UNCG to move men's basketball to Greensboro Coliseum in 2009-10
GREENSBORO, NC – University of North Carolina at Greensboro Chancellor Linda P. Brady today announced steps to increase the visibility of UNCG athletics and increase the number of UNCG men's basketball games played at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Plans were announced to enhance UNCG's relationship with the Greensboro Coliseum and to move its men's basketball program there beginning with the 2009-2010 season. UNCG is engaging two contractors – former Atlantic Coast Conference administrator Fred Barakat to assist in scheduling and ISP Collegiate Services Vice President Jerry Reckerd to assist in aggressive marketing of Spartan athletics.
The date coincides with UNCG's first Blue & Gold Day, a school-spirit event that Brady has started which will occur around key athletics events during the year. The next Blue & Gold Day is Feb. 5, when UNCG plays Davidson College in the Coliseum.
The Coliseum move has the support of the UNCG Board of Trustees; the Spartan Club, UNCG's athletic booster organization; the Greensboro Sports Council; and the Greensboro Sports Commission – organizations which were represented at the announcement event.
"One of my priorities is to enhance the visibility of Spartan athletics and make new investments in support of our athletics programs consistent with our NCAA Division I status," Brady said. "The future of athletics, recreation and wellness is a significant component of the next UNCG Strategic Plan 2009-2014, and our planning process is well under way on the campus. What we are announcing today is a key element in enhancing both athletics and the student experience at UNCG."
Coliseum officials are pleased to play host to the UNCG men's basketball team for the team's home games. They unveiled design proposals for a "home" court and Spartan-decorated dressing rooms.
Davidson is UNCG's only game in the Coliseum this season. For the 2009-2010 season, UNCG has scheduled non-conference home games in the Coliseum with N.C. State, Princeton and East Carolina. Non-conference opponents this season include away games at East Carolina Dec. 13 and an earlier game played at N.C. State on Nov. 30.
"We are very excited to expand our relationship with Chancellor Brady and the UNCG athletic department to include hosting all of UNCG's men's basketball home games," said Greensboro Coliseum Complex managing director Matt Brown. "This is a win-win-win partnership for the University, the Coliseum Complex and the Greensboro community. We look forward to working closely with the University in its efforts to take the men's basketball program to an even higher level. The Coliseum has a long and storied history of hosting elite college basketball action and this agreement with UNCG will add to that tradition."
Barakat, retired associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will assist in scheduling additional men's basketball games with ACC and non-ACC teams in the Coliseum. He will provide scheduling strategies to add higher-profile, non-conference opponents that will bring exciting basketball to the community.
"As a citizen of the Greensboro community, I am energized by Chancellor Brady's vision to elevate UNCG's men's basketball program with this historic move to the Greensboro Coliseum," Barakat said. "The university is fortunate to have this beautiful venue, steeped in rich basketball tradition, so near to the campus. I'm honored to be part of the planning team and look forward to UNCG having an exciting and greater presence in our community."
UNCG is contracting with ISP Collegiate Services, a branch of ISP, the Winston-Salem-based sports programming and marketing firm which has a team of more than 250 employees in 50 regional offices. ISPCS will work with UNCG to analyze marketing, promotional and ticketing strategies, and to develop a comprehensive plan of operations to be incorporated into business routines of the athletic department. Subtitled "America's Home for College Sports," their expertise in athletics is well known. ISP was founded in 1992 and is a partner with more than 50 universities in five major conferences – the ACC, Big East, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American.
"ISP is pleased to become part of the vision that Chancellor Brady has for the University," Ben Sutton, President and CEO of ISP Sports, said. "We are excited to have the opportunity to help build a more efficient and productive sales and marketing program for Spartan Athletics and look forward to this new relationship. It is especially gratifying to us since the Triad is our home as well."
The timing could not be better for UNCG to schedule ACC opponents. The Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament will be played in the Greensboro Coliseum in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
UNCG officials plan to schedule more games against ACC teams at the Coliseum. The UNCG men's basketball program is positioning itself to take advantage of this opportunity by playing against ACC teams, Southern Conference opponents, UNC system schools and other nationally-ranked programs in the Coliseum.
The project has been under discussion since Brady's arrival in August. In addition to Brady, Barakat and UNCG Athletics Director Nelson Bobb, the planning team includes managing director Matt Brown and deputy director Scott Johnson, both of the Coliseum; UNCG Provost David H. Perrin; Business Affairs Vice Chancellor D. Reade Taylor; Dr. Patricia W. Stewart, vice chancellor for university advancement; basketball coach Mike Dement; and Richard E. "Dick" Stewart, associate athletics director for integrated public affairs. As the marketing director for Spartan athletics, Dick Stewart will be the liaison between the Coliseum, ISP and UNCG. He is also responsible for building relationships with businesses and community sponsors.
UNCG officials are taking a vigorous approach in order to elevate the status of the athletics program and raise the university's profile in the state and across the nation. Other benefits to competition with ACC and other men's basketball teams include creating a larger community fan base, heightening partnerships and loyalty in the community, stimulating the economy, and enhancing the student experience.
Bobb said, "We have had excellent dialogue with the Coliseum management and the progress is very exciting. They have positioned themselves as willing and wanting to bring the UNCG men's basketball program to the Greensboro Coliseum."
Barakat was with the ACC for 27 years, and his duties included preparing the composite men's basketball conference schedule, overseeing men's basketball marketing and promotions, and serving as ACC Men's Basketball Tournament Manager. He scheduled all conference and non-conference men's basketball television games and worked with Raycom and JP Sports, CBS, ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and ACC regional cable network partners Fox Sports South, Comcast Sports and Sun Sports Network.
UNCG's Board of Trustees and its booster organization, the Spartan Club, are excited about the move.
Trustees Chairman Stephen C. Hassenfelt said, "The UNCG Board of Trustees enthusiastically supports the chancellor's initiative to move UNCG Men's Basketball to the Greensboro Coliseum. During the chancellor search forums, we heard the message that college athletics at UNCG could play a more important part in the student experience. Moving UNCG men's basketball to the Greensboro Coliseum is an excellent first step in creating a more vibrant campus community. In addition, it gives UNCG the opportunity to showcase its athletic program to the Greensboro area."
Kurt Kronenfeld, president of the UNCG Spartan Club, said "Strengthening our relationship with the Greensboro Coliseum will not only elevate the Spartan basketball program but the whole UNCG athletic program. I look forward to seeing the increased connection between the University, the local and statewide alumni base, and the community at-large as a result of this initiative."
In 30 years, UNCG men's basketball has played 39 games in the Greensboro Coliseum – three of them against teams from the ACC: Virginia Tech (2006-07 season), Duke (2005-06) and Florida State (1994-95). It has played ACC opponents 27 times. The Duke game, on Dec. 31, 2005, drew almost 21,000 spectators – the largest crowd ever to see a UNCG men's basketball game, when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 nationally.
UNCG is a member of the Southern Conference and has played in Division I of the NCAA since 1991. It fields eight men's and eight women's teams.
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