We had a chance to catch up with VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague today, who was questioned on a variety of topics. Here are some highlights from that interview.
ON VERIZON WIRELESS ARENA CLUB SEAT PROJECT
“The construction in the Siegel Center is going fantastic. They’re really working day and night and on weekends to get it done for the first [game] of the year, but we’re on schedule. The first thing we have to have it ready for is a select-a-seat promotion where donors come in and see where they want to sit.
So, we’re doing well. It’s going to be an incredible addition to the arena and something we’re really proud of.
We get assured by the construction workers, hey, it doesn’t look like it will be ready, but it will be ready.
It’s amazing how much wiring they had to do in the ceiling for our video system for the basketball programs and just everything they had to do to get the computers wired and synched. Technology’s great, but it requires another step when it comes to construction.”
ON THE EXCITEMENT OF STARTING A NEW SEASON
“I’m thrilled that the response on the season ticket side has been as good as it has been. We have sold about 650 new season tickets, probably on the verge of 700, and that’s a dramatic pop for any program to have that many new season ticket holders.
The excitement is there. I hope expectations will be realistic when you lost four seniors who contributed heavily and we have a tough schedule. But our program is solid as a rock.”
ON THE DECISION NOT TO INTERVIEW AT NORTH CAROLINA
“I really honestly feel like we’ve got so much we need to do here. That’s my alma mater and I was thrilled that they had asked, but I knew a lot of the workings that were going on and some of the profiles that maybe they were looking for and I really was more than happy to decline that and stay here. Staying here is not an, ‘oh well, I’m staying here.’ It’s more of an excitement. Heck, I want to enjoy some of the fruits of what we’ve done for the next couple of years.
Also, I have a sense of urgency with me and my staff right now to really capitalize on the Final Four. While this suite project is nice and the club seating is nice, we’ve got some other things that we need to do. We’ve got a real commitment from Dr. Rao and the University to help us do those things for the program.”
ON THE PROPOSED BASKETBALL PRACTICE FACILITY
“I think it’s definitely past the drawing board. We have solidified a lot of the infrastructure that it takes to raise money for something like that, meaning, we’re putting together our committee and our campaign leaders right now. I think what you’ll see in the next month and a half is it will definitely get more on a fast track. We have had some shoes of late that have dropped that are very good shoes we needed to drop to put things in place to move that thing forward.
It’s been approved by the Board of Visitors, and we’re ready to really kick it off, per se. We’ll probably have an event of some kind to kick off that campaign and look for that to be coming down the pipe pretty soon in the next six weeks.”
ON WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A TIMELINE FOR THE PRACTICE FACILITY
“Shaka made a good point early in the week to me and do some others. He said, ‘I’d rather us take a couple years to do it right, rather than rush it and not do it right.’
So, I’d like to have it done in the next couple of years, and that means maybe have it done in two years, maybe a little bit less, maybe a little bit more. As long as we’re on the pathway to doing it and doing it right, I feel good that we’re making good progress.”
ON CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
“Tom Yeager has said he expects additions [to the CAA] in some form or fashion.
As it stands today, it seems like, from what I read and what I hear, the next shoe to drop is whether Missouri goes to the SEC. When that happens I think you’re going to see some more dominoes fall. I would think that the next dominoes to fall or happen will be the Big East reevaluating where they are and the Big 12 kind of reevaluating where they are. When it will trickle down to us, I don’t know.”
IF OTHER LEAGUES CAME CALLING FOR CAA TEAMS, HOW WOULD THAT IMPACT VCU?
“I think everything has an impact on us. I think that one thing about our league, one of the greatest positives for VCU is the fact that we have unbelievable regional rivalries. It is very, very difficult to think you would ever want to break those up.
I have told people that I used to work with in the ACC that the Old Dominion-VCU rivalry and the atmosphere in the buildings when we play is as good as any rivalry they’ll ever see in that league. The CAA Tournament to me is what the old ACC Tournament was. You’ve got a very watered-down ACC Tournament now with teams that don’t mean as much to people that are in North Carolina or in Virginia playing against each other. Our tournament now is as raucous and as energetic and as important as the ACC Tournament used to be to those schools.
My point is, we’ve got a lot of leverage as a league, as far as anyone wanting to do anything different. We’ve got to keep in mind, those regional rivalries really are an engine to a lot of what we do.”