Thursday, December 4, 2008

Post ODU Game

Sorry to report that I am shutting down this blog for a while, maybe for good. I have been somewhat sporadic about posting...and I now know the reason why.

These posts come from me as the University of Richmond athletic director. Therefore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to write about my honest and unfettered opinions...and that's the key to having an interesting blog...being able to post opinions, even if occassionally controversal.

I will use last night's mbb against ODU as an example:

As athletic director, I have to say..."we made a great comeback and fell just short of a good win."

The "honest blogger" would say...[a] we stunk in the first half (except for Gonzo); [b] played great in the second half; and [c] the game was stolen from us at the end.

However, I can't say those things, so "honest blogging" is difficult.

I will continue to look for ways to communicate effectively with our fans...let me know if you have suggestions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

MBB Television

Hope you have had the opportunity to check out of Spider Men's Basketball Broadcast & Ticket Info post on our web site. You can find it right next to my smiling face on the front page of our athletic web site

I am very pleased to report that we will have 13 mbb games televised this year. Six of these games will be national cable broadcasts [3 ESPN and 3 CBS College Sports] and seven will be regional cable broadcasts [5 MASN and 2 Comcast]. Nine of these televised games will be away games.

You can also check out our mbb games via 950AM, WOLF 93.1FM, and internet audio and streaming video at

Friday, October 31, 2008

Men's Basketball Promotions

With basketball season fast approaching, I thought you might want to know a few our new ticket prices and game day enhancements...

> We will have $5 Tickets for every men’s home game...yes they are in the end zone...but they are still good seats...and how can you beat $5!!!

> Mini-Packs- We have two great mini-packs available...Premium seats for only $50 for three games [VCU mini-pack has VCU, St. Joe's & Xavier; the Wake Forest mini-pack features Wake, St; Joe's and Xavier]

> Dollar Night – Tickets, hot dogs, and 16 oz. sodas for the opening home game on November 15 vs. Randolph Macon are only $1 each. Season tickets holders get in free!!

> Ukrop’s 2 for 1 Nights: At the Rice and George Washington games, get two for one tickets in the premium and priority sections by showing your Ukrop’s UVC or First Market Bank Marketshare card

> Times Dispatch Family Four Pack: At the St. Bonaventure and Duquesne games receive four tickets, four sodas and four hotdogs for only $40!

> Quality Half-time entertainment – through-out the year, we will be featuring scheduled acts including Canines in Flight, Bucket Boys, Sem-cycle and Red Panda. Also back this year by popular demand will be the Zooperstars!

> Family Zone – this year on the concourse families can enjoy a kids zone. This area will feature a basketball goal to practice your shot and several interactive signs to see how you measure up to your favorite Spider player.

> Quality On-Court Promotions – new promotional games for Spider fans to participate in during the time-outs and half-time, including sumo suits, human hamster balls and much more! Also new this year is our on-court emcee to liven up our on-court promotions!

> We will have a new "on-the-floor" section for students

> The new "microphone-man" from football will become the "megaphone man" for our men's basketball games

> Professional Mascot – Enjoy great new material by Spidey this year as we have a professional mascot joining our students to perform as Spidey!

We will also continue many of the new items seen in the Robins Center last year including our award winning pep band, player entrance tunnel, inflatable mascots, tee-shirt guns and the Preyground Zone for the UR students.

If you want to learn more about these promotions and get regular updates– check out this link:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Basketball Video

2 big basketball events this week...

FIRST>> Mark Kwolek, Assistant Director of Athletic Public Relations, has produced a great men's basketball video that you can watch on your computer. Check it out on our athletic website....Great work, Mark.

SECOND>> Saturday night at 9, you can participate in Spider Mayhem at the Weinstein gym. See the team workout, enjoy a few contests, and maybe win some prizes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Football Scheduling Questions

During the last week or so, I have received a few questions regarding football scheduling. Let me take a few minutes to review how football scheduling works for us and address a couple of the issues that have been raised.

1. Conference Games- The conference office schedules all of our conference football games. All 12 of the schools provide the conference office with their (a) Homecoming date [everybody wants a home game]; (b) Family Weekend date [everybody wants a home game]; (c) Fall Break date [nobody wants a home game]; and (d) previously scheduled non-conference games [can't play a conference game on those dates]. The conference office has the difficult task of trying to make 12 schools happy...and to make matters worse, the 36 Homecoming, Family Weekend, and Fall Break dates [12 schools with 3 issues each] are usually bunched into about a one-month period of time.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that sometimes there are problems that can't we worked out. But yes, the conference's goal is for each of the 12 schools to have home games on Homecoming and Family Weekend days and no game of Fall Break.

There is an additional issue that sometimes comes into play. In some situations, the conference schedule is being projected out further than an institution has set its dates for HC, FW and/or FB.

2. Non-Conference Games- We schedule our non-conference games. David Walsh, our Deputy AD, works with the head football coach to develop that schedule. We are currently playing a FBS [1-A] game each year on the road. We have been fortunate to be able to play quality institutions like Virginia, Duke and Vanderbilt. With the two or three remaining FCS [1-AA] games we schedule, our objective is to achieve a balance between competitive games and games that we should win. The A10 is too tough a conference to load up our non-conference schedule with too many ranked FCS opponents.

We also try to achieve a balance between home and away games [i.e., 5 or 6 home games and 5 or 6 away games in years we play 11; and 6-6 on years we play 12]. This year, circumstances caused us to have to play 2 FCS [1-AA] games on the road...the good news is that we won both of them [at Elon and at VMI]. With the availability of our on-campus stadium beginning with the 2010 season, we will be able to consider purchasing "home only" games because with increased ticket sales, we will be able justify the expense of paying certain teams to come to Richmond, without a return game.

I hope this adequately addresses a few of the issues regarding football scheduling.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The way the fb team played at UMass is the perfect example of the strong character and resiliency of these student-athletes and coaches. Coming off such a heart-breaking game against JMU and then putting in a performance like we saw have to be proud of them.

Today i will be heading over to campus to watch our field hockey [noon], women's soccer [noon] and men's soccer [2:30]. Hope many of you will join me...

And this Saturday morning at 10 we will have a little "construction kickoff" event to keep our stadium momentum going...drop by if you can.

NOTE>> I have been asked by a few people about a some football scheduling issues [i.e., number of home games, fall break]. I will make a blog entry this week about this issue...

Monday, October 13, 2008

JMU Game #2

Another question I heard was about stadium size...What are we going to do about big games like this [i.e., 16,000+ in attendance] when we move to a 9,000 seat stadium?

However, I think the critical question [and the one that was asked several years ago] is this...Does the University of Richmond want to play its home games on campus? The answer then...and the answer now, is a resounding YES.

Once it was decided that we want to play our football games on campus, we had to decide what type of stadium would fit...not only what would fit in the space we have on campus, but what would fit when you look at all the issues...parking, traffic, etc.

We worked with consultants to design a stadium that addressed our critical issues. And, even with the decision to build an 8,700 seat stadium, it took several years to get the necessary approvals.

Here is the bottom line...we need to focus on the positives. We have a great football team, who in 2010 will be playing in probably the best quality FCS stadium in the country...located on our beautiful campus.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

JMU Game

WOW...what a tough loss...great atmosphere, great effort, but didn't close the deal...

Thought I would answer a quick question I heard several times yesterday and today.

JMU would not have been forced to take the ball on their 40-yard line if we had kicked the ball out-of-bounds on the kickoff after our final TD. As you may re-call, the same thing happened to App St during our semi-final game. They had an unsportsmanlike penalty following a TD and kicked off from the 15. They kicked it out-0f-bounds twice. We kept accepting the 5-yard penalty rather than taking the ball on the 40 and Appy ended up kicking off from their 5-yard line.

More to come about the game...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I hope you are as pumped about this Saturday as I am. It looks like we may be in the 15,000 range. Shame on you if you don't get out to UR Stadium to experience a great afternoon of Spider football.

As you probably know, we are opening the gates an hour early to help spread out the traffic. Come early to get a parking spot.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Looking Forward

Man, it was a long drive home Saturday night from Philly. The Villanova game was further reinforcement that we play in a tough fb league and when you don't play well, you are going to get beat...something even Southern Cal experienced this past weekend.

So, its on to VMI...hope many of you are planning on making the trip. Its only a couple hours down the road. And speaking of VMI...continue to keep Jim Reid and his family in your thoughts as he recovers from his by-pass surgery.

You might want to check out our women's soccer team. They are off to a great start and, if they continue to play well, should be legitimate challengers for a conference championship.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Although it's great to have a football team voted #1 in the country after 4 weeks of play, that's not really the important thing...

You probably think I am going to say that what's more important is where we finish...that's too obvious.

When I think about our football program, I believe the really important thing is how far we have come in just a few short years. Coming off a "final four" season and currently ranked #1, everyone agrees that we are one of the best FCS football teams in the country.

Just think, a few years ago we were struggling to have a winning season...

And now...thanks primarily to the support of our Spider fans and the University, we have...

1. attracted two great head football coaches [Dave Clawson and Mike London];

2. increased the assistants' salary pool to permit these head coaches to put together top-flight staffs;

3. funded a full allotment of football scholarships, which enables these coaches to recruit high quality student-athletes;

4. funded and obtained governmental approval to build an on-campus stadium;

5. constructed a new football locker room;

6. enhanced the weight rooms;

7. installed FieldTurf on the football practice facility;

8. hired an academic coordinator who focuses on football student-athletes;

9. increased team travel and recruiting budgets...

The list could go on...but these are some of the things that have helped create a winning attitude on and off the field...

THANK YOU to all the Spider fans who have made gifts to the Spider Club, who have contributed to building the new stadium, who have purchased football season have helped make this happen!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Few Follow-Up Comments

I am pleased with the responses regarding the NCAA issue. Almost everyone I talk with recognizes the importance of adhering to NCAA rules and compliments the way the University responded.

And I am glad that our Fact Sheet has been so well-received. We wanted to make sure that anyone who was interested, could see exactly what happened. We have had over 2,000 hits.

The tough question has been...When you discovered some coaches were violating the text message rule, why didn't you just tell them to stop...why did you report this to the NCAA??

Unfortunately, those are the rules. I would much prefer a system that says exactly that...police yourselves and deal with it on campus. However, that is not the system we live in...the rules specifically state that we must report any NCAA violations of this magnitude.

However, the system is a little screwy. If the NCAA system governed how we deal with traffic issues, you would be required to call the police and tell them..."I want to report that I drove 35 in a 30 zone on my way home, please send me a ticket." ...and, if they thought you didn't call them soon enough, they just might give you another ticket...and...nothing happens to all those people who passed you going 5o and did not report themselves!!

Enough of that, let's start moving forward...

we have sanctioned those who are responsible for the violations...

we are dealing with this matter in an open and honest manner...

we are focusing on the future...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I am sure that you have had the opportunity to review the Fact Sheet that we posted a little more than 24 hours ago. Obviously, we are disappointed that these violations occured...and those who violated the rules were signficantly sanctioned.

However, the other story is that the University has dealt, and will continue to deal, with this issue in an open and straight-forward manner.

I am glad to report that all of the emails and telephone calls to me have been complimentary of the way the University has dealt with this situation. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts regarding this matter.

Monday, September 8, 2008

This & That

1. The first Sportsline show at Outback was a big hit. We had a great crowd and Outback did a wonderful job of getting everyone fed quickly. You may want to join us tomorrow [Tuesday]...and bring a friend or a business guest...

2. The score Saturday [16-0] did not reflect the type of game it was. We were behind by 3 with about 7 minutes to play. If we had made a couple early field goals and the TD was not taken away, the result may have been different...HOWEVER>>> that is not what happened....and i am very proud of the effort and am very optimistic about the rest of the season.

3. I was with President Ayers for much of the game Saturday. It was impressive to see how many UVa fans approached him and wished him and the Spiders well. After the game, Coach Groh made a special effort to track Ed down on the field and tell him what a great decision Richmond made when we hired Mike London.

4. In spite of the really bad weather conditions in the Richmond area, we had a really nice contingent of Spider fans at the game Saturday. That makes 2 weeks in a row the Spider faithful have followed the Elon and then to UVa. I know we will have a great crowd this Saturday for our home opener against the only A10 team to beat us last year.

5. The fall season is in full swing. Visit our website [], check out the schedule of contests for each week and come see the Spiders play...its not just all about football...we have some really wonderful student-athletes competing in a total of 19 sports...check them out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lunch at Outback

Tomorrow [Tuesday, September 2], be sure to join Coach London and me for lunch and the Spider Sportsline from noon-1pm at the Outback Steakhouse at 7917 W. Broad St. Coach London and Bob Black will be live on ESPN Radio 950 and

Increased Coverage

Recently I was asked the following question:


The concept of adding a string of radio stations that broadcast games is really a thing of the past. Trying to coordinate scores of radio stations around the state, securing local advertising, clearing time for the games, etc...just does not work and is not an efficient use of resources and time. That format still exists, and perhaps is useful, for major public institutions.

However, the modern trend, which we try to maximize, is for games to be available to our fans and alumni via the internet with both audio and streaming video access. Anyone in the world with a computer can listen to all our football, men's basketball, and women's basketball...and can usually watch the games via streaming video. We also use streaming video to broadcast many of our Olympic sport contests as well.

First FB Game

What a great way to start the "London Era".

We had a couple of buses filled with Spider Club members that added to the 2,000 Spider fans at Elon...second largest crowd ever at their stadium...a little over 10,000. Those who missed the game, should check out the gallery of game shots and video of some of the pre-game festivities hosted by the Spider Club and the Alumni Association.

This was a really big win. Elon was picked by the Southern Conference media and coaches to be the conference's second best team...behind Appy State. We have a long season ahead of us, but as they say..."You don't have to recover from a good start."

I wonder whether we will move up in the national poll? A couple of the teams ahead of us lost, but they were against BCS opponents [Appy at LSU and JMU at Duke]

Congrats also to the women's soccer team...3-0 to start the year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of Classes

Today is the first day of class…I’m expecting to see many wide-eyed freshman roaming the halls of the Robins Center looking for classrooms.

On another note, last night was a great night for Spider Athletics…our annual Student-Athlete Welcome Picnic was packed and a lot of fun. To kick-off the festivities, President Ayers gave the women’s soccer a pep talk and then led the team through a tunnel of cheering student-athletes into First Market Stadium.

Obviously, this motivated the team…
Women’s Spider Soccer Dominated JMU! We had a great crowd of students at the game…everyone seemed to be having a great time. I hope to see this support continue and build throughout this year.

See you all at the first Football game at Elon this Saturday!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Return from Spain

Jim and and the rest of the Men's basketball staff and team return from Spain this evening. Please join us in wishing them safe travels.

Check out some pictures from the trip on!

-The Athletic Department staff

Monday, August 18, 2008

Greetings from Spain

Here are some of my thoughts from the Spain trip so far:

Its hot, especially with limited air conditioning...

We have some really good guys on this team...

The Spanish really love pork...

Sitges is a great beach town...

Interesting to start dinner at 10 pm...

Nightlife along las ramblas is unique, jugglers, mimes, and assorted con men...

Visited Montsarett this morning!

On another note, the football team plays Elon on August 30...and that will be here before we know it!


New site

I hope you have all had the chance to check out our newly-designed website… Don’t forget to check out the video portion of the site, which includes a welcome message from Dr. Ayers. It’s great to have such strong support from our President.

Hopefully, you had the chance to watch
former Spider Tim Hightower get his first NFL action last night…and watch him score a touchdown! It was certainly a good night for Tim and hopefully the first of many more.

After a week of business on the road, I am ready to travel to Spain with Men's Basketball this Sunday (that is, if I catch my connecting flight…). I’ll post while in Spain…

(original post from August 8th)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the Jim-nasium. My blog is up and running again after taking some time off this summer. Check back in for regular Sunday evening posts over the coming months. Also, check back on August 7th and visit out our new website! Our staff has been working hard to update the site and have added some great new features! The web address will be the same, but the look will be very different!

If you have not already heard, the On-Campus Stadium project was approved by the city! A big THANK YOU to all who helped make this dream a reality!
Spider Football will be HOME in 2010!

This is a great step for the University of Richmond. I foresee many fun tailgates, enhanced school spirit, and a great place for Spider Football, Track and Field, Lacrosse, and Soccer to dominate!

In other news, next week I am flying off to
with the Men’s Basketball team!! The team will be touring, practicing and playing games during this 12 day trip. My family will be travelling with me…so it looks like I will be relying on my daughter’s ability to speak Spanish to get me by. This is going to be a great experience for the Spiders, and we are really looking forward to an exciting trip. With the help of our athletic public relations staff on the trip, and my brilliant assistant (I had to say something really nice, because she is not making the trip) I hope to post some pictures of the trip while we are away.

I want you all to feel free to contact me with your thoughts at Please note that some feedback I receive may be posted (anonymously) in a later blog entry for all to see.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Future Blogging??

Due to unforseen circumstances, my blogging hit a serious roadblock during the basketball season...

The men's team certainly made great strides in getting back to a position to compete for conference championships and NCAA tournament play. We were 5th in the country in RPI improvement...doubling our overall win total and earning a 4th seed in the tough Atlantic 10.

I am shutting down the blog for the summer and need your advice. Do you think I should continue the blog next season...starting back up in August for the fall season? If so, let me know...and let me know what type of information you would like to see and hear about...

Contact me at to give me your thoughts.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Little Surprised

I have been told that there has been "message board" criticism of my post calling for Spiders fans to band together to support our new football coach. I am somewhat surprised that anyone would criticize a call for all Spiders to support our coach and football program...we do need more support... we do need more people buying tickets...we do need more fans coming to UR Stadium..we do need more people buying Spider Seats in the new stadium...we do need all Spider fans saying great things about our coach, team, and university.

However, if a call for all of us to join together and support the new coach and team creates any negativity, I had better remove the post.



Hope to see all of you at the Dayton game Saturday night...a bunch of good things happening...

1. Playing a nationally-ranked team at home

2. Honoring our new Hall of Fame inductees, including mbb star Curtis Blair

3. Recognizing the football team at half-time

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Hope you were able to read john's article about the A10 in the T-D this morning. Several teams in the league are really having a great year...4 are currently ranked in the top 20 RPI teams in the country...far more than any other conference.

You should also note that A10 teams have 9 wins over top 50 teams and have beaten traditional powers such as Syracuse [twice], Louisville, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Cincinnati, Virginia, Boston College, and Wake Forest.

And what a great day Thursday was...

1. big announcement that the Robins Foundation made a $5 million gift to the stadium...that puts us at about $25 million and concludes our active stadium fund raising....AND

2. big crowd in Robins Center for a win against about our freshmen!!! They are blending in very well with our sophomores, juniors and seniors and really contributing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all the jim-nasium fans. I hope to see you in the Robins Center on the 30th when the Spiders take on the Keydets.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Nice to see the Spiders whoop the alma mater tonight....

Good win guys!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Not quite finished with the non-conference portion of the schedule, but thought you might like to see this...

Number of RPI TOP 20 teams in each conference:

4- Atlantic10

3- ACC

2- Big 12, Big East, SEC & Southland

1- Big 10, Conf USA, Pac10, Sunbelt, West Coast

0- America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid American, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Sunbelt, SWAC & WAC

I am sure things will change, but a good start to the season for the A10.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Attendance Report

Take a minute and read this comment that one of my loyal blog-readers sent in...

Just curious about our attendance in the first round. I know there were far more than 3200 people there. We all know the numbers are under-reported, but I was a little surprised to hear you say it here as if you really believe there were only 3200 in attendance. So what is the deal with those numbers? How accurate or inaccurate are they? And do we under-report just because of the new stadium coming or what?

I continue to hear this comment and there is just no factual basis for the assertion that we are under-reporting attendance at UR Stadium. The problem is that for years the estimates were so high, the real numbers are difficult to believe.

Here are the facts [again]...

During the regular season, we report the number of tickets that are out. So, if a ticket was bought at full-price, a discount price, or even given away, it is counted...even if the person who had the ticket didn't show attendance reported is the maximum possible and the attendance will be lower.

During the playoffs, there are no complimentary tickets [the university purchases the complimentary tickets given to the students]. There is an actual count of tickets purchased, and an accounting filed with the the count is a real number.

This issue is silly enough that I am working on a new promotion for next year...Since so many people think they know what the attendance is and would rather make it up than believe the real number, we are going to have a contest during each game. The lucky winner gets a t-shirt that says..."I picked the attendance at the xxxxx game". He or she will get to come out onto the field, make up whatever they think the attendance is, and we will announce that as the official attendance...Sounds like a plan!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Back From Boone

Back from the mountains of Boone, NC with a few thoughts>>>

1. What a GREAT, GREAT year! Always tough to end on a loss, but President Ayers said it best in the locker room..."We are proud of you!"

2. The Spider football student-athletes, coaches, and support staff accomplishments were something special. EVERYONE who followed the success of the team this year has to be impressed and excited about what is to come!!

3. We played 3 playoff games in 3 very different settings. Our game at App. State was played in front of over 24,000, an FCS [1-AA] record for a non-championship game. Also at Wofford, in front of a 7,000+ in an 8,500 seat stadium there was an exciting atmosphere. Unfortunately, we had only 3,200+ paying customers at UR Stadium for the first round playoff game. I am confident that the new on-campus stadium will change that...but until that venue is ready for play, we need more people buying tickets to come see the Spiders play!! They are certainly deserving of your support and worth changing your schedule to come see play.

Speaking of the new stadium, the process is progressing as expected, with serious discussions on-going with city officials as a part of the approval requirements. There is every reason to expect formal hearings to begin in a few months as planned.

4. Rumors continue to circulate about Coach Clawson and other jobs. The good news is that our coach is attractive to other universities. The bad news is...well, let's not go there.

Rest assured, I understand Coach Clawson's value to the football program and our student-athletes. I am committed to establishing an atmosphere, a relationship, and a compensation package that clearly sends that message to Coach Clawson.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Well...the team is scheduled to take off in a few minutes [8 am]...Hope this charter is a little more timely than our trip to Vanderbilt...and the result of the game is different at well.

In talking with Coach Clawson, it sounds like Wofford is going to be a tough opponent...very sound...very talented group of upperclassmen. Of course, once you are in the quarterfinals of any tournament the competition is going to serious.

Hope to see a lot of you at the pre-game tailgate at the Marriott that starts at 4. If you decide to stay home rather than make the 5.5 hour drive from Richmond [boo!!], be sure to watch the game on TV.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thought you might want to see my recent response to a comment...

It will be interesting to hear Friday night who is selected to host the semi-finals.

However, my bet is that if Eastern Washington wins, they will host since they would have already played games in Louisiana and North Carolina. I think the NCAA committee would not have them play 3 straight away games and travel across country again to either South Carolina or Virginia.

And, if Appy State wins, I think the NCAA Committee may have them hosting because they will be able to put 20,000+ in the stands. Unfortunately, the FCS playoffs are structured so that $$ talks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And Away We Go

I have received a number of questions about why we are playing at Wofford this Saturday rather than hosting the game at UR Stadium.

Since I served on the FCS [then 1-AA] selection committee for 4 years, and know a couple members of the current committee very well, I can shed a little light on the situation.

Some of the more significant factors that go into selecting the host site are:

a. did the school submit a bid to host the event?
b. is the facility appropriate [i.e., quality of field, stadium, lights]?
c. what is the comparitive strength of the teams?
d. what is the projected revenue?
e. are there significant student-athlete welfare issues [i.e., travel]?

Regarding the site of the Wofford game...I am quite certain that all the issues except "e" were pretty even. The Spiders are ranked higher than Wofford, but both of us are champions of good conferences; the facilties are both appropriate; both teams submitted qualifying bids; projected revenues are probably about the same. However, we are on the short end of the stick when you look at the "student-athlete welfare" issue.

The Spiders hosted a first round game and Wofford had to travel to Montana. I would imagine that is what tipped the scale and caused the committee to select Wofford as the host for this week's game.

And keep this in mind...the Spiders have done pretty well on the road....just ask the Dukes and the Blue Hens.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sorry that its been so long since I have added something to the Jim-nasium...

What a great fb season!!! 9-2 and hosting a first round playoff game Saturday night. And its also nice to be hosting my good friend Mark Sandy. Mark is the AD at Eastern Kentucky and was my second hire here at Richmond. David Walsh, who is now our Deputy AD came with me from NC State and Mark followed shortly thereafter...he was at Miami of Ohio.

Mark and I first met at a basketball camp at Wake Forest University when he was an assistant basketball coach for the Demon Deacons. Soon thereafter, we worked together as assistant basketball coaches at VMI. We remained close friends and it was great that he was a Spider for a few years working on the fund raising side of things.

It will be a great Saturday evening [as long we pummel the Colonels].

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Be sure to check our web page []. There is new information about parking at UR Stadium. At the request of the neighbors, the City of Richmond has placed "resident parking only" signs in the neighborhood around the stadium.

The good news is that there is plenty of parking at the stadium.

See you Saturday afternoon!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Moliva or Noliva Deja Vu

Sorry to report that Gaston has recently had more surgery...this time on his "good foot". It was a pre-emptive strike. From what I understand, there was a "weak spot" in the identical area that he had a problem with last year with his other foot. Hopefully this surgery will correct the problem and he will be back at full speed before the first game.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

West Coast Alumni Swing

Just got back this evening from a trip to visit with alumni in San Francisco and Seattle.

It was great to see the enthusiasm of alum's who are 3,000 miles away and don't get to see the Spiders up close.

Most of the questions focused on our new President and the on-campus stadium. I was glad to be able to report to them that both were moving forward very well.

On a personal note...I had never been to either one of these cities. What GREAT cities! If you have not visited them, you need to.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Where's Jeff & Elise?

I know many jim-nasium readers are Spider Club members and might be interested in how Jeff & Elise Myers are doing.

They live in Chicago and Jeff is working in financial management and Elise is a fund raising consultant. I recently heard from Elise and they are both doing very well...enjoying life in the big city.

For those of you who know Jeff, it will not surprise you to hear that he is living and dying with the Cubbies...I don't know if he will be able to handle it if they make the playoffs. Let's hope its a Tigers [Sean Casey] vs. Cubs World Series.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Imelda Crone

One of the things you learn when you are you spend 7 hours in an airport lobby with the football team is that John Crone owns 175 pairs of athletic shoes.

Friday, August 31, 2007


The team's flight was orignally scheduled to leave at noon...

then 1...

then 2...

then 3:30...

the 5:30...

now is scheduled for 6:30

Oh, the glamor of charter travel....


Heading to Nashville in a few minutes. Should be a good trip. It sounds as if the team is ready for this major test. Vanderbilt is developing into a very strong team and I expect that they will be among the top half of teams in the SEC this year...have to wait and see if that prediction holds true.

No TV for this game, but be sure to catch all the action with Bob, Jasmonn and Matt on ESPN950 or WOLF93.1FM or on your computer.

Sunday I will give you a summary of my observations...including a few words from the locker room after the game.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This is the first week of classes and things are really getting cranked up. All week Celia and I are hosting teams at the house for Moe's. Tonight, women's soccer and men's basketball stopped by. Last night, we fed women's swimming, women's tennis, and women's basketball. Women's tennis really has an international flair this year, with team members from Mexico, Equador, Hungary, Canada, and Germany.

Today was also the opening All Staff meeting, which featured President Ayers. He spent about 45 minutes exchanging ideas with the athletic department staff. He focused on the question..."What would you like University of Richmond athletics to be known for?". It was a great opportunty for coaches, administrators, and staff to share their thoughts with the new president.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Last night we had our annual Head Coaches' dinner to kick off the year. The last two years we were at Fleming's...this year we tried out the new downtown spot The Black Finn.

It was a very nice event with spouses and a great way to say thank you are the coaches' commitment to the success of our student-athletes and get motivated for the coming year.

Field hockey starts it all off this Saturday morning. Hope to see some of you out at Crenshaw Field for the 11:00 am game.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


If you have not seen the pictures of our new golf practice facility, you should visit our web site and take a look. It is quite a nice addition. We have had great support from many alumni and friends, including PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, a Richmond grad.

But that is not the REAL NEWS!!!! --- Deputy AD Dave Walsh had his first hole-in-one this past weekend at Independence Golf Club. I am sure he was glad that it came on a Sunday rather than on a work day when he would have had to lie about where he was...

Monday, August 20, 2007

MBB Turny Field Set

As has been previously announced, mbb is playing in the Coaches vs. Cancer event November 5 & 6. I am able to report tonight that the Spiders will be playing in Memphis and the three other teams will be Memphis, Maine, and Tennessee-Martin. Memphis could be ranked #1 in the country...should be an interesting event. Our opponent for the first night has not been determined...but expect us to be playing Memphis Tuesday night if we win our first game on Monday.

The Jim-nasium gets a Plug

Oh...what great publicity the jim-nasium received in the Richmond Times Dispatch on Sunday morning. I will do my best to keep semi-regular updates going thru the school year.

One thing I should tell you is that working with President Ayers has been great. I am a member of his "cabinet" that meets weekly and it is quite apparent that he is dedicated to making an impact on the lives of University of Richmond students and the community.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's Soccer Time....

MEN...The men’s soccer team starts practice tomorrow, looking for their fifth Atlantic 10 Tournament berth in the last seven years. Pretty good year last year...the Spiders lost just one conference game. The team returns all but one starter, including the 2006 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, goalkeeper Eric Sciocchetti. You may want to make it out to the Spiders home opener on Aug. 30...we host Villanova at First Market Stadium. We then head to nationally ranked Virginia on Sept. 2. Good luck to Coach Gettler and the guys as they start their quest for an Atlantic 10 Championship.

WOMEN...The women’s soccer squad gets started early tomorrow morning. They had a tough time last season, but will be more experienced than they have been in the past few years [10 starters returning]. Coach Albright believes the freshmen class will add some size and athleticism.

Good luck to the Spiders as they challenge for the A-10 championship and keep checking [Notes from the Touchline] for practice updates and pictures.


If you haven't been out to football practice you are missing some great action. For the first time in many years, we have several good-sized wide receivers who really look like great athletes.

We should be in a good position to run Coach's pass-oriented offense. Another reason we are looking so good offensively is the solid line play and a couple very seasoned and very effective running backs. We should score some points!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It is HOT!!!!!

The fb team practiced at 6:45 this morning to try to beat the heat. It may look glamorous on gameday, playing in front of thousands... but it's all work this time of year!!

Hope you have bought your season tickets... our team is going to be fun to watch.

On another topic...Women's basketball just released its non-conference schedule. It looks pretty tough, with games against Georgia, Nortre Dame, Virginia, Maryland. Be sure to check it out on our webpage...

Monday, August 6, 2007


Had dinner with the football team last night...a nice BBQ. All members of the team with a 3.0 gpa or higher had ribs, china, silverware, etc. Very nice event to kick-off the season.

Saw a number of the freshmen. Looks like we continue to bring in some good size, and what Coach Clawson tells me, good speed as well.

Practice starts in a few minutes. I am headed out there right now.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Start Up for 2007-08

With the football team getting cranked up tomorrow, its time to kick-off the 2007-08 edition of the Jim-Nasium.

Look for regular entries starting tomorrow. If you get Spider Sports Update daily, you will be notified when I make a new entry. If you do not get the Spider Sports Update, email Bob Black at and he will add you to the list.

Friday, May 18, 2007


It's been a while since my last update...sorry about that...

Thought you might like to know about a few issues we have been dealing with this Spring...

1. On-Campus Stadium...The good news is that the Board of Trustees has given the go-ahead to do everything necessary to get the project before the Planning Commission and the City Council. That is a very important step forward. As soon as "final drawings" are completed in a few months, we will be able to start the formal governmental approval process. As you probably have heard, that process could take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Now the not-so-good news...To build the quality of stadium we want, it looks like its going to be more like $25 million rather than $20 million. We will continue to raise funds for the stadium, but this will not slow up the approval process!!

2. Baseball Stadium Enhancements...We continue to solicit funds for improvements to Pitt Field. There is no firm timetable at this time. The on-campus stadium is our #1 priority, but we will continue to solicit funds from those individuals who want to focus on Spider baseball. Good luck to the Spiders in the A10 tournament later this month. And thank you Ronnie for a great career at Richmond.

3. Transfers...We have had a few transfers from our men's and women's basketball teams. This is not something we take lightly. Student retention at Richmond is a high priority. However, it seems to be a national trend for basketball student-athletes to be very quick to make a decision to transfer...whether it's playing time, academics, friendships, closer to family...or whatever, it seems to be a "cost of doing business" these days. And, for those of you who have been around for a few years, you know that we have often benefitted from transfers to the Spiders in the past.

4. A10 Championships...The Spiders won 4 conference championships this year [field hockey, swimming, lacrosse, and women's tennis]. Congratulations to those student-athletes and coaches. I think that makes 31 conference championships in the last 7 years.

5. Men's Basketball Scheduling...Man, it's tougher than ever to put together a great men's basketball schedule. Everybody only wants to play teams they can beat...of course, that makes for some tough scheduling scenarios. We will once again have a representative schedule...scheduling some games that we expect to favored and some that will be a challenge. Although the schedule has not been finalized and formally released, you may like to know that we are playing in an early season tournament at Memphis; hosting Virginia Tech, South Florida, Old Dominion, VMI, and Maryland-Baltimore County; and playing at East Carolina and Marist. There are several other games that have not been finalized that will be added to the schedule. Sorry that I cannot give you the dates of the "finalized games", because some of those dates have not yet been set.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Thought you might like to know what the general A10 basketball scheduling guidelines are:

PURPOSE: Encourage member schools to schedule in such a way as to maximize the opportunity to place multiple teams in the NCAA tournament. Specifically, teams who have realistic at-large expectations should play a schedule that will enhance their RPI to make them attractive as at-large selections. Teams who do not have realistic at-large expectations should schedule to win as many games as possible so as not to be enhance the conference's RPI.

Here is what we are doing...

1. The coaches and athletic directors reach a concensus as to which category each team belongs.

2. For non-conference games, teams with high expectations should not be playing opponents higher than 200 on the RPI. Remember two years ago when GW won a bunch of games, but received an 8 seed because of their non-conference schedule. This rule addresses that issue. Teams with lower expectations should schedule in a manner to maximize wins.

3. For conference games, teams will play everyone once and then play 3 additional games against teams similarly situated.

4. We are not supposed to be "bought"...that is, schedule away games for payment. You lose most of these games!

5. Of course, the commissioner can make exceptions for special circumstances.

Does item 3 mean we are no longer guaranteed to play our two geographic partners, eg GW & Charlotte? [question from reader]

Yes....that's what it does mean. We are tentatively scheduled to play Charlotte, Duquesne, and LaSalle twice next year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

We will host two opportunities for the community to hear a description of the current stadium Concept Study and provide input prior to the formal design of the stadium. These community sessions are scheduled for 7 pm at the Jepson Alumni Center on April 4 and April 10. If you are interested in attending, please go to and register. I look forward to seeing many of you at these events.

Monday, March 12, 2007


First, let me congratulate the Virginia schools playing in the NCAA mbb tournament. It's great to have 4 state schools playing.

Here are my quick thoughts about those teams who are either complaining that they ARE NOT in the turny or team who ARE IN the turny and people don't think they should be...Seems like there are 11 schools that fall into these categories...maybe more...

One way of evaluating the teams is to look at how they performed against other teams who are actually in the tournament...

Teams IN, but some wonder why...
Most of the teams selected did fairly well against other teams in the tournament:

Xavier 5-1
Ga. Tech 6-7
Stanford 6-7
Texas Tech 4-5
ODU 2-3
Purdue 5-7
Arkansas 4-6

Teams that are OUT and wonder why....
Syracuse 5-5
Kansas St. 3-6
Drexel 2-5
West Va 2-7

Looks like the team that really has a valid concern is Syracuse.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Basketball Scheduling

I have received a few questions about our basketball scheduling philosophy and the A10 scheduling rules/ guidelines. There will be some decisions made at the athletic directors' meeting at the A10 tournament in March. So...the best thing is probably to wait until after that meeting and I will try to answer scheduling questions and post information from the meeting after the tournament. Thanks for your interest.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Recently I heard a comment that the Spiders don't play enough of the other men's basketball teams in the state. Criticism, when based on reality rather than perception, is often helpful. But in this case, the facts just don't support the criticism.

Here is a list of the Division 1 men's basketball programs in the state of Virginia and the number of other Division 1 in-state Universities they play this year...

1. Richmond- 7 [VT, ODU, VCU, W&M, VMI, Rad, Long]
1. VCU- 7 [Richmond, Long, HU, JMU, W&M, ODU, GMU]
3. ODU- 6 [Richmond, VT, GMU, VCU, W&M, VCU]
3. W&M- 6 [Richmond, Hampton, GMU, VCU, ODU, JMU]
3. Hampton- 6 [VCU, GMU, Norf St., UVa, W&M, Long]
3. GMU- 6 [Hampton, Radford, W&M, VCU, ODU, JMU]
7. JMU- 5 [VMI, ODU, VCU, GMU, W&M]
8. VMI- 4 [Richmond, JMU, Radford, Liberty]
8. Radford- 4 [Richmond, GMU, Liberty, VMI]
10. Liberty- 3 [Richmond, Radford, VMI]
10. UVa- 3 [VT, Hampton, Longwood]
10. VT- 3 [Richmond, UVa, ODU]
13. Norfolk St- 2 [Longwood, Hampton]

As you can school in the state played more in-state opponents than the Spiders!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Man It Was Cold

You may not recognize our women's lacrosse players in this picture, but this is the team preparing for their snorkeling adventure during their recent trip to Australia. You can read about their trip on the team's site on our webpage [].

As you may know, our nationally ranked lacrosse team opened their season this afternoon at Longwood. Celia and I made the trip to Farmville and I have two thoughts...

1. Our team is pretty good!!

2. It was COLD!!!!! The high temperature was in the 30's and the wind chill had to be in the teens...great for sitting by the fire at home, but a little chilly to be outside watching a game. was a great opener to the should get out and watch the team play. Women's lacrosse is much like basketball in its schemes and strategies. We have been in the NCAA turny the last 2 years and should be back again this year

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Baseball Season Starts Tomorrow

Spider baseball starts tomorrow at The Citadel Shootout in Charleston, SC. Head coach Ron Atkins, retiring after this season – his 23rd – was inducted into our Hall of Fame this winter. He’s the school’s all-time winningest coach. Associate Head Coach Mark McQueen will take over as head coach next season. Mark returns as pitching coach this year, a role he had with Coach Atkins from 1989-2000.

The Spiders play The Citadel Bulldogs Friday at 4 p.m. with junior righthander Alex Hale on the mound. He’s a converted catcher who’s become the number one starter.

If the season opener isn’t enough to get your attention, then Saturday’s game against South Carolina will be. The Gamecocks are 3-0 and ranked number one in the nation. Ray Tanner, the South Carolina head coach, is a good friend from my NC State days. AFTER Saturday, I hope he wins a bunch of games this year and we get to play him again in the College World Series. The tournament concludes Sunday when the Spiders play Liberty.

From what I’m hearing, look for talented freshman lefty pitcher Matt Zielinski to make an immediate impact. He’ll probably see the mound at some point this weekend, and might be the starter for the Spiders home opener next Wed. Feb 21 against VMI at Pitt Field.

Offensively, look for big things from junior first baseman Joe Mahoney and seniors Matt McKenna, Andrew Justice and Vince Riggi.

I know baseball fans are getting excited because spring training camps are opening for pitchers and catchers. But for our Spider baseball team, it starts for real this weekend.

Friday, February 2, 2007


I hope you have had a chance to see the 2007 football schedule that was recently posted on our main web site [].

As is usually the case, there are a couple of interesting aspects to the schedule that raise questions. I thought I would address some of the more obvious ones:

2/5 UPDATE: Spiderfan asked about the rumors that Vanderbilt was going to play Michigan instead of the Spiders on 9/1. I received a call from Vandy administrators last week assuring me that the rumors were not accurate and that the Commodores will be honoring the contract and play the Spiders, not Michigan.

1. Division 1-A [Bowl Subdivision] game- We are scheduled to play one 1-A game each year thru 2011. We like playing these games for three reasons: a. $$, we do receive a payment that is important to our athletic department revenue; b. our football student-athletes enjoy the challenge; c. it provides an important level of exposure for our fb program. You may be interested to know we have elected to compete against schools that we consider appropriate opponents, like Duke, Virginia and Vanderbilt.

2. Early Away Games- Yes, 4 of our first 5 games are on the road is not the best, but that is the way the schedule fell this year. Obviously, the Vanderbilt game is on the road. We are playing a Patriot League team during the next few years...we played Bucknell at home last year and we are returning the game this year.

3. VMI- We would like to play VMI every year. It is a great, traditional rivalry... especially due to VMI's high concentration of alumni in the Richmond area. We have a contract with VMI thru 2012, but VMI asked not to play us in '07 and '10. If it was up to me, the Richmond-VMI game would be played every year.

If you have additional questions or comments about our 2007 football schedule or other matters, be sure to click on the comments link and let me hear from you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Spider Legend Retires

Just got home from the Ronnie Atkins retirement dinner. What a great night. A sellout crowd of more than 200 was on hand to wish Ronnie well as he begins his final year as the head Spider baseball coach.

We heard some great "Ronnie stories" from many of his former players, including Sean Casey. And Ronnie closed out the night with a new Ronnie-ism that I am sure will be re-told in future years...

"I want to thank all of my former players who helped make my time at Richmond so speical. I will remember each of you...I might forget your name, but i will remember you."

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have recently received a few suggestions/questions regarding starting a men's lacrosse team.

The primary argument to start a varsity men's lacrosse team is that it would be a good fit at the University of Richmond. The northeast is a lacrosse hotbed and is where the University recruits a high percentage of the student body. A perfect example is our women's lacrosse team...22 of the 24 members of the team are from the northeast. The admissions office tells me that they believe having a men's lacrosse program would be beneficial in the recruitment of academically strong male students to this campus.

Now, as they say, here is the rest of the story...Usually, when an organization is thinking about "doing more", finances are an issue. That is certainly the case with the prospect of adding a men's lacrosse team. Here are a couple significant financial issues:

1. We are currently one of the very few football playing Division I institutions that is in full compliance with the provisions of Title IX. For us to add men's lacrosse and remain in compliance with Title IX, we would need to either cut a men's sport that had about 30 student-athletes or add about 30 spots for female student-athletes to offset the additional number of males playing lacrosse. Obviously, this can't be done by just adding more student-athletes to each of the women's teams. We would need to add at least one other women's sport. Adding at least two sports would significantly impact the athletic operating budget [i.e., salaries, travel, equipment]

2. Scholarships are also an issue. If we started out with a non-scholarship men's lacrosse team our competitiveness would be questionable. I think very quickly the supporters of the men's lacrosse program would want to add athletic scholarships and be more competitive. To comply with Title IX, we would need to add additional athletic scholarships for our female student-athletes to balance this increase in scholarships for the male student-athletes. At $43,000+ for each scholarship, this becomes very pricey.

At the University of Richmond, the athletic department is expected to operate with a balanced budget. The department does receive an annual subsidy from the University to help us accomplish this. But, we have to work very hard to balance our budget every year. Clearly, there are no athletic funds available to support adding new sports. Adding a men's lacrosse team could only happen if the athletic department dramatically cut the funding of other sports or the University determined that adding a men's lacrosse program was important enough to increase the athletic subsidy.

With all that said, you should know that we regularly review the sports that we field and will continue to review the pro's and cons of adding sports such as men's lacrosse

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whit Hummel

Sadly, I report that Elizabeth “Whit” Hummel died last night. She had been seriously injured in a fall and died of the complications involved. She was 85 years old.

Together with her daughter Lynne Hummel Kelley (Class of 77) and her granddaughter Elizabeth Kelley, she attended virtually all men’s and women’s basketball games and football games.

No details on funeral arrangements yet.