Over 90 student-athletes participated in the University of Arizona’s inaugural “Declare your Major” Day held on Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Eddie Lynch Pavilion just north of the Jim Click Hall of Champions. Modeled after “National Signing Days,” where high school seniors sign a letter of intent to attend a university and participate in a sport there, UA student-athletes had the opportunity to publicly declare their degree choice and career aspirations.
“Declare your Major Day puts emphasis on student-athletes’ scholastic goals and objectives,” said Syndric Steptoe, Associate Director of C.A.T.S. Life Skills and the organizer of the event. “It’s important to recognize educational achievement and help our student-athletes become well-rounded individuals while planning for their future.”
Student-athletes signed certificates from the college of their chosen major. In total 39 majors from 10 colleges were selected.
The Pac-12 Conference released its predicted order of finish, and the Arizona Wildcats finished second in the league's preseason media poll. UA garnered 298 points and four first-place votes, finishing behind only Oregon. UA claimed four of the 27 possible first-place votes, while Oregon secured the other 23.
Head coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats will unofficially open the season with a pair of home exhibitions versus College of Idaho (Nov. 1) and Chico State (Nov. 6) inside the friendly confines of the McKale Center. UA will play their regular season opener against Michigan State in the 2016 Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu on Friday, Nov. 11.
COMPLETE PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
Place Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1st Oregon (23) 320
2nd Arizona (4) 298
3rd UCLA 259
4th California 209
5th Colorado 199
6th Washington 167
7th USC 163
8th Utah 142
9th Oregon State 122
10th Stanford 119
11th Arizona State 78
12th Washington State 30
Longtime University of Arizona fans will recognize Adia, who is entering her first season as head coach of Arizona women’s basketball. A former player and UA graduate, she is the all-time leading scorer in Arizona women’s basketball history and a WNBA champion. She most recently spent five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington.
What can fans look forward to this year?
They can look forward to exciting basketball. We’re going to play fast but we’re also going to play smart. It’s going to be a great environment and will be a lot of fun.
What do you like most about being a part of the Wildcat family?
I have been a Wildcat since 1994. I love that the community is so embracing and so supportive not only of women’s basketball, but of all Arizona sports. It’s great to be the best show in town and the support is tremendous. It is a close-knit community but it’s also not too small, so you feel like it’s home and it feels genuine and real. I think we have the best and most loyal fans in the country. I love my Wildcat family.
What is the biggest adjustment going from assistant coach at Washington to head coach at Arizona?
Everything is different and there is always a lot to do and a lot to change. I think the biggest adjustment you have to make when taking over a program is instilling your own culture. You’re teaching a new system, the new roles, you’re emphasizing new things and implementing your values, morals and traditions. That’s a process and I think that one of the main differences from being an assistant coach to a head coach is that there is so much more to think about. It’s your program and it’s how you want it to be run. There is a different sense of ownership and there is a lot more outside of basketball. I think it’s great and a lot of fun to get to do it here. I feel like it’s home.
How different is Arizona now than when you played in the late 1990s?
I can tell you that the facilities are a lot better now. Arizona has grown, but there are still some things that are the same because I do see some familiar faces. It doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years, I can tell you that. It all seems upgraded, though, because everything is nicer and we have more resources. We didn’t have half of these resources when I was in college athletics. Our locker room is the best in the Pac-12 and when I was here we shared showers with other teams. That tells you how far we have come.
What does the support of the Wildcat Club mean to you?
It means a tremendous amount to me. We used to have this program out of it called the Top Cats and that was something that really helped me grow as a person and helped me come out of my shell when I was in college. There are fans that I have good relationships with right now and it means a lot to have a group that supports us and loves us. I want to help grow the Wildcat Club because they mean so much to us.
Arizona is hosting the Territorial Cup football game this year and it’s going to be a Red Out. To make sure Wildcat Club members are prepared, we’re offering $5 off the purchase of select red t-shirts at www.wildcat-store.com for the first 40 orders (imited to one $5 discount per account number). Purchase at least one of the following items: Wildcat Club Pocket T-shirt, Wildcat Club “Hand” Shirt, Wildcat Club Ladies Spirit Jersey or Bear Down “Bling” V-neck Shirt and enter REDOUT as the coupon code to receive $5 off your total order. Show your Wildcat pride and order by Tuesday, November 15 for delivery in time for the game on Friday, November 25.
If you’ve haven’t logged into the store yet this season, use your Wildcat Club account number as BOTH your username and password.
Senior Tyler Fowler helped lead the Wildcats to their first Pac-12 conference victory of the season last month when they competed at Utah. Fowler finished first in the 1,000-yard freestyle a full six seconds ahead of the runner up. He’s a biomedical engineering major.
How did you first get involved with swimming?
I actually grew up in a huge golfing family. My swim career started on a summer swim team for the country club that I played at. I got second in every single event for two years, which really didn’t sit well with me. I was about to be moved to a swim group on that team where I heard the coach was mean, so I joined another team which was year round, and I loved going to practice and seeing my friends and coaches. Then my competitiveness took it from there and golf became less of a priority (sorry, Dad).
What is your favorite part of being on the Arizona swimming and diving team?
I think my favorite part of swimming for Arizona is the people. The coaches are fun and creative. Not to mention, they all love swimming and it’s infectious. Outside the pool, there are tons of people who love Arizona and are very serious about helping and creating not just great athletes, but great people. Even my teachers are super supportive and ask me how I am swimming. Nobody ever gives up on anyone.
What do you wish to accomplish during your senior year?
I want to score points at the NCAA Championships. I want to honor the tradition that was created before me. All of the idols who are on the record board, on the wall in the locker room, and the names that are carried with the utmost respect all keep tabs on us. I want to make them proud.
What is one thing you’d want to pass on to the younger swimmers before you graduate?
I was highly appreciative of the people, especially the seniors, who took me in with open arms. They looked out for me and helped set me on the right path. I want to carry on that tradition so that after I leave, the older members make it a priority to make sure the freshman are doing well in school, working hard in the pool, and perhaps equally as importantly, having fun.
What is your favorite memory from being involved with Arizona Athletics?
When I first got here, I was the only true distance swimmer. Because of this, I was the only person in the mile at the Pac-12 Championships my freshman year. When I was behind the blocks for the final heat of the mile, the whole team started a cheer in unison, “Fowler, Fowler...”. It was my first experience as a part of an actual team, and the way they were all pulling for me and giving their spirit and emotion for me is something I will remember forever.
What does the support of Wildcat Club members mean to the swimming and diving program?
The way the Wildcat Club takes care of its alumni is part of what keeps those amazing people involved with the team now, and helps bring the tradition and the current Wildcats together. I find this is something that Arizona does better than almost anybody else. The support of the Wildcat Club to me means that I know my heroes. They aren’t fables, but real people who are always here for me. Plus, especially as a non-revenue sport, they are a major reason why Arizona’s Olympic sports are so competitive.
Are you looking for a special gift this holiday season for a die-hard Wildcat fan? If so, then look no further. Purchase a Legacy Lane tile located on the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion leading up to McKale Center and add a personalized message, cementing you or your loved one’s place in Arizona Athletics history.
The next deadline to submit your order to ensure it’s engraved by the holidays and winter commencement is Thursday, Nov. 10. Legacy Lane purchases are tax deductible and make you a Wildcat Club member. You can learn more by clicking HERE.
|Sat., Nov. 12||The Tailgate||Eddie Lynch Pavilion||5:30 PM|
|Fri., Nov. 25||The Tailgate||Eddie Lynch Pavilion||5:00 PM