MY COMMENTS ABOUT THE INDIANA STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM AND THE ISU PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH ON SYCAMOREHOOPS.COM
A few weeks ago, I was clued in to a fan-based website that is devoted to the Indiana State University Athletics. The website, called sycamorehoops.com (here is the link http://www.sycamorehoops.com/), is ran by the same people who own the Ballyhoo Tavern in Terre Haute.
When attending the recent ISU Football Golf Outing and the get together afterwards, which was jointly sponsored by the Ballyhoo, Dave Brasier (Ballyhoo owner) mentioned the website and suggested that I take a look at it. He said that while it had been set-up as a way for fans to talk about the basketball program, it also had areas to discuss football, women’s basketball and other ISU sports.
Not long after covering the NFL Draft, I took Dave up on his suggestion and found the site. It’s pretty good. I have written a few things on there, including the following thread that I put together this morning.
Remember, these are my ideas and comments. But I thought maybe some of you might get a kick out of reading what I had to say. You may agree with all or some of what I wrote. Or you may disagree. But that’s okay. The purpose of writing what I did was to provoke some thought and discussion.
The topic this time was about getting more student participation at ISU home games. So, here goes:
“When i worked at ISU in the athletic department, we tried very hard to get students and student organizations to participate in the football program. Yes, we tried gimmicks. and even with the football program made consecutive trips to the I-AA playoffs in 1983 and 1984 (winning teams to be sure and the 1984 team was ranked No. 1 in I-AA for most of the regular season), the students still didn't show up in big numbers. We scheduled games at night so that they didn't compete with Purdue and IU afternoon home games. there were ticket price reductions, ticket giveaways, kids days (which didnt turn out well because parents just dumped their kids out at the stadium and let them run wild), and various other promotions. So the lack of student support at isu game has not been for the lack of trying by the isu athletic department, although here have been my biggest complaints (even when i worked there). Also some ideas to make things better: 1. Not many billboards around town, the area and the state promoting isu football and football ticket sales. 2. Not many television and radio commercials around town, the area and the state promoting isu football and football ticket sales. 3. The football program has always been the poor stepchild of the men's basketball program. If given some much-needed nurturing however, maybe (just maybe) the program could turn into the athletic department's Cinderella. 4. Be innovative with their marketing and promotion of the football program on campus and in the greater terre haute community. 5. In that vein, use the marketing classes at isu to help devise ways of communicating with the student body. Make it a class project where the best ideas get some sort of prize and where the project will be graded in class. That idea was used on a short-term basis when alvin reynolds received two votes for the heisman trophy in the mid-1980s. a marketing class took on that goal as a project and it worked. signs went up all over town and campus promoting alvin. it was the talk of the city for several weeks, the "our pal al" campaign. 6. Have the alumni association help set up bus road trips from various cities in the area and state to attend games in the fall. Bring alums in from the outside. 7. Get into area elementary schools with marketing and promotions. 8. Have a "can do" attitude instead of a "no we can't" attitude. 9. Have better communications with former players and work with them in developing (or re-developing) a connection to the football program. Be open to talk to former players instead of just tolerating them. When former players offer their help (whether it be financially or in other ways), don't automatically turn them downout of hand without first completely exploring the situation. I will say, though, that under ron prettyman's leadership as the school's athletic director, communication with former players has gotten noticeably better. but there's still a ways to go yet. 10. Think big. Think outisde the box. Yes, i know that funds are limited. But that still shouldn't limit ideas on how to better promote and publicize the football program. 11. Hire former Pacers, Colts and Indianapolis Ice marketing guru Ray Compton as a marketing consultant. He's always had great ideas for putting fannies in seats. 12. Quit complaining about what ISU doesn't have and start working at making things better. And some other comments as well:1. What's happened to the annual homecoming parade? It’s just a shell of what it used to be. Bring it back!!!!2. Didn't the marching band used to be a lot bigger and a lot louder in years past? I've seen bigger high school bands than what I've seen at recent ISU games. 3. Bring back the cannon at the football games. 4. Contrary to popular opinion, ISU’s football program does have a positive history. Make better use of it. Where are the banners from the 1983 and 1984 playoff appearances? They should be where fans (and recruits) can see them near the playing field. Place pictures up in the locker room of former players who have been in the NFL (also good for prospective recruits to see as well as current players to show what can happen if you have success). 5. Make the hill area behind the visitors bench at memorial stadium a perfect location for the students to tailgate and congragate. Let the students razz the visiting teams a little bit (sort of like they used to do near the visiting dugouts and bullpen at Sycamore Field in baseball or like they used to do in men's hoops). Right now, things are a little too comfortable for visiting teams. With the proper amount of security in the area, students can still get on the visiting players and coaches without causing some sort of incident. try to un-nerve the visiting teams a little bit. Well, those are just some of my proposals and suggestions. But hey, what do I know? I only worked there for nearly 15 years.”
And here is what I wrote recently about the ongoing search for a new president at Indiana State University:
“Let's hope that whoever they hire as ISU’s next president will be more of a Richard Landini in terms of sports rather than a John Moore or Lloyd Benjamin. ISU needs a president that understands having a strong intercollegiate athletics program -- from football to women's golf -- is integral in the building of a strong collegiate community. Landini was great for athletics for the most part. ISU needs a Landini or someone like former Rose-Hulman President Sam Hulbert.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
I received an email earlier this week from former Sycamore gridder Brian Bridgewater. Brian and his twin brother Bruce were included on a list that had put together in a recent newsletter as I tried to find out where some of the Sycamore football alumni were at.
Brian works as a Project Manager for Eli Lilly and is currently on a three-year assignment in Ireland. He and his family are living in Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland, where is working at a BioTech facility.
For those who would like to contact Brian, here is his email address: BRIDGEWATER_BRIAN_P@LILLY.COM. His brother Bruce’s email address is: email@example.com.
I have also heard from former ISU quarterback Todd Jochem (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with ex-ISU players Mark Maley, Kevin Arnett and Ryan Knigga. Maley (email@example.com) played at ISU from 1970-73. Here is Arnett’s (2001) email address: Kevin_Arnett@sbcglobal.net as well as Knigga’s (1998-2000, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Remember, we need more email addresses of former ISU players. I’m counting on you guys for some help. Thanks for all you’ve done so far!!!!
NO UPDATES YET ON POSSIBLE FOOTBALL TRANSFERS
We’re still waiting to see if Indiana State will be announcing any possible Division I football transfers.
There were mixed reports that former University of Florida safety Jerimy Finch was considering ISU and IU. One story, however, said that Finch (who attended Warren Central High School in Indianapolis) was prohibited from attending IU by the terms of his release from Florida. But that has not been confirmed.
When there is more definitive news on recruiting and potential transfers, we’ll pass it along.