Yes, we shall. That should have been implied.
First, Matt and I were ushered into the building by Ceal Barry, who forgot her access card, so she had to borrow someone else's. We toured the volleyball offices, which were nice enough. Then we started to move downstairs to the practice courts, but we were interrupted by Tom Abatemarco. Tom is not tall, but he has glasses that I really want (I wear glasses, like a common nerd). Tom mentioned to Ceal that to do a big Midnight Madness event, we need to bring in a big name to MC. He brought up Fran Fraschilla.
This is going to be poor, narratively, so I won't bother. We got to see the volleyball locker room, which was the old women's basketball locker room. They have a very nice tile mosaic of the CU logo that apparently they want to knock down. Matt got a picture of it.
From there, we got to see the tail end of the women's basketball practice. Coach Barry wanted us to get a glimpse of the women's locker room. Unfortunately, we were inside when the women came back. AWKWARD. But they were all very nice as we moved on. I just kept on wanting to mentioned who I follow on twitter (but I didn't).
We kept on moving and saw the weight rooms, along with the master plan for what they want the weight room to be. It involved knocking down a bunch of walls, so anyone in any sport can work out when they need to. Coach Barry stressed that this was very important to recruits, and especially their parents, as they try to fit academic programs into an athletic schedule. (Or vice versa, I suppose) She said that she'd had to stress that point repeatedly in the last few days.
One thing that Ms. Barry stressed throughout was equality. The women's coaches have the same space as the men. The women's strength an conditioning coach got paid like he wanted to be there, rather than as a stepping stone to a men's program, and then to football. This was imperative.
When touring the women's space, we met all of the assistant coaches. We were shielded from some new recruits, and then we met Linda Lappe. She was extraordinarily kind, and apologized (unnecessarily, of course) because she had to spend time with the recruits. We also saw all of Coach Barry's Big 8 and Big 12 championship trophies (they are huge, which will come back later). Coach Barry has a sweet spot for lollipops. Coach Lappe's office has a hilariously terrible view of a cement structure (we never figured out what it was, but we laughed). But it's a nice office.
Then we moved on to the men's offices, which were (equality) the same as the women's. We met Coach Rohn, who was in the office, and chatted with him for a while. Then we saw the Pac 12 Championship trophy. Coach Barry was talking about the trophy with us, and asked what we noticed first. I ventured that the first thing I saw was the Pacific Life whale and that the trophy looked pathetic compared to all of her Big 8/ 12 trophies. She was delighted.
She said she mentioned to the Pac 12 that we needed a trophy that was solid, hard to carry- something substantial. That's not what the Pac 12 trophy was. Matt and I were both struck that this was something she noticed, but she's right. The Pac 12 trophy looks pathetic compared to all of the old Big 8/ 12 trophies. The men's coaching space also has a basketball signed by Barack Obama.
We also saw the men's locker room, the Buff Vision area where we will produce all of our Pac 12 Network content, and most interestingly- an empty space.
What Coach Barry said was that after last season, some Big Money asked what Boyle needed to get better, and he mentioned a video room. So they were taking out some space for just a giant video room, which will have a massive screen and 20 plush seats to watch video. She mentioned that she wouldn't be surprised to see a pool table enter the locker room where the old video setup was. So even now, we're building, with resources that aren't really public.
I'm sure I'm missing plenty. We also got to see the volleyball team go through their walkthrough before there game on Friday. From there, Coach Barry lead us out and signed some things for Matt. She knew all of her old players. "This one is coaching at a D3 school in Fresno and this other one is coaching Fresno State. This one is a lawyer. She saw a picture of Sabrina Scott and mentioned that she was playing in France, in the hometown of one of her teammates. I mentioned that my friend Anthony knows Sabrina and played with the men. She said, "Anthony who?" "Anthony Hull." "Oh yeah, his brother was on the football team and we recruited him to be a practice player. Didn't last long. We beat him up after a year." She saw his commercial and I said that I cast him for his first on screen performance. We chatted about his unique style. It is amazing that Coach Barry remembers literally everyone.
Coach Barry knew everything, from her former All Americans down to the one year practice player for the men's team. She was amazing.
It was a great tour, and I'm sure that I missed plenty, but overall, I came away feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that Coach Barry knew so much about her program, and overwhelmed at how kind and gracious everyone was to us. We weren't introduced as donors or boosters. We were just introduced as alumni in from out of state, and everyone was as generous with their time as they could be. I mentioned that we started with the empty volleyball offices. Near the end, Coach Barry introduced us to Natalie Dedin, who is the director of volleyball operations. She was genuinely kind to us, without a hint of "who the hell are these idiots" and it made me smile.
At the end of the day, Coach Barry gave us an amazing experience, not because we are big money donors, but rather because we were enthusiastic and she was likewise enthusiastic to show off the program from where we were to where we are. The volleyball team doesn't have to practice in Carlson anymore. The basketball teams don't have to think about B-School tests in Coors. We've got a great facility for our programs, and there are no more excuses why we can't have great teams. That much was made clear by Ceal Barry.
PS- We're still looking for space for the lacrosse team. Coach Barry wants to play on the Kittredge fields. Soccer does not want them on Prentup. Coach Elliot wants to play on turf, not grass. They're currently housed in Folsom, but that will change.
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