Kirby's Column

Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt's Monthly Comments

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February 2, 2006

Dear Bobcat Fans,

I hope this correspondence finds you doing well and enjoying a prosperous 2006. The New Year is off to a great start for the Ohio Bobcats! In this letter, I would like to highlight some of the exciting accomplishments from the past few weeks, announce two new staff members and briefly share with you some information pertaining to our 2006 football schedule.

As we move towards the halfway point of our 2006 Mid-American Conference basketball season I have had several athletics directors within the league and a few MAC administrators comment on the Convo being the best basketball setting in the conference! It is extremely exciting to see the O Zone full of students for our men's basketball games. The home court advantage and atmosphere created by the O Zone is exceptional and one Coach O'Shea and our basketball team appreciate!

On Sunday, January 8, we welcomed back to campus our men's and women's basketball alumni. It was a great chance for me to meet and visit with many of our former student-athletes and hear about their terrific memories wearing green and white. It is my intent to make a sincere effort to connect with former student-athletes at alumni events and other functions. Our former student-athletes are vital to the program's traditions, history, and longevity. I am eager to meet more alumni and look forward to hearing about their experiences at Ohio.

I am proud to introduce two newcomers who have joined the Bobcat Athletics Department. Robert Andrey is our new Associate Athletics Director for Business and Internal Operations. Rob has spent the past five years at American University as the Associate Athletics Director for Business and Administration. His experience includes time at Temple University, Lehigh University and Lafayette College. Dan Hauser has also joined our staff as the Associate Athletics Director for Marketing, Promotions and External Operations. Dan has spent the past seven years at Wake Forest as the Director of Marketing. Rob, Dan, and both of their families will be tremendous assets to our department and community.

I have received many questions and emails over the past couple of weeks related to our upcoming football schedule. Please know we are working very diligently to complete both the non-conference and conference portions of our 2006 schedule. It is our goal to release our schedule, in its entirety, in the near future. At that time, I will be willing to answer all questions regarding this year's schedule.

Similarly, I have received many emails regarding the scheduling of mid-week football games. I appreciate everyone sending me their thoughts and comments. The next two football seasons (2006 & 2007) present tremendous compression challenges in the fact that we have 13 weeks to play 12 games.

As most of you are aware, in the past mid-week football scheduling was managed school-by-school at the request of the Mid-American Conference. This type of approach provided very little consistency and created, I believe, a competitive disadvantage for the participating teams. In 2005, Ohio University played four week-day games (two Friday games, a Monday game and a Tuesday game). Obviously, this fragmented schedule presented numerous challenges related to game preparations.

The Mid-American Conference is in the final stages of completing a conference scheduling template for 2006 and 2007 that will preserve Saturday football games during the months of September and October. In November each team will play mid-week games. One mid-week game will be at home and one will be on the road. Each team will also be required to play a game during the week of Thanksgiving. This scheduling format will bring consistency to the conference schedule while allowing for national and recruiting exposure provided by our relationship with ESPN.

In closing, I would like to congratulate and acknowledge our present and former student-athletes, coaches and academic support staff for their focus and dedication to academic excellence as reflected in the recently released NCAA graduation report. Ohio University Athletics posted one of the top graduation rates (92%) in the Mid-American Conference for student-athletes who completed their eligibility between 1989-99. Additionally nine of our athletic programs posted a graduation success rate of 88% or above, while six of the nine programs had a graduation rate of at least 91%. Graduation of our student-athletes continues to be the athletic administration's number one priority.

I am excited to watch our teams currently in competition compete for MAC Championships and am anxious to see our spring sports begin their seasons in the very near future. I hope to see each of you in the Convo and the Aquatic Center supporting our men's and women's basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving teams over the next few weeks!

Go Bobcats!