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Lynn Hickey newsletter

The AD's Corner — Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014

Members of the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four Site Selection Committee have been in San Antonio the last two days. The Spirit of San Antonio UTSA band and hundreds of basketball enthusiasts greeted the committee at a "BRING IT" River Rally in the Rivercenter Mall Lagoon on Wednesday morning.

First (Final) Thoughts
Each week’s newsletter usually ends with my final thoughts. This week, it’s so important to say thank you to so many different people, that first thoughts seem more appropriate.

More than 33,000 roaring Roadrunners dressed in orange showed a FOX Sports 1 national-television audience that UTSA has arrived on the major college football scene. Anyone not convinced by UTSA’s dominating 27-7 victory at Houston on Aug. 29 certainly became believers last Thursday night during the narrow 26-23 loss to Arizona.

President Dr. Ricardo Romo and his leadership team that made possible the creation of football receive the first kudos. Without the wholehearted support of the UTSA administration, football never would have happened on this campus. Thank you, Dr. Romo and all those around you who make football possible for our campus and community.

Kudos also go to more than a dozen local chambers of commerce that participated in the Chamber Night Challenge. Chamber staffs and volunteers throughout the San Antonio metropolitan area sold tickets to the Arizona game. The Greater San Antonio Chamber won the friendly ticket sales competition and its representatives joined Dr. Romo and the UTSA captains at midfield for the opening coin toss.

Nearly 5,000 students packed the Plaza Level and spilled over into the Club Level in the south end zone. Their eardrum-pounding helped produce a UTSA safety when the Arizona center and quarterback could not connect on a snap, giving the Roadrunners a 16-13 lead with 4:43 left until halftime. Thank you, students for the ruckus you created and the direct impact that you had throughout the game.

Thank you to the nearly 14,000 season ticket holders who altered their normal football season routine and attended a Thursday night game. The weeknight crowd of 33,472 was larger than all but one Conference USA home crowd last weekend and all other league home games were played on Saturday. I guess my concerns about a Thursday night game on national television were unfounded.

For the first time in four seasons, every suite in the Alamodome was full for a football game. Former major league baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. and his family wanted to purchase a suite early last week to watch their son play for Arizona. Not even a mint condition Ken Griffey Jr. rookie baseball card could pry a suite from Roadrunners loyalists.

The final kudos are for the media.

Thursday's San Antonio Express-News provided coverage in three separate sections (four if you include a UTSA mention in a front-page Oakland Raiders article). All of the local television stations provided detailed fan information on their sportscasts and allowed me to make appearances on their morning talks shows.

Now it’s on to Oklahoma State. It’s a trip home for head coach Larry Coker, defensive coordinator Neal Neathery, defensive linemen coach Eric Roark, Roadrunners Sports Network play-by-play broadcaster Andy Everett and others on our athletics staff, including me.

After two outstanding performances on national television, it’s a great time to be going home as a Roadrunner. Of course, every day is a great day to be a Roadrunner.

UTSA Basketball Schedules Completed
In less than two months, the men’s and women’s basketball teams will open their 2014-15 seasons with exhibition games at the Convocation Center.

The Roadrunners men will play 15 regular season home games preceded by an exhibition against Southeastern Oklahoma State on Nov. 6. UTSA will open the regular season on Nov. 14 at home against Huston-Tillotson. Click here for this year's complete men’s slate.

Meanwhile, the women will open the season with exhibition games against McMurry (Nov. 1) and Howard Payne (Nov. 8) before hosting 17 regular season home games beginning with Abilene Christian on Nov. 19. The Roadrunners also will host the annual UTSA Thanksgiving Classic (Nov. 28 & 30) and UTSA Holiday Classic (Dec. 28-29). Click here for the complete women’s ledger.

Please call the UTSA Ticket Office at (210) 458-UTSA (8872) to purchase your basketball season tickets today.

Alumni Association Packing For The Sunshine State
The UTSA Alumni Association is booking trips to Boca Raton, Fla., for the Conference USA opener at Florida Atlantic. The Roadrunners and Owls will square off for the first time at 4 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Sept. 27

In cooperation with Corporate Travel Planners, the Alumni Association is offering airline, local transportation and hotel accommodations to UTSA fans. The Alumni Association party will be staying in the Marriott Boca Raton in the Boca Center. Special rates at the Marriott have been negotiated.

Please call (210) 530-0857 or click here for more information on the trip.

Arizona Game Videos Go Viral
Two videos from last Thursday's home opener against Arizona have gone viral on social media.

SB Nation called a crushing block by senior wide receiver Josiah Monroe “the biggest block of the football season yet.” ESPN included the same footage from the FOX Sports 1 broadcast as one of its Top 10 Plays of the Day (it was fifth). Click here to watch Monroe’s devastating shoulder-to- chest block.

The FOX cameras also caught senior punter Kristian Stern doing a dance called the “Bernie” following a second quarter kick that was downed on the 3-yard line. Stern’s punt led to a safety two plays later. Click here to watch Stern, um, "dance."

San Antonio Tunes Into Home Opener
Thursday night’s home opener against Arizona on FOX Sports 1 received a 4.0 rating and 7-percent share in the Nielsen overnight television ratings. Those totals beat the prime time 7-10 p.m. programming block except for NBC's broadcast of the National Football League season opener between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

“What is more amazing is that the game aired on a cable network (FS1) that many people do not have in their basic cable package,” Bob Wills of Quarter Moon Productions (QMP) said.

QMP has contracted with Learfield/Roadrunners Sports Properties to broadcast the Sept. 27 Conference USA opener at Florida Atlantic, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. (CT) on Satruday, Sept. 27. All 12 UTSA Football games now will appear on television for the second consecutive season.

The game will be shown on KMYS-CW 35 in San Antonio, The CW South Texas in Corpus Christi and on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel throughout the state. Jay Howard (play-by-play), Don Harris (analyst) and Jim Goodman (sidelines) will call all the action for the first-ever meeting between the Roadrunners and the Owls.

Arizona Pregame Attention on UTSA Development Associate
Last year, UTSA defensive backs coach and Tucson native Jeff Popovich was the hometown Roadrunner that was the media spotlight prior to the game at Arizona.

This year, it was UTSA Development Assistant Victor Yates that was featured in an article by Jon Gold of the Arizona Daily Star. The former Wildcats football walk-on joined the UTSA Athletics Development staff in January.

Yates was a quarterback at Tucson Palo Verde High School before playing defensive back from 2005-10 for UA.

Click here to read the article that was written about him.

UTSA Alumni Association Hosting "Watch Zones"
For those fans who will be unable to travel to Stillwater for Saturday’s Oklahoma State game, the UTSA Alumni Association is hosting five “Watch Zones” at local restaurants to view the FOX Sports Southwest broadcast.

Alumni representatives will be present throughout the game at Barriba Cantina (111 West Crockett Street), Buffalo Wings & Rings (203 North Loop 1604 West), The County Line BBQ (10101 IH-10 West), Freetail Brewing Company (4035 North Loop 1604 West) and The Block (14530 Roadrunner Way).

Go Runners!


Lynn Hickey
Director of Athletics


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