Tucson is home to a great number of sporting events. Baseball is probably one of the biggest since Tucson is home of the Triple AAA Sidewinders, farm team for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Also in Spring Training, a couple Major League teams take advantage of Tucson’s clear sky’s, cool temps, and all around good weather. Tucson also hosts a major Golf tournament each year, which attracts thousands to the “Old Pueblo” annually.
Baseball in Tucson!
Baseball is very popular in Tucson. Some would argue it is more popular than football with the new expansion team Diamondbacks bring the Major Leagues to Arizona. In Tucson, during Spring Training, The Arizona Diamondbacks play in Tucson Electric Park. TEP is a state of the art Minor League ballparks, and is considered to be in the top 5 of ALL Minor League / Spring Training parks in all of the USA. Tickets are reasonable here, and you get a good view of the Catalina Mountains in almost every seat.
Also at TEP, the Chicago White Soxs share here with the Diamondbacks in March. With two Major League teams in one ballpark, you can easily see why you can never go wrong at TEP. The Colorado Rockies also call Tucson home during the Spring Training. They play at the Hi-Corbitt Facility and play games against the other teams in Tucson frequently. Arizona Hosts 8 Major League Teams, 3 in Tucson, and 5 in the Phoenix area. Those other five teams include, the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants.
Football in Tucson!
Tucson is home to very own, Arizona Wildcats. NCAA Football at its best. Known for their “Bear Down” attitude, and the “Desert Swarm” Defense, the UofA Wildcats are contenders in the Pac-10 year in and year out. This year the wildcats have some great talent, that will certainly find a nice home in the 2003 NFL draft. QB Jason Johnson is one of the best Quarterbacks Arizona has seen in its program. Match that with 1st round potential pick WR Bobby Wade, and you can see why Arizona is a winning Team. Clarence Farmer, an early Heisman hopeful, is one of the best running back on the west coast. He has been plagued with Injuries this year, but will no doubt command a decent salary in the NFL with that talent.
The Wildcats play at the “Arizona Stadium”. Located on campus, it can hold a sell out crowd of 56,000+. Considered one of the finest playing facilities in the country, Arizona Stadium stands as a testament to the history and continuing tradition of Arizona football. The playing surface itself has been lauded for many years by Wildcats and foes alike. The turf is a Bermuda Tiff transplanted from Tucson National Golf Club when cart paths were added in the mid-1970s, and it was rated as one of the two best turfs in America by a Sports Illustrated survey in 1986. It promises to live up to that reputation for years to come with the addition of an irrigation system prior to the 2001 season that will keep the turf green from August to December.
Jason Johnson quarterback – Sr. 6-2, 215 Enters the 2002 as the Wildcats’ No. 1 quarterback. Johnson started all 11 games last year and was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 player. He threw for 2,347 yards and 19 touchdowns last season as a junior. His 169 completions rank fourth on the UA all-time list and his 19 touchdowns in 2001 was the second best mark in a single season for a UA quarterback.
Clarence Farmer halfback – Jr. 6-1, 219 The fiery tailback is being considered a Heisman candidate by some experts entering the 2002 season. In Farmer’s sophomore season he led the Pac-10 in rushing yards with 1,229, the fourth best in school history, and was named the team’s MVP and Most Valuable Offensive Player. Farmer was named to the Playboy pre-season All-America team in the offseason. The Houston native had 10 touchdowns and averaged 111.7 yards per game in 2001.
Bobby Wade wide receiver – Sr. 5-11, 195 Wade enters his senior season as one of the most prolific pass catchers in UA history. The three-year starter will be quarterback Jason Johnson’s go-to-guy in the air in 2002. He and Johnson connected eight times in 2001 for touchdowns. He finished second in the Pac-10 in receptions in 2001 with 62. He had his best game in the final game of 2001 against ASU where he caught a career high 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Lance Briggs middle linebacker Sr. 6-2, 243 Briggs is one of the top players in the Pac-10 if not the country. He is on the 2002 Lombardi Award preseason list. In just two seasons as a linebacker he already has made 206 tackles and led the Wildcats both seasons. He was named to the All-Pac-10 team the last two years. Briggs finished second in the Pac-10 in tackles in 2001. The former fullback made the switch to linebacker in 2001 and the move has definitely paid off. He hails from Sacramento, Calif., where he attended Elk Grove High School.
Basketball in Tucson!
After months of speculation, the UA basketball team is ranked No. 1 in college basketball in the USA TODAY/ESPN preseason coaches poll released in November. “I don’t pay a lot of attention to (rankings), but we’re not going to deflect that either,” head coach Lute Olson said. “The reason the guys are here is because of the program, because they want to chance to win, and they want to play in big games.”
It’s the second time in three seasons and third time in six years the Wildcats have entered the season as the top team. USA today has a flash intro to the 2002-2003 team that is expected to go all the way.
The Wildcats play ball in the Mckale Memorial Center. The opening of McKale Memorial Center in February of 1973 marked a new era in Wildcat basketball. After playing several games in front of crowds of a few thousand in Bear Down Gym to open the 1972-73 season, the team moved to McKale and literally filled the upscale arena overnight with crowds over 11,000 from the beginning. Now it can hold over 15,000!
Named after the late J.F. “Pop” McKale, athletic director and coach from 1914 to 1957, the facility is just part of a series of showcase athletic facilities located on the extreme eastern edge of campus. It is situated off the UA mall, adjacent to Arizona Stadium, baseball’s Sancet Field and the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. McKale houses the offices for the entire athletic department and is currently undergoing a renovation that will add a state-of-the-art weight room and Hall of Champions to the north end of the building.
Following the Arizona State game on February 26, 2000, the University of Arizona athletic department honored head coach Lute Olson with a ceremony to name the McKale Center floor, “Lute Olson Court”. Then, during a memorial service in January of 2001 for Olson’s late wife, Bobbi, it was renamed, “Lute and Bobbi Olson Court” in recognition of the couple’s impact on the university and the city of Tucson. Olson has led seven teams to undefeated seasons at home, and Arizona has led the Pac-10 in attendance every year since 1984-85. That tradition keeps growing as Arizona teams continue to win games in front of sell-out crowds. UA has won 240 of its last 261 home games, including 200 of the last 213.
Hockey in Tucson!
“Icecats Open 24th Season With a Sweep”
The Arizona Icecats opened their 24th season of intercollegiate hockey October 25th-26th against ASU with a sweep. Winning the Friday night contest 10-2 on junior Andrew Fredricks 4 goal Texas Hat-Trick and goals from fellow team mates; Freshman Mike Pelletier, Sophomore Mickey Meehan, Juniors Matt Naylor and Keith Mitchell and Seniors BillPardue and Dave Loftus. The shots on goal were indicative of the final score, Icecats 35 and ASU 25. Head coach Leo Golembiewski said of sophomore goalie Bryan Aronchick, “He is the greatest goalie this program has ever had. He is more aware of where the puck is at any time during a game than any other Icecat goalie.” On Saturday night the Icecats and Sun devils played a more even game with the Icecats winning by a score of 5-4. The Icecat highlight was the hat trick by Sophomore Don Holtz. Freshman Matt Muller scored his first goal as an Icecat just 16 seconds into the second period. Sophomore Shaun Brooks scored his first goal of the season with just 30 seconds into the first period. The Icecats will have an eighteen game home schedule, which includes; Weber State, Utah State, DePaul University, Saint Louis University, Colorado State, Northland College (NCAA D-III), Robert Morris College (Il.), and the Sun devils 4 more times. All
Icecat home games will be played at the Tucson Convention Center with the puck dropping at 7:30 pm.
The 2002-2003 honorary team captain comedian Don Rickles, will appear on the David Letterman Show this Friday November 1st on CBS channel 13 KOLD TV.
“The Leo Golembiewski Icecat Coach’s Show” will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1490 the Fan from the Viscount Suite Hotel 4855 E Broadway all fans are invited.
The Icecats will again broadcast all home games on ESPN Radio 1490 the Fan, with John Dadante and Brian Baltosiewich at the microphones.
Golf in Tucson!
The PGA Tour event, sponsored by Touchstone Energy since 1999, will be played Feb. 24-March 2 at Omni Tucson National in 2003. The purse for 2003 will remain at $3 million. Since 1945, the Tucson Open has been one of the premier stroke play tournaments in America. Though it has undergone many facelifts through the years, one thing remains constant. It continues to attract the top names competing in the game. From early champions like Jimmy Demaret, through the champions of the 60s and 70s like Lee Trevino and Johnny Miller, to current stars like Lee Janzen and David Duvall, the tournament–now known as the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open–has been the site of many exciting finishes.
In fact, Tucson National which occupies 650 acres of lush Sonoran Desert in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, northwest of Tucson has been the proving ground for one of golf’s greatest lefties of all time. Phil Mickelson took home his first title at the Tucson Open in 1991 as an amateur, beating the field with an impressive 16 under par. A title and the trophy were all Mickleson brought home that year since amateurs can’t receive prize money. Since he turned pro however, he has come back to win more prize money at the Tucson Open than anyone else.
This last year a final-round 64 earned Canadian Ian Leggatt his first tour victory. After finishing no better than a tie for fifth in his PGA tour career, the 36 year-old Leggatt has become the third straight first-time winner at the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open. And the $540,000 first prize is more than his combined earnings since he joined the tour in 1990.