Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’



A picture of the outside of the Joe Craft Center on the campus at the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has recently announced that they will be building a new building to house their basketball team. The team has spent the past 31 years living in Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, located across the street from Memorial Coliseum and the new Craft Center.

The Difference Makers, a committed group of UK supporters, donated the money for the new Lodge. Joe Craft, who supplied the $6 million to name the new basketball facility, heads the group and spurred the initiative. The new housing is to be named the Wildcat Coal Lodge to honor the unique tie Kentucky has to the coal industry and its importance in the state’s economy.

There are a couple of unique points in this story. For one, Joe Craft, along with his group of supporters, is once again supplying the school with a large donation to support the basketball program. The repeat donation is a testament to the stewardship practices at the University where the donor still felt connected to the school; even after his naming gift for the new practice facility was made. Additionally, the department was able to leverage their good relationship with Craft to find a group of committed donors willing to further support the program.

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The new MBB seating chart at the Thunderdome

The new MBB seating chart at the Thunderdome

This year UC Santa Barbara is taking an active approach to combating the economy and its potential affects on their athletics program. The department has taken steps to make sure their basketball facility is full throughout the season, lowering men’s basketball prices to $125 for season tickets and women’s basketball to $100. Additionally, a family pack of two adult and three youth tickets for both basketball teams is currently being sold at $400, or $2.66 per game.

It is also important to note the changes UCSB has made in their donor system. Before, donors would give to a certain sport program under a special fundraising arm (ex.- Fastbreakers for women’s basketball) to recieve tickets in a certain area. Now, donors, regardless of where they give, become a part of the “One Donation is Gold” system, which enables their donation to count for all sports, not just one program. This system could serve as an excellent example on how to transition donors from giving to one individual sport to supporting the whole program.

Under the new rules, a donor who gave a certain amount to obtain seating at a women’s basketball game can actually donate less this year to obtain the same seats. These savings will help in retaining donors and helping them maintain their seating requirements throughout the year. An example can be found in the press release.

Additionally, to uphold a level of satisfaction from giving to certain sport, the Gaucho Fund has made it clear in numerous publications that giving can still be earmarked towards a specific sport program. All this will help in easing their donors into a new system and invigorating a fan base with a packed arena and boisterous atmosphere for the upcoming basketball season.

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John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

For the most part the men’s basketball head coaching carousel has settled down towards the end of this month. Coaches have made their moves to other programs, retired, or been let go. In any case, a movement among the leadership of one of the most visible program in any athletics department will cause grumbling from media, fans and donors.

However, regardless of the circumstances of the change, most donors will be receptive to the new coach should he/she reach out to the base. This can come in the form of e-mails, attending donor functions, or personal phone calls. During this time, the coach can learn about the donors who support the program and begin to build a relationship with key constituents.

This has recently occurred at the University of Kentucky, where John Calipari has been making phone calls to high-end donors and attending donor functions. Doing this has revitalized a fan base that was dissapointed at season end. His ability to entertain has excited not only the fans, but also the people who monetarily support his program.

At Northern Illinois University, Head Football Coach Jerry Kill spent much of his first weeks on the job attending donor functions, eating dinner with key supporters and winning over the fan base. This led to happier donors and an excited fan base before a football was snapped.

So when transition occurs, and if the coach is willing, getting him/her out in front of the fan base will go a long way to making supporters excited to dontate. They will feel like the money they give is going to someone they personally know.

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