Feb. 27, 2009
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.
When will a decision be made on whether or not the wood bleachers in the arena can be sold to the general public? I would like to purchase the bleacher where I have my season tickets.
After consulting with our general contractors, it appears the contracts were written so that the construction company will take possession of the bleachers. A good portion of the bleacher wood will be treated and cleaned and used to augment the inside and outside of the Club Room. This will allow us to memorialize the past and incorporate a neat transition from the old to the new.
I, along with many fellow Saluki Basketball fans, have wanted for a long time a game with U of I. I have heard rumors that it is not just Bruce Weber that sidesteps a game or series, but also our own coaching staff. Is this true? If so, why? And, why can't we play Purdue in the future? I think it is suffice to say Matt Painter owes us a game.
I can tell you that this isn't true. We would love to play Purdue or Illinois. We would have to do a home-and-home series, though. We don't want to play a two- for-one or a straight buy-game. That has always been our philosophy, and I don't want to deviate from that formula. We will continue to attempt to get into tournaments where we can play BCS teams. In the minds of BCS programs, there is more to lose than gain from playing us. Of course, I'd disagree with that reasoning. Recall during our recent Sweet 16 season two years ago that ESPN listed Arkansas' and Indiana's quality wins were against SIU! Matt and Bruce are both great guys, but they need to do what they think is best for their programs. I text them all the time and will continue to do so.
I just read your January Q&A and would like to comment on removing the clock
tower graphic from the basketball floor. I believe it is likely an image
from the Old Main building that was burned down by an arsonist in 1969. I
would like to object to removing it from the floor. Old Main represents much
about the history of SIU. It should be kept, certainly in lieu of some
corporate logo that we see on many other venues around the country. Would appreciate your response.
At the present time, we don't plan on selling a corporate logo on the floor, even though many schools have done so with big money attached. We are a long ways from the final version of what will be on the floor, and decisions won't rest solely with Athletics. I am a fan of a clean-looking floor, and I find the current floor much too busy. I am in favor of the bullet word Salukis over the dog head (I think the nation knows us best by that name), and the MVC logo must be included as well. I am not the last word on this, and it will be an interesting process to see who is going to be involved in the final version.
Is there a reason why we dim the lights in the arena during game play? I think it makes the Arena look like a poorly lit facility, and now that I have graduated and watch the games on tv, it looks even darker than it does in person.
I spoke with Jason King, our Associate AD for Facilities and Game Operations, and he told me that the lights that we dim in the arena are only over the crowd on the upper level. We do this to enhance the main focus, which is the court. Ironically, when ESPN2 was here a few weeks ago, their people mentioned that by turning off those lights, it enhanced the main court and gave a more professional look for the television audience.
I see where a number of universities anticipate
losing money this fiscal year. How do we stand? Which sports are the biggest
money-makers and which ones are the biggest expenses/losses?
We are doing ok. We have prepared for up to a six percent reduction in our overall budget and have made a commitment not to have any of these reductions affect our student-athletes academically or competitively. We are a pretty lean operation, unlike some of the jumbo Universities. We don't have a lot of frills, and our coaches are used to it and don't feel that we are any less competitive for it. Men's basketball generates the most revenue by far, followed by football and then women's basketball. From a business perspective, only men's basketball would be "turning a profit" but that sure isn't different than most of the schools at our level and many Division I football schools as well.
Has there ever been any discussion about re-naming the SIU
Arena after Dr. Donald Boydston?
We certainly need to do something for Dr. Boydston! As I indicated before, I believe that he was the most impactful Director of Athletics in the history of the program. As a matter of fact, I just spoke with Jo Ann, his wife, today and am going to visit with her this summer in Florida. Many people need to come together to make this decision, but it is certainly on my radar screen. As you probably know, Jo Ann made a most generous gift, endowing four scholarships for minority student-athletes. It is a credit for her for keeping the University in her heart for such a long time.
Do you have guidelines for retiring a student-athletes' number?
In speaking with Fred Huff our Sports Information Director emeritus, he tells me that jerseys have been retired at the discretion of the Director of Athletics. That's probably not the ideal method, and now that this has come to light (thanks for the question), we will survey other Universities and come up with some guidelines for the future. At the present time, we have two in men's basketball #52 Walt Frazier and #20 Charlie Vaughn, one in women's basketball, # 44 Sue Faber, two in volleyball #5 Debbie Barr and #7 Sonya Locke and three in football #78 Jim Lovin who played from 1946-49, #30 Jerry Hemphill and #23 Harry Bobbitt.
Who oversees the activities of the Dawg Pound at basketball games? Is it possible to come up with something more appropriate as visiting team players are introduced?
This is the first year we have had a Board of Directors as a student leadership group, which is overseen by our Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions. I have always thought that students were much more receptive to self-policing than if the athletic department tries to do it. Obviously, we work with the Board and monitor the students at the games, remove signs when appropriate and even remove individuals if they cross the line (of which we have rarely done). Dawg Pound members must sign a sportsmanship code of conduct prior to the season, and while I know their behavior isn't perfect, they have taken some great strides to incorporate behavior that reflects good sportsmanship, while making it a tough environment for the visiting team.