Feb. 1, 2011
This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
Will an aerial photo of Saluki Stadium be added to the Photo Store?
That's an excellent suggestion. Later this week, we will add a photo of the sold-out stadium during the inaugural game vs. Quincy. It's not an aerial photo, but instead a panoramic night view of the stadium. Some of our staff have already had prints made and are quite pleased with it. An aerial photo was taken during the year, but it is not owned by the Department of Athletics and the stadium is not full, but if anyone has an interest in purchasing it they can email Assistant AD for Media Services Tom Weber at email@example.com, and he can forward along the information on how to possibly purchase it.
What has happened to all of the trophies that used to be displayed at the old entry to SIU Arena? Will they be displayed somewhere else?
We have approximately 100 trophies that have been earned over the years. Some are in coaches' office areas (track and field and swimming and diving). We also have trophies in cases in Lingle Hall, both in the administrative wing as well as the hallway. The men's and women's basketball trophies are in cases built specifically for display in the lobby of their office suites in the Boydston Center. The remainder of the very old trophies are in storage in the equipment room in Lingle Hall. Our coaches felt that these trophies located in their areas are a tremendous help in recruiting. If anyone has interest in viewing these trophies there are many opportunities to see them during the day, whether it is Lingle Hall or the Boydston Center.
How did your experience at the University of Missouri prepare you for the Athletics Director position at Southern Illinois?
In my almost eight years at Mizzou, four of them as the Associate AD for External Operations and four as the Senior Associate AD, I was fortunate enough to learn from one of the best AD's in the business, Mike Alden. The statewide reach of the flagship school in Missouri helped prepare me for the intense fan interest that we have here at SIU. Mizzou may have a statewide reach vs. SIU's region-wide reach, but both have a very passionate fan base. I think taking the even-keeled approach was something that I learned that really helped me. I watched the departure of football coach Larry Smith and the transition to current head coach Gary Pinkel, and I remember the first few years many Mizzou fans were upset that we had a Mid-American Conference staff in the Big 12. That same coach has won 40 games in the last four years. In addition, the hire of then head basketball coach, Quin Snyder was received with rock star status and he achieved four-consecutive NCAA appearances, but that was forgotten when times got tough. When Mike Anderson was hired to replace Snyder, it was not received too enthusiastically, but Coach Anderson won 30 games a few years ago and his team has been in the NCAA tournament for three consecutive years. Learning to take the good with the bad and not to over-react when most others are is one of the biggest things that prepared me for my current position. I also was able to personally oversee all revenue generation, fundraising and sport responsibility. Mike Alden was very good at including his top staff in every major decision. I might not have been in the "Chair" but I was in the room.
What are the University's financial obligations to Chris Lowery and would you consider a buyout of his contract if the team performance does not improve?
Beginning with the 2007-08 season, Coach Lowery signed a seven-year, $750,000 per year contract with SIU. Coach Lowery is our coach. Though I am disappointed that at this point our record isn't better, I am confident Coach Lowery is working hard and will rebuild our program to the same levels as when he took the Salukis to the NCAA Tournament in three-consecutive years.
All the pictures around the arena are amazing! Would that be something you could make available to the public in a book or cd format?
Thanks for the compliment. After visiting Koch Arena in Wichita State, we noticed that they had about 15 photos of their all-time greats repeated around the concourse, and we discussed expanding on that concept and how unique it would be to turn the concourse in the arena into a museum. To date, it has been one of the best-received things we did during the renovation process. I will mention the possibility of a book to our Assistant AD for Media Relations, Tom Weber, as well as others, to see what logistics it would take to get this project off the ground.
Will we see a new design to the football helmets in 2011?
At the present time we will keep the helmet white with a maroon facemask. Our Director of Equipment Operations Mike Valentine is in the preliminary stages of working with our Assistant AD for Marketing Mark Gazdik to clean up the logo on the sides and just have `SALUKIS' in maroon and outlined in black. They are also looking at a solid stripe down the middle and possibly a black and maroon combo that goes from the front of the helmet to the back of the helmet, instead of the taper stripe we have now. Nothing has been finalized yet, and I am sure there will be more combinations to review. Ultimately, the goal is a clean look that is easier to recognize on the field, on television and in the media. Coach Lennon will be in the loop throughout the redesign process.
What is the status of the bronze statue of a Saluki that was to be installed?
We were told to expect a February arrival of the statue, however the latest word is to expect it in early March. I know that they had to do some modifications to the statue which probably is the reason for the delayed arrival and installation.