How many of you remember Marcus Williams (1994-97) who booted 77 punts in his senior year when the Sun Devils went 9-3 and won the Sun Bowl? Marcus earned his B.S. in justice studies in 1997 and took over as Athletics Director on July 1 for the entire Chandler Unified School District. Fifteen years after pinning kicks in the corner, Marcus is a season ticket holder and contributes to the Ring of Honor through our Letter Winner program. I look forward to welcoming Marcus to the NAU game next Thursday night at 7:30. ASU’s own Young Alumni Magazine did a feature on him in 2011 that is worth a read.
Also, when talking about our former players and their degrees, Jean Boyd’s Office of Student-Athlete Development staff does an excellent job in making sure your athletes are making the most of their time in the classroom. If you are football player who took the field in the past two decades, hopefully your name is on this list of Sun Devil football graduates since 1990. If not, and you want it to be, contact us, we want to help.
Speaking of Sun Devil alumni, we promoted Sun Devil, Rocky Harris, to oversee external affairs which includes all communications, marketing, fundraising and revenue generation. He is not alone with a maroon and gold degree working here. We have 13 who Sun Devil Athletics employees have double degrees from ASU (like legendary golf coach Linda Vollstedt). Another 25 employees earned undergraduate degrees from ASU while another seven earned graduate degrees from ASU. Check out the list.
A Good Friend of the Program and a Great Place to Eat
I want to give thanks to Don Carson, who owns Don and Charlie’s in Scottsdale. Don helps our program in numerous ways. It could be a Sun Devil club function, a team meal or a staff member being rewarded with a gift card as Don and his staff always are great Sun Devils. His restaurant is sports memorabilia heaven. If you can, stop by and flash Don the pitchfork and let him know you appreciate all he does for Sun Devil Athletics. Tell him Pitchfork Posts sent you!
Changes to Pre-Game Festivities
What will you be doing three hours prior to kickoff each home game? Let me answer for you: I will be in Wells Fargo Arena (WFA). Coach Graham wants this to become a tradition at ASU. Every WFA concert will start 2.5 hours before kickoff and will feature music from our pregame show. Here is a hint of the play list from Director of Athletic Bands, James Hudson, for August 30…we want our offense to have a “Life in the Fast Lane” and eventually end up at “Hotel California” in January. Director Hudson is in his seventh year at ASU and his band of 350+ plus started three-a-days (no NCAA rules in place for the band) on August 15. They workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two hours plus Saturday mornings. Yes, they practice on game day. Band members are from each campus, not just here in Tempe. The Devil Walk will bring the football team through the arena shortly after the band starts playing and we will make it loud and show them Sun Devil pride as they make their way to the locker room. Bring your kids and have them scream and flash the Pitchfork. Your presence is appreciated. Your energy is wanted. This is a High-Octane Event!
August 16, A Good Day in Sun Devil History
Back in 1980 and in 1984, two great Sun Devil coaches were hired and they are still doing good things today. Gymnastics coach John Spini was hired on August 16, 1980, while Sheila McInerney was hired four years later. This year marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX, and three of our 11 current women’s sports teams have produced 12 NCAA team titles, and strong coaches like Sheila and John produce top-scholar athletes and All-Americans each year. But here is best part…young kids looking for role models can watch Sun Devil Athletics all season for just $25. Click here for information on the Junior Sun Devil Club. Junior SDC members get free admission for two to the Illinois and WSU football games, six men’s basketball games, a selection of baseball and softball games to be determined as well as all women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and wrestling events. Title IX has been great for women’s sports. Those sports are readily available here!
Mark your Calendars Baseball Fans
Just mark the date and trust me, as we will be honoring our 100 Major League Baseball players. Wait, as I type, we have added one more…congratulations to Jake Elmore. February 9, 2013 will be an amazing day to celebrate our baseball history. Please save the date and look for more information to come soon.
Teaching Student-Athletes The Sun Devil Way
Freshman student-athletes have arrived and were greeted by this video and Anthony Robles shared his secrets for being a successful Sun Devil.
Our first football game is only seven days away! See you at Wells Fargo Arena on August 30 when the Sun Devil Marching Band welcomes in the Coach Todd Graham era! Also, follow me on Twitter at @SWPatterson… I am starting to get the hang of things.