We had a great live chat session Wednesday, featuring University of South Dakota Athletic Director David Sayler. Sayler is the first guest we’ve had on our live chats, and he did not disappoint.
Here are some of the exerpts:
James Cimburek: Welcome to this week’s Press & Dakotan live sports chat. In case you missed our teasers during the week, we will have a special guest today, University of South Dakota Athletic Director David Sayler.
Jeremy Hoeck: Hi everyone. Welcome to an exciting week for the P&D Sports Chat. Our first guest, and we were honored when David asked to join in.
David Sayler: Happy to be here and thanks for the support Yankton gives the Yotes!
JimBob: Could you talk a little bit about efforts to increase attendance numbers this year and attract new fans to CoyoteLand?
David Sayler: Really looking to take a more proactive approach on customer service as well as evaluating all our ticket pricing as he head to the finish line of this D1 transition. You will see more grassroots efforts from our staff to increase our numbers.
Former Yote: Hi David! Congrats on the first year in charge. What’s been the biggest surprise so far?
David Sayler: Biggest surprise…..how wide reaching the Coyote alumni base is across this great country.
GoYotes: Getting defending national champions for the home opener is a good way to ramp up attendance. Nice job.
David Sayler: Thx….we both knew we had the same open date…it was just a matter of who would go to whom. I am glad it turned out like it did, especially with Lamar backing out.
JimBob: Agreed–any time anyone asks me what I am doing on a weekend in September I make sure it is not the Eastern Washington game. Here’s hoping we pack the place and the fans keep coming!
David Sayler: Defending national champs, #1 ranking and during ribs n rods weekend in Vermillion….soounds like a winner to me!
GoYotes: Really looking forward to starting Summit league play this coming year and MVFC the following year. The whole Big Sky – MVFC decision was fascinating to follow.
David Sayler: The conference stuff was amazing….it turned out how we all wanted it to though. I still am not sure that Montana and or Montana State will stay put in Big Sky….but who knows right now.
GoYotes: I will never play poker with you.
JimBob: Are there any new media developments in our future? That is, increased media exposure on TV, coaches shows, etc. In my dreams, I’d love to see the Summit and/or MVFC produce some BTN-like programming.
David Sayler: Learfield will be looking into coaches shows and we will be improving our web stream production…..then radio negotiations will occur for the 2012 year.
Jeremy Hoeck: David, could you see either Montana school making the jump up? Or another league?
David Sayler: At this point, if they made any move it would have to be a move up i would think, but who knows as all this expansion/move up talk has been crazy.
GoYotes: How is the new seating project coming in the Dome? Any pictures available? Any other improvments planned for the upcoming year.
David Sayler: The seat brackets are all installed and the RED looks awesome. Seats coming next week. New hoops court is done and ships here next week as well. Saw pics and I am excited about it.
Jeremy Hoeck: Did coach Boots sign off on a court much like the one at the Target Center? Kidding….
David Sayler: We kept the court simple and clean….those that like the new paw print logo will be happy with it!
Iowa Yote: What are your expectations for the radio negotations, how far would you lie it to reach
David Sayler: I expect us to reach easily into Sioux City, Sioux Falls and of course get Vermillion and Yankton covered. Then we work on Rapid, Mitchell and the like. We are the state flagship school and i want to be heard everywhere in the State.
Justin Rust: Just read the part where you said you are hoping for radio coverage in Mitchell, is there no coverage there now for football or football? Since I just moved here, I would hate to miss out on the games on the radio.
David Sayler: Mitchell should be set for this year with the current set up…..
Justin Rust: Sweet, with my work schedule, it’s hard to make every home game….unless you played a game at Joe Quintal! (No don’t do it….)
Shauna M: How are season ticket sales going for this year?
David Sayler: Our renewal rate is near 80% already, which is real strong for this time of year and new sales are up…..so are feeling good about that but will keep pushing.
GoYotes: Any plans to replace bleachers or turf in near future or will both be part of the major revovation project.
David Sayler: Turf is very much on my radar and we will hopefully address next year. Bleachers will be part of the bigger Dome renovation project.
YoteFan: Did you think you would make it more than the first 15 minutes without a question on when we will hear more about the new arena project????
David Sayler: Very surprised it took this long to come up….
GoYotes: What is the time frame for the arena project & dome renovation? When will drawings, etc. be available.
David Sayler: An RFP for architectual firms went out yesterday….we hope to one hired by September…..drawing will then take 3 to 4 months I would guess. Then I go full tilt into fundraising mode!!
GoYotes: When would you like to see arena/dome project completed.
David Sayler: All depends on fundraising….ideal word we would be in a new arena for the 2013 season, but may take longer. Typically these kinds of things take about 5 years, but I obviously hope to move faster than that.
Jeremy Hoeck: 2013-14, the year after USD is eligible for the NCAA Tournament. That’d be a nice 1-2 punch for the program.
YoteFan: When will the men’s BB schedule come out and do we have some good home games in addition to our full Summit slate?
David Sayler: Coach Boots has worked hard on it…..we have more home games due to the simple fact of more Conference home games in the Summit…..but there a few good non con home games on there….waiting for the Summit to finalize some things before any release.
Shauna M: I am excited to see how USD competes in the Summit. Not to mention, glad to see you competing against SDSU again. I missed it.
David Sayler: Our whole staff is excited about the Summit league starting up for us, and yes that includes that school up North! A real good pep in the step of our staff around here right now.
Iowa Yote: Speaking of Coach Boots, I would hate to see him go, but there is always the retirement question with someone who has been there that long. Has he brougt that up at all. I could see him coaching for another 10 years yet.
Jeremy Hoeck: Who couldn’t see Dave Boots still coaching while his bronze statue is being constructed outside the new arena? (That was me kidding, by the way)
David Sayler: Iowa Yote – You like talking about coaching futures….I am real happy with what Coach Boots has done and how he runs his program. What he has accomplished here is pretty remarkable….we have had no discussions of his future. But I would love to give him some time in a new Arena!
JimBob: Is the new logo a “for sure”? If so, is there merchandise available yet and where?
David Sayler: I believe we are shooting for a late August release date where new merchandise will be available.
GoYotes: Really like the direction the whole University is headed. Seems to be a lot of positive momentum. Have also noticed a real increase in the number of local grads (Platte) heading to SD (new logo)
David Sayler: This D1 plan that President Abbott had in mind really is to accomplish 3 things:
1. Grow enrollment
2. Alums better able to connect to the University through Athletics
3. Compete at the highest level
I think we are well on our way to making those things realities and am excited for our future.
David Sayler: This campus has really embraced what we are doing from an administration standpoint and I thank them for that. Now we just need to get the current students connected!
Justin Rust: I noticed some questions about coaches futures, my question about that…how much harder is it to deal with one-year contracts than a long-term contract? Do you think that draws less candidates at all?
David Sayler: Where it will really manifest itself is if Justin or I have to replace a Head Coach in FB, MBB or WBB. With the staffs we have in place now, they have gotten used to it so to speak.
Justin Rust: Do you see South Dakota ever changing that, the one-year contracts? Have you had any discussions with the SD Leg about it.
GoYotes: Speaking of track & field, with Bethany Buell’s and Coach Miles recent success, incoming pole vaulting class & adding Ben Jasinski as a grad assistant, the track program is really leaping forward.
David Sayler: I am so proud of our track programs….truly great kids both in the classroom and the track. I am very committed to getting them the outdoor track they deserve!
YoteFan: Will we see UND on any of the winter sports schedules this season?
David Sayler: We thought we had some agreements with UND in some sports, but for various reasons they seem to be changing. I hope to keep playing them as much as possible.
David Sayler: I just do not get that at all but have heard the same thing. We are working to remedy that problem.
GoYotes: If they don’t get their nickname situation squared away pretty soon, they will be begging for games.
David Sayler: Agree on UND…..a lot of people involved up there. Not sure what will happen next with that.
David Sayler: Scheduling is always a tough deal….but will be much easier in D1 than it was during transition that is for sure!
Jeremy Hoeck: I’m sure having 18 Summit League basketball games already scheduled makes things a lot easier than the past few years.
YoteFan: When will the tickets for Air Force and Wisconsin be available through the ticket department? (And yes, I will be at all the home games as well!)
David Sayler: Funny…..I get told a lot that people are going to Air Force or Wisonsin and my question always is…..when are you coming to Vermillion??!! Thanks for letting me know you will be. We are taking ticket orders for those 2 games right now.
GoYotes: Really looking forward to the Air Force game. It is parents weekend at the Academy so will be a lot of pregame pagentry.
IowaYote2: has there been any talk with iowa or iowa state with playing a game there instead of having to go to air force or central florida like this past year?
David Sayler: We have talked to both Iowa BCS schools and so far…no movement. Their arrangements with UNI hamper them some. I would really like to play either one of them in Hoops in Sioux City, but so far no interest.
YoteFan: Will the new Dome seating renovation also include railing down the stairs? I only ask because I sometimes see some of the more elderly fans struggle a bit getting to their seats.
David Sayler: As of present no, but we are talking to seating company and engineers about that possibility.
Shauna M: Do the new seats affect the capacity at all?
David Sayler: We actually gaines some capacity, which is a good thing!
Guest: David, any chance of the U giving baseball another shot?
David Sayler: I love college baseball from my time at Rice and Oregon State, but with the current rules in place for Title IX and the weather challenges I do not see it happening for a while.
Justin Rust: How much did the BOR waiting to approve the new bball stadium did that set you back, if at all?
David Sayler: I thank the BOR for letting us proceed and I completely understand the reasons for waiting. The State is dealing with many issues and that is totally understandable.
Shauna M: A lot of people get very confused on where the money will be coming from for those projects, so while I understand why the BOR kept putting off approval, as a fan, it was frustrating.
David Sayler: Shauna – I think making sure everyone was on the same page about the monies coming from fundraising was a big piece of the discussions and the education process.
Shauna M: Do you think maybe in the long run, the extra time will help with fundraising? Just because of the extra fanfare when the project approval to go ahead finally came?
David Sayler: The extra time will help us in that I think our ducks are really in a row now and we are more ready for this planning phase we are about to enter into.
GoYotes: The football game atmosphere, along with the pregame atmosphere is a great time. The band really gets into the game. When the student section is full, the Dome can really get going.
David Sayler: We are working on a real new cool intro that I think the fans will participate in and enjoy….stay tuned!
David Sayler: Also working on picking 1 fight song and sticking with it…..rather than having 3. Stay tuned on that also.
YoteFan: Do you see the Summit Tourney staying in SF, regardless of new SF arena or not, or do you see it moving around after a 6 year SF run?
David Sayler: I think the tourney staying in 1 place is good as it gives it some roots. I am of the belief that if you are going to start moving it around, you might as well give it to the #1 seed each year. So I am happy with Sioux Falls.
Justin Rust: SDSU and the Sports Authority host the Summit League Tourney in SF, any chance that USD hosts it someday, too.
David Sayler: I think so….with the bid being submitted prior to our official membership beginning it made sense. I look forward to being a part of that in the future.
YoteFan: I can see Omaha really putting on a push for the tourney and the eastern schools approving (less travel cost and less “home court advantage” for the Dakota schools. Don’t see UNO fanbase putting out near the support the Dakotas will, but imagine Omaha could put together an attractive package.
Shauna M: I agree Yotefan.
Jeremy Hoeck: One of the biggest benefits to having the tournament in Sioux Falls is that it’s the “main event” it becomes a huge draw. In Omaha, would the Summit Tournament be a huge hit?
David Sayler: We will see…the Sioux Falls group has nice thing going and puts together a pretty powerful package of sponsors and ticket sales numbers.
SheBee: David, during the intro when the players walk through, would it be possible to have them wear one of the jerseys so we know who thay are and not where their headphones
David Sayler: You mean when they walk through the tailgate area???
David Sayler: I will mention that suggestion to Coach and see what we can do, appreciate the thought.
SheBee: Thanks David for all you do, it is going to be a great year to be a YOTE!
David Sayler: Thx for your support and see you tailgating soon 🙂
Shauna M: Just curious, what has been your favorite moment since you came to USD?
David Sayler: My favorite moment was getting us solidified into the MVFC. The Coyotes were in demand and that is something we all should be proud of.
YoteFan: Is Coach Williams getting in some last minute replacements for Robertson and Edwards or does he already have a full roster?
David Sayler: He has a few things going on but feels real good about the players we had already signed.
David Sayler: Join the Howling Pack…spread the red!! Look out for yard signs and an offer to come paint a 6 foot SD logo on your driveway in the near future!
James Cimburek: What other promotional ideas are on the horizon?
Shauna M: Spread the red… is very catchy. I like it. (Justin quit laughing)
James Cimburek: Thanks to everyone who joined us today, and a special thanks to David Sayler for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer your questions.
Jeremy Hoeck: Absolutely, thank you for spending an hour with all of us.
Shauna M: thanks again, Mr. Sayler.
David Sayler: My best to you all…..thanks for having me….Go Yotes!
James Cimburek: We’re always looking for ideas for this chat. If you have a guest you’d like us to try to get, email us at email@example.com
James Cimburek: Thank you, and have a great rest of the week.