September 28, 2022

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Invoice Haisten: ‘This tire is flat,’ Rick Dickson says of TU’s advertising and marketing/attendance crisis | Basketball

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For University of Tulsa athletic director Rick Dickson, there are difficulties (like fundraising) and there are difficulties (like the last-location general performance of the Golden Hurricane basketball software, plus the worst home-video game attendance for TU basketball because ahead of Nolan Richardson was hired in 1980).

When you do overhear Hurricane basketball converse all-around town, it generally facilities on no matter if TU is about to make a coaching change right after eight seasons with Frank Haith.

Dickson had a great deal to say through a Saturday interview, but would not say a lot about his basketball coaching condition: “I never have and never will tackle (a coach’s status) until finally matters are concluded.”

Tied with South Florida for previous spot in the American Athletic Conference, Tulsa is 9-19 over-all, 7-8 in household video games, 3-14 in league engage in and on the brink of what would be the program’s to start with 20-reduction period considering that 2004-05.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, TU closes the standard time by hosting UCF. If the Hurricane stumbles, the TU method would be doomed to a getting rid of home history for the initial time because 1976-77 and for only the 2nd time in 60 a long time.

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With 136, Haith is one particular victory shy of tying for Clarence Iba at No. 2 on TU’s occupation wins checklist. The chief stays Doug Wojcik, who in 2005-12 had 140 wins. Haith’s 2019-20 squad was one particular of 3 teams that shared the AAC frequent-period title.

A former TU athlete and the university’s athletic director in 1990-94, Dickson paused his retirement and returned to his alma mater in September 2020 as the interim successor to Derrick Gragg. Ultimately, the “interim” label was dropped as Dickson agreed to a a few-yr deal that expires all through the summer of 2024.

Similar to COVID-19, there had been attendance limitations and rampant abnormalities for the duration of Dickson’s run by the 2020-21 TU sporting activities calendar. In 2021-22, he’s gotten a clearer look at TU’s marketing failures (my words and phrases, not his) and attendance disaster (in 2021, a 16,077 soccer common at 30,000-seat Chapman Stadium and a present 2,866 basketball common at the 8,355-seat Reynolds Heart).

In 1991, Dickson recalled, “we took 23,000 Tulsa persons to the (Liberty Bowl) in Anaheim, California. To a next-tier bowl. Think about that. We don’t get 23,000 for a household sport now.”

Dickson did not mince terms when speaking about TU’s marketing issues.

“This tire is flat,” he said before heading to a Saturday fundraising appointment in downtown Tulsa. “We’ve acquired to do a deep dive on anything — on our complete activity-day practical experience.

“The working experience has to be improved, and it will be. That is the determination I’ve made.”

This is the essence of a advertising and marketing failure: In an e mail, a Tulsa Globe reader spelled out that he and his wife are TU graduates and for several decades have been soccer time-ticket holders. Not as soon as, the reader added, had he or his wife been contacted by the college concerning basketball tickets. Unbelievable.

I forwarded that info to Dickson, who contacted the pair, invited them to a basketball recreation and sat with them at the Reynolds Center. By their stop of their time with Dickson, the pair indicated they would grow to be Golden Hurricane Club members and ended up dedicated to obtaining season tickets for football and basketball.

If Dickson’s frequent feeling and Customer Relations 101 acumen could be used to all facets of athletics marketing and advertising, TU would rating major gains.

Although Oral Roberts College has 3 acres of free parking on the Mabee Heart house, Dickson is knowledgeable of the persistent issues about the lack of TU parking around Chapman Stadium and the Reynolds Center. Also, 11th Avenue can be a hard and dim crossing for pedestrians who park south of the campus.

Prior to TU hosted Wichita Point out for basketball last week, Dickson had a uncomplicated but fantastic notion: “Let’s switch on the stadium lights. Lo and behold, that entire area was lighted up. It’s not the very long-term answer. We’ve acquired to get the town to include an additional stoplight or a crosswalk.”

The extended-expression solution would be the design of a 4-tiered parking framework quickly east of the Reynolds Middle.

“That would be suitable,” Dickson said. “That staying explained, my time and tenure now is far more about the speedy — more of the triage manner.

“We’ve acquired a rather important (on-campus parking) capability, if it is available. The dilemma is, we really do not make it available. Prolonged term — would a (parking garage) be the option? Completely, but I’m not going to be all-around very long-expression. I’m seeking to determine out how to make it work with what we have now.”

Just after Oklahoma State gained the 2011 Huge 12 football title, the college experienced a 2012 freshman course of 4,280 — the premier in school history.

In the course of the 2000 football period, as the Sooners were being 13- countrywide champions, athletic director Joe Castiglione was the driving pressure driving OU’s biggest fundraising campaign at any time.

Following the Golden Eagles’ Sweet Sixteen surge past year, ORU experienced a 133% maximize in enrollment applications. A main donation permitted ORU to split floor on the building of the 10,000-sq.-foot Mike Carter Athletic Centre, which must be open up for business in about a 12 months.

At the Mabee Center this season, college student attendance was at its maximum degree considering the fact that the ’70s. ORU athletic director Tim Johnson suggests strong college student attendance resulted from a six-year marketing and advertising campaign.

For most game titles at the Reynolds Center this year, the university student part was sparsely populated.

Dickson now is at the 8-month mark of a doing the job romance with Brad Carson, TU’s new president. How does Carson rate as a president who recognizes the worth of thriving athletics?

“Whatever the top score is — four stars or 5 stars — Brad Carson would get that ranking,” Dickson mentioned. “He is aware the benefit of what we’re trying to do for the university.”

Just before rolling downtown for his fundraising presentation, Dickson closed with this information that pertained to TU’s marketing and advertising and effort: “I just know we can be improved than what we have been. When we’ve peaked in athletics here, we were engaged with this town. I was part of it. I’ve observed it.”

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