Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Once An Aggie, Always An Aggie

While we get media requests from all over the country, our ears do perk up when the caller says "Hi, I'm calling from Sports Illustrated and need some assistance." That was the case about a month ago when a photo editor at the magazine asked if we had some photos for a piece they were planning on TCU head football coach Gary Patterson.

The UC Davis connection? Patterson coached the Aggie linebackers in 1986, another in the long line of football coaches during the Jim Sochor era that have gone on to build amazing resum├Ęs coaching college programs. Patterson, like the others, still holds our program in high regard. We sent SI several black-and-white photos, mostly the kind of posed team shots that parents purchase as keepsakes. 

I didn't know what kind of story SI was working on, let alone how big it would be, until I opened my Sept. 12 issue and saw an eight-page spread chronicling Patterson's career written by S.L. Price. Price is a writer for the magazine and was his roommate in Davis. There is prominent mention of the UC Davis football program, its influence on Patterson and its uniqueness during its Division II era.

And our photo? It's right there on pages 62-63. Pretty cool. We even got our obiligatory "Courtesy of Athletic Communications" in about 1-point type right there on the spine below the photo. A high-powered telescope is all I need to see it.

An interesting sidenote is the issue's cover which features Boise State. The coach of the Broncos, as Aggie fans are aware, is Chris Petersen, the quarterback on the 1986 team that also featured Patterson.

As for the story, you can read it here.


Several staff members and coaches met for lunch on Tuesday to bid a fond farewell to Byron Talley whose last day as director of the track and field and cross country programs is today. Byron and his family are moving to Dallas, Texas, and will be closer to both of their families. He's a quality coach who I've had the chance see evolve from a talented student-athlete to an assistant coach to - most recently - the programs' director. 

Byron is a pretty reserved guy but his passion for UC Davis - particularly his student-athletes - has always been evident and is what I'll miss the most. Even as he said his goodbyes yesterday it was pretty clear he's someone who will never be too far from the Aggie Athletics program. 

He was given a lot of responsibility as an assistant coach in organizing home meets and that's how he and I interacted the most. It's no easy task because mixing hundreds of student-athletes, a few dozen officials and tons of races is a recipe for disaster if it's not done right. He and I worked closely with entries and seeding in the week leading up to a meet. But I was able to hand off my share on Saturdays to the timers while Byron had to help make sure the meet was run properly and smoothly - and he succeeded.

Ask any track coach and they'll say any meet that finishes on time is a good meet, and our meets always finished on time due in large part to Byron.

Oh yeah, during meets he also had to try and coach his team, a mostly secondary role to being the meet director. But he succeeded in that area as well. He had the difficult task of filling the enormous footprint left by legendary coaches Jon and Dee Vochatzer who retired in 2010. But he did so admirably and led the Aggie teams to their best combined finish at the Big West Championships last May.

Drew Wartenburg, the head cross country coach, is the new director of track and field and cross country and will do a great job as well. And I know our meets will still finish on time.


We're barely a month into this year's Causeway Cup race but the Aggies are already off to a great start thanks to wins by women's soccer (1-0 on Aug. 21) and women's volleyball (3-2 on Sept. 13). They've given us a great 15-0 lead but more points are on the line this weekend and some of the competition takes place on campus.

UC Davis is already making noise in the race and men's soccer wants fans to make some on its behalf when it hosts Sacramento State on Friday at 4 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Field. That's right, bring your noisemakers - just not airhorns or whistles - and help the Aggies try to keep the early momentum going. 

This is the last year this will be a nonconference game, by the way. Next year, Sac State joins the Big West but only in the sport of men's soccer. 

Here's a plea from men's soccer for you to come out on Friday.

Ten more points will be up for grabs on Saturday at the Stanford Invitational as the men's and women's cross country teams from both schools square off. The teams have already met twice this year but Stanford is when teams traditionally put their best lineups, well, on the line and the local rivals have decided to designate that meet as the Causeway Cup showdown. 

Lots of points hanging in the balance this weekend and lots of Aggie student-athletes ready to put them in the bag.

- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director
  Athletics Communications

1 comment:

  1. Love the blog. Please keep updates coming.