Aug. 9, 2006
Moderator: Todd's on-line, so let's get started.
Chris (Woodinville): As long time season ticket holders (1941), my family has seen prices go up dramatically plus forced donations for capital improvements. For years, we were promised that money would start to flow to the football program once the other facilities were done. Now I read the stadium is another 10 years off. If football fans are footing the bill ($50 per seat for 45,000 season tickets = $2,250,000), what are we seeing in return? Do we now have the greatest weight room on the West Coast for our money? Do the lockers have X-boxes?
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Don't be drawn in by the media's interpretation that we are 10 years away from improvements to Husky Stadium. We can and will begin to make improvements as soon as we decide the what and how questions. That mean's we're still working on the design concepts and our funding models. We have been delayed in our planning by the transportation projects planned along Montlake...a new Sound Transit Station and the replacement of the 520 Bridge. Now that we have a better idea of what those projects entail, we can complete our own planning. I'm hopeful that we will have this done sometime in October or November. We'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, we are doing all we can to show our recruits and team that we are invested in the FB program. There is a special addition planned for the FB Office building/weight room that will celebrate our great traditions and history. You'll be able to walk through a museum quality addition where you'll quickly feel the power and pride of Husky FB...it will be like walking down the tunnel onto the field on game day! This project will go out to bid in the next month and should be completed in time for the 2007 FB season. It will be called our Husky FB Legends Hall and should be a great boost to our recruiting efforts. We've raised a little over $5 M from our friends and supporters to complete this project...which also includes some upgrades to the weight room and our current FB offices. So, we're not sitting still waiting on a major renovation to Husky Stadium to make a difference for our FB team. We're on it right now!
boulder city, nevada: Our son is swim team captain this year. We are very interested to find out how the search for a coach is going. Please support the swim team! If you could add a diving venue, it would really boost the swim team's rankings because they always are behind due to no diving.A big name coach and a chance to be more competitive would attract more kids--esp. locals who are going elsewhere.
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Consistent with the University's commitment to be the best we can be in all that we do, we are moving ahead to set a new course for Husky Swimming. Our search for a coach has already begun. One of the questions candidates will ask will be what does the future look like for the program, given the fact that it was almost dropped in 2000. The answer...our swimming community will help us decide this. Yes, we have an antiquated pool. Are we able to compete with Arizona, Stanford, USC, etc. in that facility? Frankly, it will be tough. So, the new coach and our swimming supporters will have to help us decide how to address this. At some point, without a first-rate pool, we will be faced with a tough decision about swimming. But, not now. We're going to look for some serious help and try to make this program into one of the nation's best.
Frank Prince Jr. (Port Angeles): The UW Women's volleyball team's trip to China and the women's basketball trip to Italy cost a good deal of money. How are these trips financed?
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Good question. We rely on private donations to fund these extra trips that are not part of our regular operating budget.
Curt Stimpson (Redmond, WA): With Oregon State winning the National Championship in College Baseball and Gonzaga beaking ground on an $8,000,000 baseball stadium, when are the Huskies going to see the porta-potties and gravel go away and have a stadium of their own? I've been hearing about this 'stadium' for 10 years now. You came from the SEC, how does our facility compare with any of theirs? More people see 1 game at Alex Box at LSU that see all 30 home games on the Husky schedule. How about the Big-12, ACC, Big East, and every other baseball conference the 295 NCAA Division 1 baseball schools play in.
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Our baseball program deserves better...as does soccer...when it comes to facilities. You are right, our ball park does not compare favorably to those in other parts of the nation. We've got to do something to make it better for our fans and players. Like swimming, it will likely take some phenomenal support from the baseball community to make this happen. We are working on a phased plan to upgrade baseball, but it is contingent upon identifying the money needed to complete the project. We will scour every corner of our resources to find some money to get this started...in fact, we've spent a good sum getting design assistance...but we can't finish the project without help from the baseball community.
Sven (Hillsboro, OR): We have had great success in volleyball this past year. Do you expect similar success in the future and what are the plans to increase funding for volleyball?
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Any time you have a national caliber team like our volleyball and men's basketball teams, you have to continue to invest in them. It starts with the coach and staff and, in both cases, we have extended lengthy new contracts to the head coaches...McLaughlin and Romar. In addition, we upgraded (actually completely renovated) the north practice gym last year, giving both programs unmatched training facilities. We are now at work on upgrading the locker rooms for both programs and women's basketball with an eye toward making our recruiting presentation better...more display of Husky tradition and excitement, two film/classrooms, new lockers and team lounges. This actually completes another phase of the Bank of America Arena renovations. You don't stay on top by standing still, so we'll continue to make improvements that help our top programs.
Kyle McCanta (Beaverton, OR): During your tenure, have there been any Junior College transfers potential scholarship athletes who have not met University of Washington admission criteria, but who were admitted to a different Pac-10 school?
Please comment on whether you view the University admissions policies as helping, nuetral or hurting the drive for championship athletic programs.
Athletics Director Todd Turner: We've gotten tremendous support from the Admissions Office and from our faculty who are involved in helping us evaluate prospects. Our goal should be, and is, to admit those athletes who have the skills to graduate from the UW. Anything less would be exploitation. So, we'll continue to evaluate each prospect carefully, including junior college transfers, trying our best to bring in those that can succeed at UW. As the UW's academic profile goes up, we will have to be very diligent in our recruiting efforts to bring in only those students who can succeed. That said, we've got a great track record with those we've brought to the UW...graduation rates equal or better than the student-body, APR (academic progress rates) that meet NCAA standards, academic all-americans and Pac-10 performers.
Sean (Seattle): What is your philosophy on retiring numbers for sports? Do you forsee any possibility of retiring Curtis Williams' No. 25? Afterall, he made the ultimate sacrifice while playing for the UW.
Although it is different circumstances, another person I was wondering about was Brandon Roy's No. 3.
Athletics Director Todd Turner: Retiring a jersey is one of the highest honors we can give to a former player. There are many reasons to do so. We remember people for all sorts of reasons...exceptional play, contributions to the UW community and traditions, sacrifice, etc. We should only retire those numbers that set an incredibly high standard and inspire us. One key question for most is did they fulfill the complete model of a student-athlete at the UW...on the field, in the classroom, in the community. We have discussed a "ring of honor" in the stadium, but no decisions have been made about this. Something like this would enable us to keep the numbers active, but recognize those that have a special place in Husky lore.
Athletics Director Todd Turner: I couldn't get to every question during this session, but thanks to all who have submitted them. I look forward to doing this again sometime.
Moderator: Fans, we hope to have more chats throughout the year with athletes, coaches and administrators....stay tuned!!