COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN YOUR ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
(Tuesday, June 10, 10:30- 11:30 a.m.)
We'll be out of here by 11:30, maybe sooner. I was going to say ladies but I think I will say beautiful ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to introduce this topic, community involvement in your athletic department. If you have been run out of town you know one form of community involvement. There are only a few of us who know that form. We have three experts up here representing Divisions I, II and III, and we are going to present them in that order. Thank God I don't have to be interesting, entertaining or tell jokes. My job is to introduce these three speakers. Our first speaker has been a head basketball coach on the high school level for ten years, has his master's degree from the University of Alabama and has spearheaded innovative athletic marketing strategies on the college level. He now is the associate AD at East Carolina University, where he works for Ken Carr and is following in his father's footsteps. Dave Hart, Jr., David.
DAVE HART, JR:
Thank you, Vern. I want you to know that it is a real privilege for me to take part in this
panel this morning. It is a real pleasure to be here and I feel very honored to be in this position. For those of you who may think my father is responsible for my position in intercollegiate athletics, I want you to know that is not so. For those of you who think that because my father was an officer of NACDA I am part of this panel, I want you to know that is a pretty safe bet.
1 have really enjoyed intercollegiate athletics because 1 enjoy people and 1 think it is a people business. People make the difference for you, and your ability to involve your community in what you are trying to do within your athletic program can go a long way toward determining how successful you will be athletically. You will sit in sessions this week that will discuss planning, organization strategies
and techniques. All of these are very, very critical ingredients to any successful pattern that you may develop. However, 1 really believe that people determine your department's production ratio. That is true in any successful operation, and that is really the bottom line. You can involve a task force of
500 people in a volunteer fund-raising effort and not get the production that you can get from 50 solid volunteer leaders. We have found that to be true at East Carolina.
The first thing that you have to do, regardless of what level you are involved with, is identify where you want community involvement to begin. At East Carolina we have had a lot of success with beginning that involvement in our Chamber of Commerce. It is a must that your Chamber become involved and feel a part of what you are trying to accomplish athletically. This group can become a very solid contributor to overall objectives of the athletic department. High-visibility community leaders can
only lend credibility to what you are trying to do, so you must involve them. But you must have reasonable expectations of their time and participation parameters. If you ask them to do too much you will turn them off and you will lose them.
It is very criticial that you involve the mayor in whatever you are trying to do athletically, because that is where the Chamber of Commerce involvement peaks out. The mayor must be visibly supportive of your efforts and have an understanding of your department's goals, objectives and philosophy. Utilize your mayor in public appeals. We used our mayor just recently this spring in a 30-second television
spot to promote our fund raising campaign. We dressed him in his very best purple and gold outfit and it proved to be a very effective tool for us because he is a very visible person.
Your Chamber of Commerce is made up of respected community leaders and you have to get them involved. It enables you to involve a varied spectrum of business and corporate leaders in a collective effort on your behalf. And that is very important. Involve people from every conceivable occupation and keep occupations in mind when you are structuring these strategies. Involve the doctors and lawyers, teachers and mechanics, barbers, grocers, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. You are going to leave no stone unturned as you begin this procedure. The Chamber of Commerce allows you to access these various markets because that is what the Chamber represents, respected community individuals who are involved in various walks of life.
You have to capitalize on these community leaders' abilities to delegate. These are all very busy people and in order to keep things running they have delegated what they consider to be very important duties to those below them. You've got the compiled list of those people that they consider to be the most productive, the most competent in their field or within that organization or office structure. Compile an
occupations list and involve people of various age groups and genders. It is fine to have a guy who has been a member of that community for thirty years, and you need that guy in your corner, but you also need that young guy in your corner. You need the guy who is going to lead the next generation of successful business men in your town and you need to involve the women. You need to involve all those people in what you are trying to do and not find yourself centralizing on one particular market, whether it be by age or by occupation.
I think you have to very carefully structure your plan for these volunteers. Remember that is what they are, volunteers. You have to organize regular meetings and within those meetings you can review
your goals and implementation procedures. You have to entertain that volunteer task force with some type c social gathering or appreciation night. Remember we all have egos. Not all of our egos are as big as coaches' egos, but we all have them and your Chamber or your leaders are no different. It is important to them that their efforts, their time and their energies are being recognized.
At the same time, it is very critical that you make it clear that you are going to hold these volunt accountable for their production capabilities and that you will maintain the power of veto. I say the power of veto because a lot of times when you are involving volunteers, if you are not careful it can be negative involvement. You have to be sure you have the final call on the development of those strategies. You know what you want done and you simply want that task force to go out and accomplish those goals that you have. Sometimes volunteers bring more input into strategies that you desire and you have to be able to draw the line.
Enthusiasm translates into production. You have to exude enthusiasm for your program and for your goals, then you have to go out in your community and identify the volunteers in your community who can best project that same image. We are very image-conscious at East Carolina University and I am sure you are
too, within the structure of your athletic program. We think image is very critical to our success. You have to be able to project that to your volunteers. They have to know what your ultimate goal is, what type of image you are trying to project for your department of athletics. At the same time, you must take the time to get in front of as many civic and service organizations as feasible, as a featured speaker.
You have to get in front of the Rotary, the Lions Club, the Golden Kiwanis, etc. If you have done a good job in organizing that volunteer task force, they have already loaded the bases for you, and you're the cleanup hitter. That committee has already been around, they have spread the word that you want spread. Now you have to come in as a featured speaker, in as many of those instances as you can, to solidify the image you want. I think that is very important.
Two years ago I approached our Chamber of Commerce in Greenville, North Carolina about getting involved in assisting our athletic program at East Carolina University. We formed a committee for the promotion of ECU athletics. This is an official standing committee among the other varied committees that the Chamber of Commerce sponsors. That committee began somewhat reluctantly with ten official members. This past year that committee was the largest committee among any Chamber committee that was formed.
The Chamber of Commerce Report, thejr official monthly newsletter, for the past three months looked more like our Purple Report, our official monthly newsletter for our fund-raising organization. We were able to have access to that Chamber of Commerce Report to do just about anything we wanted. We ran ads in promotion of our annual fund drive. We had the president of the Chamber call for total marquee participation surrounding our spring game promotion. We created maximum visibility for business and corporate contributions through the efforts of this Chamber of Commerce committee.
Without the efforts and the labor of this committee, we could not implement our spring game promotiol entitled "The Great Pirate Purple and Gold Pigskin Pigout Party". At our request, this is one of their priority projects that they take on each year. This past spring we grossed over $51,000, thanks largely
to the manpower that this Chamber committee provided along with the visibility that we were able to muster for this event. We had over 14,000 people participate. This has become their major project among a half-dozen projects we identify for them each year. The chairman of this Chamber of Commerce committee this past spring doubled as the chairman of our Pirate Club Volunteer Fund Drive, so we had him doing double duty. Because of his capabilities as a leader, we find ourselves running about 43 percent ahead of where we were at this time a year ago in our fund-raising efforts.
We have involved our Chamber of Commerce promotionally and we have involved them in our fund-raising efforts. We are finding that it has been one of the best things we have done, externally. If you have been ignoring your Chamber of Commerce as a tool for enriching your athletic program, I would highly reco~ that you go back and try to correct that as soon as possible. The Chamber of Commerce realizes what a football weekend can mean to the economy of the city. These are the types of points you have to make whel trying to organize this kind of group and get them involved. This has become a very prestigious committee It is a very visible committee; people want to serve on it now.
Another thing the Chamber does is provide you with a ready-made list of key businesses and corporations to target in your ticket sales and fund-raising campaigns. It is a committee that can carry a lot of clout. I have two examples of that. This past year, as part of our spring game promotion, we had a dunking booth. We had a fireworks display on Friday night, for which we had fire trucks over, in the event that anything
went wrong. While they were there they were supposed to have filled up our dunking tank, but the fellow in
the truck told the intern in charge of this that he didn't think that was the fire department's responsibility to fill that tank and he was simply going to go home. We called our mayor, who was one of our dunkees, and within 20-minutes there was not one, but two fire trucks filling that tank as the mayor overlooked this in his sweat suit. Then we decided that wasn't really the spot we would like to have the dunking booth anyway, so he had it moved to another spot.
Here's another example of how much clout your Chamber of Commerce can carry. There's a water tower as you come into Greenville, North Carolina and a year ago we wanted to have it painted with our logo and the
words "Welcome to Greenville and ECU, the Home of the Pirates." I took this idea to our Utilities Commission
and they just flat said, nNo, we won't. We have never done that and we are not going to get into the business of doing water towers, and quite frankly, we don't think it is quite fair for athletics to make this request." I said, "Well, it is not an athletic request. If you will read it, it says Greenville and East Carolina University." We took this information back to our Chamber committee and told them we're going to have to
scratch that project because the Utilities Commission simply said no. If you have occasion to drive into our fair city of Greenville, you will notice our water tower as you come into town with our logo painted up there with the words, "Welcome to Greenville and ECU, Home of the Pirates," because the Chamber of Commerce was able to reverse that decision by the Utilities Commission.
Your Chamber of Commerce is one group that can do a lot. For what you are trying to do athletically, I would say use your Chamber of Commerce, because it is made up of people who are going to become your contributors and your season ticket holders, influential people who can open some doors that maybe you can't otherwise open. They can help you financially as well as from a manpower standpoint.
To go back to where I started, I said I think people make the difference and I do. I think leadership is the key. Your leaders will get the job done where other people won't. I don't think you can judge who your leaders or your producers are based on their title, their wealth or anything else. You have to find people who will follow through and get the job done. Leaders equate into production.
I would like to close this morning with the ten commandments of leadership, which I have used from time to time. I would like to use them here because, more than any other group in America, athletic administrators can best identify with these ten commandments by an unknown author. Ten commandments of leadership: (I)
People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered; love and trust them anyway. (2) If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; do good anyway. (3) If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. (4) The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow; do good anyway. (5) Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable; be honest and frank anyway. (6) The biggest
men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest ideas; think big anyway. (7) People favor underdogs, but they will follow the top dog; fight for the underdog anyway. (8) What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight; build anyway. (9) People really need help but they may attack you when you try to help; help people anyway. (10) Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth; give the world the best you have anyway.
I have enjoyed again being a part of the panel this morning. I hope as this week runs its course out, I will have a chance to visit with many of you personally. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Dave. The next speaker will represent Division II. He was an undergraduate at Otterbein College in Ohio, received his M.A. and-get this-a Ph.D. I only know two guys with Ph.Ds; one is Dick Young from Washington State and the other is this fellow, but I'm sure there are many more. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and has been an AD at Ashland College in Ohio for 20 years. That says something. And get these stats: he had 30 teams finish in the top 15 in the college division level and has over 200 college-division all-Americans. Fred Martinelli, AD from Ashland College. Fred.
Thank you, Vern. I feel a little bit like I do after losing a football game, being over on the left side of the table. I felt a little bit lonely. I will admit some apprehension, having to address such
a distinguished group. I am pleased to serve on this panel addressing community involvement in athletics with these other distinguished members. I have come to admire the determination and creativity of the people in this group, particularly during the last 10 years, which I think have been among the most
critical in college athletics. I hope I can share some worthwhile ideas with you about the way that we have attempted to involve our community at Ashland College.
My initial reaction to the topic was perhaps similar to that of any athletic director, in that I initially thought of it as a way to sell tickets, to fill the stands or to raise money for the athletic department. While these are the intended results of community involvement in the long run, we have a
great opportunity to provide for social interactions which will lead to long-lasting relationships between the athletic program and college and people in the community. Improving our interactions and relationships in the community is important to all of us in intercollegiate athletics, regardless of size. In most cases the athletic department is viewed as a very important vehicle in accomplishing this task. It is important in attracting students, raising monies, securing the interest of influential individuals, projecting academic quality, recruiting quality student-athletes, placement of the finished product (the student in positions of vocational choice or graduate schools) or even self-esteem for the college community.
In Division II athletics this has become more difficult for several reasons, Foremost are the growth and interest in professional sports and unrestricted use of television for football and basketball by Division I institutions. On Saturdays you can see college football from 12:00 noon until midnight. During basketball season you can view a game on almost any night of the week. While this proliferation has decreased the amount of monies for football, it has increased the amount of monies, the amount of TV revenuE for Division I basketball programs. The visibility and the image that has been created by appearing on television are factors that we have got to consider when we review our data as far as attendance at Divisiol II events.
The newspapers, long-time supporters of local college teams, have also changed. In many instances it is difficult to get the reporters to write the local interest story with as much frequency as in the
past. Today they are more arrangers of stories that come through the wire service terminals, although some will give attention to material prepared by your sports information director. Media in major cities relegate college-division athletics to general reports or line-score coverages. During the college basketball tournament the impact of the Division I tournament is so great that I have been unable at times to even get a line score on Division II basketball tournaments from the media in our area.
The implication of the above for Division II is that we have a more difficult time counting on the media to provide the supportive environment necessary to promote our programs. Therefore, we have to utilize other, more relevant sources to do the kinds of things that we want. Above all, we must be more fundamental and personal in our approach and secure more community involvement in our programs.
Following are some of the approaches that we have utilized at Ashland College. Unlike most communities, in Ashland the college and high school have shared the same football facilities since World War I. Through most of the early years this facility was located on our campus; we constructed a communil stadium in 1963 and have major additions underway at the present time. In both instances fund~ were solicited from individuals, organizations, businesses and industries throughout our community. The college development office provided the expertise to organize fund drives in both instances. High
school, booster and college personnel worked together in all facets of planning the facility and securing the funding. This approach not only brought the college and community together, but freed up college money for other facilities and particularly, for our athletic scholarship program. We have had very litt of the great expense involved in building a football facility because we have been able to secure funds through other community endeavors; as a consequence, most of the money that would have been spent on a football facility has been channeled in other directions.
During the 1970s our college had a great desire to become more involved in and associated with NCAA college-division athletics and we made a concerted effort to secure and host NCAA regional and national events. NCAA championship events were held on our campus in track and wrestling and regional events in basketball. These gave us an opportunity to involve people in the community on appropriate committees
to complete our facilities and to administer these events. They were placed in charge of social activiti such as luncheons, cookouts, entertainment and tours of the surrounding area.
Our fans are very similar to yours in that they take great pride in the community, the program and the college, and they were very anxious to be hospitable to our guests from throughout the country. We heard our Keynote Speaker, Sargent Shriver, talk yesterday about the Special Olympics Program and the
fact that Notre Dame is hosting the Special Olympics in 1987. What a great impact. This is the kind of thing that you people at the major university level can bring to your campus. In this instance this has not only local and national impact but international impact. It would be foolish for me to assume that a community like ours could attract such a great event; however, we can bring the NCAA events and other similar events to our community, and we can generate a lot of involvement and a lot of interest in our community.
Prior to each football season we have organized a kickoff luncheon that has attracted a large gathering. In early August we ask three business and community leaders to serve as co-chairmen for the event and we publicize this in the media. We give three names to each of our 100 football players and ask them to call people in ~he community and invite them to the kickoff luncheon, with the idea that our
athletes would sit with the people from the community. You have an interaction, with the young men taking the responsibility to call people, and you have an interaction with the people when they attend the event, being able to sit and talk with the athletes, a very valuable thing to our program. College personnel including professors, staff secretaries and others are also invited.
The meal and program lasts exactly one hour. I talk with the people at our convention center, because we want people seated and served, 700 to 900 people --because we want to get the program in and out of the way. The highlight has always been the competition in singing the school fight song by our football fresh- men and marching band freshmen. This creates a great supportive environment for the football program and
gives individuals in the community a chance to chat with our athletes on a one-to-one basis. This is very important for us today.
Two years ago we re-instituted our all-sports banquet and included our College Athletic Hall of Fame induction. Our idea was to have a major social event on campus involving all of our athletes, students and faculty and people in the community for a great gathering. We have attracted between 500 and 700
people to this event and our goal in the near future is to reach approximately 1,000 attendees, which would be an excellent turnout for our institution. The programs consist of a brief recognition of teams and all-American athletes and induction of our Hall of Fame nominees. All of you as colleges have an idea of what your program is all about. At Ashland College we express our philosophy of athletics simply as maximum effort. We try to get this across to our athletes, have them see the people who have represented our college before them who have gone on and become successful in business or the professions. It
has been a very gratifying experience for the students. I heard a person say once that it doesn't make any difference how your teams do today, it is how your people are going to end up 20 years from now.
This all-sports banquet has provided for great interaction between the people in the community and our athletes and has helped to project what we want out of our program.
For over 20 years Ashland College has sponsored a business and industry night of the first home football game, which is usually played in the evening. In early August we send letters to managers of businesses and industries in the Ashland community. We emphasize the close relationship between our college and the community and offer blocks of tickets at cut-rate prices. our college president and personnel development office extend invitations to plant managers and their wives for either a buffet before a game or a gathering following the game. Good publicity is given to the event prior to the game
and appropriate periodic announcements are made during the contest. The half-time show is usually Dased on a community theme. This year we are planning to experiment with a cookout at the stadium for students and members of the community will be encouraged to attend. We generally have a full house for this
event; then if the coach throws the football enough during the game and is lucky enough to win, perhaps a lot of people will be coming back for the following weeks.
Several years ago the deterioration of our weight room equipment. along with the growing importance of strength development for athletes and increased interest in fitness by our students, provided the
impetus for improving our weight room. We wanted to provide Nautilus equipment and free weights. The cost for what we had in mind was in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $50,000. I know this is probably a monthly phone bill for our neighbors down the road at Ohio State University, but at Ashland College this is a major line item and in talking to our budget planners it was obvious to us that we were going to be far down the road if this were to be approved.
Consequently, we came up with the idea of organizing a fitness club with membership charges. A
fee structure was established for students, athletes included. I know a lot of you are going to wonder about this, but this is the way we do things at a smaller college. Yes, we charge our football players
a fee to use that fitness center. I'm not too sure I would change that even if I had the money. We charge an established fee for students, athletes, faculty, staff and people in the community. As part of their fee the community members have access to the weight room, natatorium, indoor track, handball courts and gymnasium at the times they are available.
While these fees from community members helped in maintaining the weight room, the spinoff effects
have been even greater. Comradery with our students, greater interest in the college and major contributions to improve our athletic program have been some of the results. Just last week I met with a club member,
who also is a plant manager of one of our local industries and part of a national conglomerate, to discuss needed equipment for our natatorium. The dollar value is in excess of $25,000. During our meeting another member came up to the table and indicated he was interested in financing the resurfacing of our handball courts. These are a number of the spinoffs that came up.
These are just several ways by which we try to involve the community at Ashland. Without the visibility that can be provided by the various media, it is imperative that we use other creative ways to get people involved in our program. It is not so much what is going on at that time; they are also the people who often sit on the various boards that give money for our programs in many other ways.
It has been a great pleasure for me to share some of our ideas with you. Thank you.
Thank you, Fred. Representing Division III, our final speaker graduated from William Jewell College and has his M.A. in sports administration from Ohio University. He has coached on the high school level and is now associate athletic director at his alma mater, William Jewell College, where he has helped generate funds for a new $4 million sports facility. Roger LaBeth, Roger.
You just don't know how much of a pleasure it is for me to be here today. This group is probably
one of the most prestigious groups of athletic administrators in the United States and when I see people of your stature it is indeed humbling. It is a great opportunity for me to be here to speak to you about our community relations.
Let me share with you a little bit about William Jewell, because I think that the situation you are in, the philosophical basis of your institution, is very important in determining the modes and methods
of your community involvement --not if you do it, but just how you are going to do it.
William Jewell is a small, liberal arts college located just north of Kansas City and it is located in a small town. Dave talked about the visibility of an institution; well, at William Jewell you turn around up in your office and the guy in the coffee shop knows whether you turned right or left, so it is kind of small. They know what is going on and if they don't know, they make up something. Our athletic program is a part of the educational environment; therefore, it is funded through the general fund. All monies that we make, with one exception which I want to share with you, goes right into the general fund, as it should be.
One of the things that we go on is a theory that there are no new ideas, just ideas that you rework and make work for you. One of the things we do is write or call every major institution that we know of an say, 'tWe would like to have a copy of your football program, your basketball program, a ticket, anything th you sent out. Would you send it to us?" We do it to Ohio State, to everybody. We get all these programs, then we look at them and say, "This is an idea that we could just change a little bit and have work for us. I've done that about four or five years, arid you wouldn't believe how many great ideas I have basically stolen from you all, so thanks, I appreciate that.
About eight years ago when I came back to William Jewell from Ohio University one of the concerns that we had was that our football attendance was really down. Our stadium will hold only about 7.000 people and there were only about 1.000 people in there. so we felt like we wanted to get some more people in there.
Not to get the money. because all of our funding comes from the general fund anyway. but because we wanted to make it a more exciting time for our players. Ultimately. that's what we are all about. We want to havl a good situation for our players, have them get excited and do better. and also for our students. our alums and the whole bit. So we stammered around and came up with an idea.
We formed a committee, made up of movers and shakers in the community. There are some that talk and there are some that do; you have to find the doers, pick them out and get a hold of them. We formed a
group called our Cardinal Coaters. We piggy-backed on an idea that I know you all use. I see them in yl programs --if a person gives so much money, he is a member of a particular group, such as TheMustang Cll
I can't go out and raise money because all that money has to go to the science department, music department, again as it should be. So to become a member of our club someone had to sell $1,000 worth of season tickets, football tickets, and they could become a Cardinal Coater. If they sold $500 worth of basketball tickets, they could become a Cardinal Coater. I might mention that our football season tickets ar $20 for reserved tickets and $15 for general admission, so a person had to sell about 50 tickets to get this done. I know that is small potatoes, but that's the way we are.
Here are the rewards that we gave to these particular individuals that became Cardinal Coaters. Firs he or she got a Cardinal blazer; number two, we had their picture displayed in our athletic complex and number three, a picture and biographical sketch in the program. If we couldn't find anything good to say about them we lied. We gave them four seats in our stadium and put their name on the back of their seat and gave them special parking privileges. "Parking privileges" at William Jewell is up next to the gate as the players go in, it's no big deal. The thing that they probably liked the best was free concessions. The only problem with that was that they would get free hot dogs, stick them in their pocket and carry the home. My word, it cost us a fortune. Also, we had a pre-game reception with the president.
Now, it was very important, like I said, that we got movers and shakers. We try to keep it fun, so
we brought in a table and put in a bank of phones and said, "Okay, boys and gals, go to it. We want you tc go and call right here, in front of everybody, and sell season tickets." How can they sell season tickets when Dave is over here talking and then here comes somebody else and they are fighting and you can't hear?