Friday, March 18, 2011

Ask Chip - from

First, congratulations to Coach Danny Williamson and both of the indoor track teams for their second place finishes at the Southern Conference Championships. The track program continues to excel at Western Carolina University. Congrats also to Coach Larry Hunter and the men's basketball team for a great season this year, finishing as North Division champions in the Southern Conference and having a great run to end the season. Coach Hunter has also built a solid program over the last few years. While we will certainly miss the talents of the seniors, the depth and the youth of this year's the team this year will provide a great deal of experience to the younger players coming in next season. And speaking of basketball, let's get right to the questions:

JW asked why Western did not get to participate in the end-of-the-year tournaments like other schools such as Davidson and Furman.

The number of postseason tournaments has increased over the past few years, with the addition of the College Basketball Invitational and the College Insider Tournament. Both the NCAA and NIT tournaments are events that fully cover the cost of expenses for all the participants. Other tournaments work with the teams on a guarantee basis to provide revenue to pay for such expenses as travel for the teams that go on the road, officials and tournament expenses. We made the departmental decision not to incur financial obligations in order to participate in postseason play.

JB asked if the end zones are always going to be plain purple.

The original plans called for the end zones to have the logo and Western Carolina included in the design. However, that design did not look as good in reality as it did on paper and we made the decision at installation to leave them purple only. Since that time we have been able to identify specialty paints that will allow us to paint the end zones without damage to the surface, which we plan to do in the coming season.

FL asked about picking up baseball game "broadcasts" online.

We have streamed some of our baseball contests already this season. The links to the broadcast are on our webpage, www.catamount The audio link is monitored during the broadcast to assure it is operational. If you have additional problems, please contact the sports information office.

JK asked why we don't do more for player introductions prior to basketball games.

The reason is that the lighting system in the Ramsey Center will not accommodate changing the lighting and spotlights as many arenas do. The good news is that those lights are scheduled to be replaced this spring and we should have a state-of-the-art system which will allow for some impressive introductions next season.

TP asked about kickoff times for football games.

Now that our football schedule is finally settled, we are putting together kickoff times for the 20011 season. We have had requests from some folks to have kickoffs later in the evening to allow them to drive from further distances and tailgate prior to the game. We also have had requests from other folks for kick-offs be earlier in the day in order to allow them to drive home before it's too late at night. Right now, we are looking at six o'clock kickoffs for early-season games to avoid the heat of the day, and later afternoon - maybe three o'clock - kickoffs for the remaining games. However, those times are tentative. You will be able to find the final dates and times at the website within a few days.

GL, AJ, AW, and Cat Fan all asked about any upcoming changes to the football stadium and press box.

We try every year to make some changes to the appearance of Whitmire Stadium and Bob Water's Field. Obviously, the video board was our improvement for the previous season. The press box would be a major undertaking and is on our list of facility improvements but with no timetable to begin that work. The chain-link fence has been a topic of conversation for several years and we are looking at ways to make for a friendlier "feel" until more substantial changes can be made.

Once again thanks to everyone who submitted questions. We appreciate the interest that is shown in the various aspects of the athletic department. Please continue to send in your questions, and GO CATAMOUNTS.