Troy Jones was a whirlwind of motion on Saturday.
As the tournament director for the 2008 South Central Regional Championship hosted by top-seeded Tarleton State University, Jones was seen one moment carrying a sign to be posted on a locker room door, and the next he was positioned in the southeast corner of the court making sure everything around him was in compliance with NCAA championship standards.
“I think everything has gone according to plan so far,” Jones said. “We haven’t had any major issues, and everyone from the student-athletes to the fans seems to be enjoying their experience here.”
From setting up the admission lines and adding NCAA decals to the court, to staffing the scorers’ table and regulating cheerleaders, bands and photographers, Jones and his tournament crew have covered every necessary detail.
“Being prepared for game-time took a great deal of effort from a great many people,” said Jones, who serves Tarleton as assistant to the athletics director for internal and external operations. “We have students who could be out of town for Spring Break, but instead they are here. The same goes for the staff members who could be taking off on vacation with their families. They have all made a big sacrifice by committing four days to making this tournament the best it can possibly be, and I think the product is something all of us can be proud of.”
Susan Burton serves Tarleton as associate athletics director and is working as director of tickets, marketing and promotions for the tournament.
“On our end, I think everything went exceptionally well today,” Burton said on Saturday. “The ladies who help me with tickets and admissions are the same who help year-round with all of our events. I can’t say enough good things about them. They have great personalities, and always welcome people to our gym in a first-class manner. They do everything they can to avoid confrontations with fans who are annoyed because of the different admission rules (in the NCAA Tournament). That’s so important because we don’t want problems when they first walk in. We’re trying to give everyone a great first impression.”
Tarleton sports information director Joey Roberts is acting as media director for the tournament, overseeing the distribution of stats, programs, game notes and more. Roberts also worked with Jones to provide a work room for members of the media, and an interview room for post game press conferences.
“Hosting the NCAA Regional is an honor,” Roberts said. “We want to provide the championship experience to not only the student-athletes, but to the fans and the media as well. Achieving this goal involves the Tarleton Sports Information Department and several volunteers. Our No. 1 goal is to exceed the expectations and standards of excellence that have been set time and again here at Tarleton State University.”
Northwest Missouri State, winner of the second quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon, is in its third Stephenville regional, and Bearcats coach Steve Tappmeyer was complimentary of the job done by the host institution of providing his team with an excellent experience so far.
“This is our third time to be here in Stephenville for the regional, and they do a great job everytime,” said Tappmeyer. “They’ve had a lot of experience hosting it, and I’m sure that helps.”
Lone Star Conference commissioner Stan Wagnon, who is acting as the NCAA Official for the tournament, echoed Tappmeyer’s praise of Tarleton’s efforts.
“It’s no surprise to me that Tarleton has done a great job hosting it,” said Wagnon. “Tarleton certainly has a leg up having hosted it twice before, and also from making to the regionals at other locations several times. That has given the people here a chance to learn from the mistakes made at other sites, and to implement the good ideas they’ve seen others do. To Tarleton’s credit, and to (Lonn) Reisman’s credit, the same people have been here the last several years, so they have a lot of experience doing this.”
Once the first two quarterfinals were complete, Jones took a moment to reflect on the countless hours of preparation that went into making the game-time management go smoothly.
“Looking back on how we envisioned this thing being run, I think we’ve met and exceeded what we were going for, which is a first-class event that provides the student-athletes, fans, media, staff members and everyone a great experience,” Jones said. “I think as everyone leaves here, they will do so with a positive perspective of both Tarleton and the City of Stephenville.”