May 31, 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.
What was the outcome of the department's meeting with Saluki baseball alumni and the committee concerning the renovation of Abe Martin Field?
I felt the meeting was very productive. It was informative, our alumni were engaged, asked questions and were fired up for the first real chance of an improvement to Abe Martin Field in more than 50 years. In addition, it spoke volumes that our Chancellor, Dr. Rita Cheng, attended the meeting and met with all of the alumni personally. We are moving forward with a brochure that has been sent to our 400-plus baseball alumni and we are soliciting gifts for the project. We're off to a good start.
What will the University do with the big, open space left by the demolition of McAndrew Stadium?
The southern-most part of the current track and turf will be converted to parking. Construction on the parking lot is scheduled to start in September. The eastern half of the site near the current throws area will be used for a new Alumni/Foundation Building. The western half of the site will be available for future building development in accordance with the Land Use Plan. Finally, a Student Services Building will be constructed on the current parking garage location, with construction starting in spring of 2012.
In your press conference with Chris Lowery, you stated that player retention needed improvement. Since that time, four players have left the program. Can you comment?
Obviously, you never want to lose a student-athlete, but at the same time, there are expectations placed upon them from an academic, social and competitive standpoint, and some of those expectations are non-negotiable. When some of those expectations are not met, the athletic program has little choice except to sever the relationship and move forward. I stand by my press conference remarks. Recruiting players who have a desire to do well academically, socially and competitively is something we need to identify early in the recruitment process and ensure prior to singing a National Letter of Intent. If we do that, then our efforts to retain those players from year to year should become easier.
Randy Savage, aka Randy Mario Poffo -- the professional wrestler, recently passed away. According to Wiki, he attended SIU. Can you confirm that he was indeed a student at SIU and if so, did he play baseball and did he graduate?
I spoke to Gene Green from the SIU Alumni Association and he cannot find any record of Randy Poffo in the alumni database. He also contacted SIUE to no avail. Several other units on campus have checked with admissions and records about Poffo's (Savage's) degree information and can find no record of him attending the University.We also have no record of him playing baseball at SIU. Last year, in effort to confirm or deny his status as an alum, the Department of Athletics reached out to Randy. A package was delivered to his Florida residence and signed for, but there was no subsequent response.