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From Jim's Desk...

UTA AD Jim Baker.
 
UTA AD Jim Baker.
 

Dec. 3, 2012

Just when we thought we were through with this conference realignment business, it rears its head again. We should have known better. As many of you've heard, the latest round of collegiate musical chairs started with the Big Ten and ACC and continued through the Big East and Conference USA has hit home in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Sun Belt, which UT Arlington is joining for the 2013-14 season, is losing two of its 12 members. As much as we don't want to see those two schools go, we understand a university's right to affiliate itself with the conference of its choosing.

UT Arlington, of course, has gone from the Southland to the WAC in the last year before our impending move into the Sun Belt. We're extremely fortunate to be joining the Sun Belt and believe it's the place for UT Arlington for many years to come. We also have the utmost confidence in Commissioner Karl Benson, and his ability to promote growth and promote stability in the Sun Belt.

On to matters on campus: How great was Homecoming? On behalf of everyone in the Athletic Department and across our University, I'd like to personally thank the record 6,421 fans in attendance Nov. 16 at College Park Center for our men's basketball game against Oklahoma and women's game against Oral Roberts.

That's the largest crowd in history of UT Arlington basketball, and it's a testament to the wonderful and engaged fan base that's growing with every game. The Mavericks can't be successful without your help so keep coming out. We have several games at College Park Center over the holidays. Check back with us soon at UTAMavs.com for more details.

Across campus, our indoor hitting facilities for softball and baseball are quickly taking shape. Both buildings are scheduled to open on time in January. The two hitting facilities will aid our softball and baseball programs in player development and recruiting, and demonstrate our continued commitment to winning championships. Click here to see the progress for softball and baseball, and read what Coach Kristie Fox and Coach Darin Thomas have to say about their new digs.

Congratulations to our upcoming Hall of Honor class consisting of Pete Carlon, Clay Gould, Mishael Berger, and the 1990 and 1992 UT Arlington baseball teams. The induction ceremony is taking place Jan. 18, 2013 at the Hilton Arlington. More information on each of the recipients will be up soon on UTAMavs.com, but I would like to take some space here to express my sincere gratitude to Pete Carlon for his tireless efforts over the years to UT Arlington Athletics. Pete was inducted into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor earlier this year. Well deserved, Pete.

I'm also excited to welcome Nelligan Sports Marketing to campus. Nelligan will be partnering with the Athletic Department to help promote and coordinate corporate sponsorship programs. Nelligan has been the premier sports marketing company in the industry since 1999, and currently partners with over 30 universities and athletic properties on a national basis. Nelligan General Manager Ragan Rector has taken residence in College Park Center and will work directly with our Athletic Department on a day-to-day basis. Please direct any inquiries or partnership proposals to him at rrector@nelligansports.com.

As many of you have gotten to know me, you've probably realized how crucial our fundraising and marketing efforts are to the growth and success of UT Arlington Athletics. We're looking forward to a long and rewarding partnership with Nelligan.

As last but certainly not least, congratulations to UT Arlington baseball product Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series. Pence played a valuable role as the emotional leader of the World Champs and the UT Arlington family couldn't be prouder of Hunter.

Until next time, Buck 'Em Mavericks,

Jim

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