Basketball behind the scenes

By The Beacon | February 7, 2012 9:00pm

Meet some of the people making each game possible

Kevin Bailey (Bill Michielsen)

By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer --

While you sit in the Chiles Center with your hotdog and ice- cold beverage to watch a basketball game, it is easy to overlook how much work actually goes into producing a game.

It is a thankless job, often unrecognized by those who attend University of Portland basketball games. However, there are many cogs in the machine that produces the games at Chiles. Here is some background on what takes place to host a game at UP…

Buzz Stroud, associate athletic director (working at UP Athletics since 1984)

"I coordinate with Public Safety, Athletic Marketing, ticket sales, sports medicine, the basketball coaches and staff, building operations, athletic media relations, as well as hire and assign game management workers. We ascertain the specific needs of opposing team's basketball operations, coordinate practice times and give game format information. We meet each Tuesday when we are hosting a game to go over our plans and look back on the last game if anything came up to improve or correct any mistakes and go over feedback from visiting teams and patrons."

Jason Brough, associate athletic director for public relations

"On the day of a game we make sure programs are ready to be sold, set up press row, as well as for our radio broadcast and the visiting team radio. For televised games, we make sure they know where to set up and give the TV talent story lines and information about our players and anything else they need. We also set up the video streaming, highlights and in-game stats."

On further improvements: "We would like to refine what we've added and become more efficient. Things like more food choices on the upper level and adding credit and food points at concessions. These things are on our radar"

Tony Ortiz, operations manager

"I coordinate all the set ups and operations. I do schedule and do the staffing for maintenance and operations. The night before the game after the last practice we convert the gym from three courts and six hoops into game set up. We get the bleachers pulled out, do sideline set up, Bon Appétit set up and get Pilot's Club set up. We are a small staff with three temp workers and one full-time lead man. It takes about two hours to set up the gym and about two-three hours to reset it and clean. Clean up is the same, the only dynamic that changes is that we have 12-15 student volunteers assist us in break down to reset the gym for practice."

Andy Rygg, ticket sales associate

"Our outreach is spreading information on ticket packages to try to get butts in seats. We have different target markets to go after with our ticket packages starting with season tickets, and mini plans. Our main focus lately has been on targeting group outings for single games. Our community sales are doing pretty well – we have just over 1,000 season ticket holders. It seems like student attendance is down but the opponent and date of game makes a big difference. We are finding that a lot of people are coming to their first sporting event at UP and did not realize what a great arena we have. The intimate seating and atmosphere is great for college sports. People can relate to the college athlete more than the superstar NBA athlete. It is pure basketball and a great way to introduce youth athletes to the game rather than the unrealistic hype the NBA has turned into."

Shane Winters, concessions manager

"We have 20 plus students on staff at the concessions on the main level and upstairs as well as three or four chefs working upstairs. Student workers usually get to Chiles two hours before the game starts and the kitchen staff and I are working at it the whole day. We start shutting down upstairs at halftime and by the time that is done, we usually close downstairs with about 10 minutes left in the game. Depending on the game and what I have to do, I stay anywhere from one to three hours after the game."

So next time you wander through the Chiles Center to watch a basketball game, do not hesitate to give a thank you to the staff members who make your food, clean your messes and do what they can to make sure you don't have to worry about a thing.

(Bill Michielsen | The Beacon)