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Bear Down Buzz - October 2016

 

 October 2016

NEW ACADEMIC CENTER WILL KEEP STUDENT-ATHLETES ON THE RIGHT TRACK

An important new facility for University of Arizona student-athletes is nearing completion, but it’s not a practice field or competition space. The new C.A.T.S. (Commitment to an Athlete’s Total Success) Academic Center, located just south of McKale Memorial Center next to Kindall/Sancet Field, will house the C.A.T.S. Program, providing a centralized location dedicated to supporting student-athletes by helping them achieve academic success and the ultimate goal of earning a degree.

Artist's Rendering of the C.A.T.S. Academic CenterThe award-winning C.A.T.S. Program provides comprehensive student-athlete support services. It’s designed around four areas to assist student-athletes, Academics, Life Skills, Medical Services and Strength & Conditioning. Three of these areas will now be housed in the new facility.  

The Academics program features academic counselors and learning specialists providing customized services based on individual needs. Professionals monitor student-athletes’ NCAA eligibility, provide guidance on selecting a major, help with academic support and keep students on track for graduation.

The Life Skills program develops students’ skills to lead a healthy, positive and productive life following graduation by focusing on personal and career development, leadership and community service.

The Sports Medicine program provides services for personal and sport-related concerns from a licensed clinical and sports psychologist.

Currently, the C.A.T.S. Program operates in various spaces throughout McKale Center. While it has been successful in providing excellent support to student-athletes over the past ten years, as it increased in staff size and services provided, it outgrew the space.

The new C.A.T.S. Academic Center will provide optimal conditions for student success with group and individual study rooms, computer and tutorial labs, classrooms, a conference room, lounge and offices for academic counselors, learning specialists, sports psychologist and a Faculty Fellow.

With a price tag of $7.5 million, the project is funded 100 percent by generous donations from Wildcat Club members.

CATS Academic Center“We would not be able to provide this state-of-the-art facility to our student-athletes without the support of Wildcat Club members,” said John Mosbach, Associate Athletics Director, C.A.T.S. Cohn Academic Service Center. “This project will make a significant impact on the lives of our student-athletes and help us achieve our aggressive goals to continue improving grade point averages, academic progress and graduation rates. That’s our department’s number one goal: to graduate student athletes.”

The C.A.T.S. Academic Center is scheduled to open at the end of October. Naming opportunities within the building are still available. If you’re interested in supporting the educational development of your Wildcat student-athletes, please contact the Wildcat Club at 520.621.2582.

 

MEN’S BASKETBALL TICKET BOOKLETS ARE ON THEIR WAY

Keep an eye on your mailbox for your men’s basketball season ticket booklet, which will begin hitting mailboxes next week. Your booklet will include your season tickets and parking permit(s) (if applicable) along with helpful information about fan amenities and frequently asked questions. Please review your booklet and contact the ticket office or Wildcat Club immediately with any concerns.

Please remember,

  • • If you qualify for a parking permit, you will receive a unique permit for each game that is good ONLY for that game. Please make sure you have the correct parking permit when you come to the game.
  • • If you requested disabled parking, your permit will be for Cherry Avenue Garage. To park in the disabled-designated areas, you must display BOTH your CAG permit and your ADA placard or license plate.
  • • Due to construction of a new parking garage south of 6th Street, we have fewer spaces available in those lots, which means many people have different parking than they had last year. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

As always, thank you for your support of Arizona Athletics. We’re excited to see you cheering on the Wildcats this basketball season!

 

Steve WalkerCOACHES CORNER: STEVE WALKER, HEAD BEACH VOLLEYBALL COACH

Steve is the first ever head coach of the UA’s Women’s Beach Volleyball program, which is entering its third year. The Wildcats went 18-3 last season and finished the year ranked nationally in the Top 10.

What was the experience like at the first ever NCAA Championships?

I think I speak for everyone that is either close or even remotely close-tied to the program that the experience at the first NCAA Championships is one that we will remember for a very long time. The season prior, our coaches association put on a championship in the same location and did a tremendous job in doing so. We had a couple of our pairs team qualify for that championship, including the Witt twins, and we had a very good showing, but what we experienced this past spring with the NCAA hosting and putting on the event was simply remarkable. The event played out perfectly, in such that it felt like a championship event, but still had that element of a fan-friendly beach volleyball tournament. And to top it off, to win the first-ever televised NCAA Beach Volleyball Tournament match in come-from-behind fashion just made the whole event special. 

How has beach volleyball grown since the program started at Arizona?

It’s incredible when I think back on our first season, which was only three years ago, how much we have grown since that time. I really enjoyed that first team and appreciate all the players who came over from the indoor program to try their hand at beach volleyball. That initial season we only had four players who were dedicated “beach only” athletes who were training with the beach staff, and the majority of the roster was filled out with players who were members of the indoor program. We did not have a winning season that year, but the experience we gained as a program as a whole was so valuable. Fast forward one year later and we had over 10 dedicated, full-time beach players (plus a few members of the indoor team who were now in year two in terms of beach experience) and we put together a really successful season earning a Top 10 national ranking, while placing two members of the program on the All-America team. And I am pretty sure all Wildcat fans know what a memorable season 2016 was, with us earning our highest national ranking, a birth to the NCAA Championships and landing the Witt twins on the All-America team. It goes without saying I am very proud of how far we’ve come in a short amount of time.

What can Arizona fans look forward to this season from beach volleyball?

Hopefully, we can build off last year and keep in contention for a conference and national championship. We have a nice blend of experience and young talent. Our young players have a long way to go in terms of skill development but we promise to compete extremely hard every time out and plan to be as entertaining as ever with six returning starters on the roster and the Witt twins in their final go-round as seniors.   

What do you like most about being part of the Arizona Athletics family?

It’s just that, the family atmosphere. I’ve worked in the University of Arizona athletics department for 12 years, not consecutively. I’ve been at other institutions but have retuned two separate times to Arizona Athletics. I’ve just always felt like the support for our student-athletes is second to none and I am very thankful I get to be part of such an exciting, forward thinking athletics department. 

What does the support of our Wildcat Club members mean to your program?

It means everything. Without the Wildcat Club, and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say this, there may not be a beach volleyball program. It is rather amazing to think that the terrific leadership of our athletics department added beach volleyball, its twentieth sport, in January of 2013 with no playing facility, no locker room, no uniforms, etc. in place. Now we have those things and they cost money. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I and our entire beach volleyball program are for the Wildcat Club donors.   

 

Bear Down BiteINTRODUCING THE BEAR DOWN BITE!

A new opportunity for Wildcat Club members is being introduced this fall – the Bear Down Bite. Wildcat Club members and a guest will be invited to these exclusive events, which will feature lunch and a panel discussion with Arizona Athletics coaches, student-athletes or staff.

The first Bear Down Bite will be scheduled later this year, so be on the lookout for this exclusive opportunity.

 

STUDENT-ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: DANIELLE O’TOOLE, SOFTBALL

Danielle O'TooleDanielle is a redshirt senior pitcher for the Wildcats. The 2016 season was her first at UA after transferring from San Diego State.

 

A few weeks into fall, how are you feeling about the team and how are things progressing?

Well, we just started full team practice. I enjoy the freshmen vibe and we feed off of their new energy. They feed off of us upper classmen as well and I like it. I feel like it’s going to be a great year.

The freshman class was rated as the No. 3 recruiting class; what are your thoughts on the newcomers so far?

They’re incredible. They hit the ground running and I am proud of them already.

If you look at the 2016 team compared to this upcoming year, where do you think the biggest improvement will come?

With the freshmen coming in and Alyssa Palomino coming back from a torn ACL, and the returners getting another year of experience, we are going to be a powerful force.

After coming so close to the Women’s College World Series last year, how hungry are you to get there this year?

I had tears in my eyes the first meeting of the year talking about how we were so close. And I know I’m not the only one. “So close” doesn’t count. I am ready and I know everyone’s goal is to make every repetition of every drill as perfect as possible.

On that note, I asked assistant coach Caitlin Lowe the difference between the national championship teams in 2006 & ’07 that she was part of during her time as a player at UA, and our team today. She said something that changed our team mentality immediately. She said, “If you had to pick one repetition of a drill in practice to take you to the World Series – say I picked rep number 67 – would the effort you put into that one rep take you there?” The answer, now, is yes because we’re putting everything into every drill.

Stepping off the field, how was your summer? Did you do anything fun?

My summer was more eventful than usual. I went to Tahoe with my family and took a break from life. I went to the beach every day and played the summer fad game, Pokemon GO!

Now that you’re closing in on your degree, what’s next for Danielle O’Toole?

I want to be a coach; I want to go into coaching and be a pitching coach. I want to have some degree of my own facility and raise the best pitchers and best people. The Plan B to that is to get my teaching credentials and mold the minds of young children.

You’re now in your third year at Arizona, how do you feel that the Tucson community and Wildcat fans everywhere have embraced you?

I feel like three years in a Wildcat uniform isn’t enough. I think that Tucson is all about Arizona Athletics and if you are any part of that, they want to be a part of you. I couldn’t have asked for better. I have met some of the best people and they will stay with me forever.

What can you say about Wildcat Club members who are so generous to make the lives of our student athletes better? 

Everything that donors and Wildcat Club donors give to us directly affects our lives. For example, the Lapan center is one of the greatest improvements to the softball program and we are extremely grateful for it. I think that it has given us a true place to become one and share our experiences with each other that we can’t get anywhere else. It is appreciated tremendously. 

 

Uvida shirtSPECIAL 25% OFF UVIDA MERCHANDISE TOMORROW ONLY ON WILDCAT CLUB ONLINE STORE

Have you logged-in to the Wildcat Club online store lately? It’s another benefit of your membership where you can purchase gear available only to you and never pay shipping costs. There are lots of new items available this season, with more to come throughout the year. Plus, we have a special promotion discount coming up tomorrow, Friday, October 14. For one day only, you can get 25% off your Wildcat Club Uvida gear with the promo code UVIDA25. Browse the merchandise at www.wildcat-store.com. If you’ve haven’t logged into the store yet this season, use your Wildcat Club account number as BOTH your username and password.

 

 

 

OCTOBER WILDCAT CLUB EVENT CALENDAR

Date Event Location Time
Sat., Oct. 15 The Tailgate Eddie Lynch Pavilion 10:00 AM
Sat., Oct. 29 The Tailgate Eddie Lynch Pavilion TBA

 

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1 National Championship Drive
P.O. Box 210096, #246
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Phone: 520-621-9272
Fax: 520-621-2656
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