat for dinner the night before the game. So far, we have not found many places open on Thanksgiving night. All of the managers going with the team for the game will be eating Thanksgiving lunch at our house before we leave for Eugene. Maybe Cindy will have to pack up some left overs for us to eat when we arrive in Eugene?????

Below are pictures from yesterday's practice:

Managers snap the ball to QB's during passing drills:
Mike Baranowski and Mike Reed snap balls to the QB's during yesterdays practice:

Ben Hulka and John Landwehr run middle drill during yesterdays practice:

Michael Barnett hustles during special teams period:

Billy Worthington helping out with Special Teams period:

Coach Kish and Coach Brown talk about how to stop the High Flying Ducks: