Update with Todd Turner

Todd Turner had just returned from a working lunch at the newly remodeled UW shell house when we reached him. He was smiling broadly.

The home of UW crew is a sight to behold, on the shores of Lake Washington, so it wasn't a stretch to say that Turner enjoyed his lunch.

"We're slowly moving (Connibear Shellhouse) to its full and effective use. The early reports on it are exceptional. It's now a true focal point for all activities that involve our student athletes in their "off of the field lives," said Turner.

"We haven't opened the dining facility yet but it's clear that it's going to be a huge asset for us. The academic center is fully functional and our academic and compliance staff has moved over there. And of course the crew has been over there for a while now, and they just absolutely love it. That was an important milestone for us to open it."

Turner's lunch was a session with a design firm, HOK. They are the company that is planning for Husky Stadium, which will be part of the entire master plan for the athletic facilities.

"It was a good lunch, right on waterfront property. I don't know of any other institution that has that," said Turner with pride.

"We had our first working session with HOK, and they met with our advisory committee. We met with the Olympic Sport coaches to get dialogue on their needs, and we sat down with the football staff to talk to them as well."

HOK has four main deliverables to the University of Washington, as Turner describes them.

"First thing on their plate is to craft a master plan for our athletic village. Second, they will include recommendations to improve and enhance Husky Stadium. Thirdly, they'll help us with immediate improvements to the Graves Athletic facility, which would help us in football, particularly recruiting.: The Graves Annex is currently where the weight room and the football offices are.

"And fourth, they are to help us visit with ticket holders and donors and corporate interests in the area to find out what they would like to see."

Turner is very excited about the goings on involving HOK. "It's about vision and it's about our future. HOK will work with us for 7-8 months and we'll meet with them regularly. At the end of that period, around the first of the year, they should be able to give us a very detailed plan about our future, what it will cost, and how to achieve it."

Washington raised their football season ticket prices after a 1-10 football season. Turner took a lot of heat for it, but was prepared for it. "We are about where we expected to be," said Turner when asked about the season ticket numbers.

"I think given the performance of the team, and the fact that we adjusted our ticket prices to increase donations, we're about where we thought we'd be. We'll now look at marketing ideas to try to make up the ground that we lost. We're running about 10% behind right now."

As Washington looks for other revenue streams, they will turn their eyes toward those that cover them in the press. "It won't have a lot of impact this year, but we're going to explore how to manage all of our media rights and properties. Things like advertising, radio, and internet. We're beginning a process to get someone to manage that for us. It might increase the bottom line over time," said Turner.

One chief responsibility of the Athletic Director is to set the football and basketball schedules for the school. Both of those are changing considerably, keeping Turner busy juggling dates and opponents.

"We're working to adjust to the new conference schedule where you play all nine members. We'll have to do a few things to get that going. It's still in the works."

In men's hoops, Washington has secured the host role for the Black Coaches Association tournament. "We'll have 12 basketball games in our building early in November, when we get the BCA tournament. We get three consecutive home games out of that," said Turner.

So about those new football uniforms…..when we put Turner on the spot to tell us all, he laughed.

"We will have the same uniforms that were ordered before we made the coaching change. I'm not going to comment on that now (laughing). But I'll tell you that there is nothing that will be astounding…..but you never know, do you?"

Two final areas of emphasis for the athletic department are currently to look for a new trainer and a new strength and conditioning head coach. Both jobs became vacant after last year.

"Steve Emtman is going to be a candidate for that (strength and conditioning) job. I'm not sure where they are on that search, Steve could probably give you a better idea on that. But he is a valuable member of our staff," said Turner.

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