Q&A with University of Utah Gymnastics Coach Greg Marsden

Greg Marsden, head coach extraordinaire of Utah woman’s gymnastics team,’ visited the Pac-12 Network Studio in San Francisco Thursday alongside his fellow conference gymnastics head coaches for the second day of coaches meetings being hosted at the conferences’ new media headquarters.

Marsden is one of the most successful coaches in the history of collegiate gymnastics. He has won a record tying 10 national championships, amassed 950 victories and coached 317 All-Americans. Under the reign of Marsden, the ‘Red Rocks’ have successfully acquired more top-five (27), top-three (22) and top-two (18) NCAA gymnastics finishes than any other school.

These titles come on-top of successful advances to the NCAA Championship. The Utes have made it to the Super Six 17 times in the history of the team.

Beyond the wins, Marsden has seen the gymnastics program grow into one of the highest attended collegiate sporting events in the nation, supported by an average of 11,200 fans at home meets each season.

We caught up with Marsden to discuss the upcoming season, coaching alongside his wife Megan and his thoughts on what the Pac-12 Networks brings to University of Utah gymnastics.

Q: What are you most excited about for the 2012-2013 season of gymnastics?

Marsden: “We have such a young enthusiastic group of athletes and they really love what they are doing. They have come in everyday and worked hard. They want to be there, they want to get better, and we are going to need that. They are going to need to get better. There are some people who were role players last year that are going to have to step up and play much bigger roles this year. But I am confident that in time they are ready to do that.”

Q: Who do you view as your biggest competition this season and why?

Marsden: “Always UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon State. Those along with [us] right now are the big four. Arizona is coming fast; Washington is getting much better; ASU is working hard to get back to what they once were. Cal has two new enthusiastic coaches that I know from their recruiting that they are doing right now, they are coming back in a big way. Right now I really think we are one of the best conferences in the country and in the next few years the strength of our conference is even going to be better because I think that there are four programs that are really moving forward and getting better and better each year.

Q: What is it like working and coaching with your wife, Megan Marsden? What are the secrets to your success?

Marsden: “It’s wonderful. It’s the only thing we have ever known. We met through gymnastics, we have worked together our entire careers, and we have a great relationship in the gym and obviously out of the gym. It’s just who we are, what we do, and what we love. People are always surprised because we hardly ever talk about gymnastics at home. If you walk into our home you would not know we are gymnastics coaches. There is no memorabilia on the walls, nothing that would lead you to believe that. I think we have always done a great job of separating our lives between our professional lives and our personal lives.”

Q: What do you think of the new Pac-12 Networks Headquarters here in San Francisco?

Marsden: “I was expecting to be impressed, but I am blown away. This is an unbelievable facility and it’s even more unbelievable that it’s put together in the time frame that they have had. This is absolutely spectacular.”

Q: What does the launch of Pac-12 Networks mean to you, your team, and your university?

Marsden: “Exposure. It means exposure. We recruit from all over the country and even all over the world. It’s very important to us that we have always been able to provide the families, former coaches, and friends of our student athletes the opportunity to stay involved with their careers, even if they are all the way across the country or all the way across the world. The Pac-12 Networks is going to do that for us in spades.”

Q: What expectations and hopes do you have for the Pac-12 Networks?

Marsden: “My expectation is that it’s going to grow and become the standard, an example of what everyone else and every other conference would like to have.”

Pac-12 Baseball, Softball Lead Off First Coaches Meetings Hosted at Pac-12 Enterprises HQs in San Francisco

With the fall athletic season just getting underway, the coaches at the helm of the conferences’ baseball and softball programs gathered at the Pac-12 Studios in San Francisco for their annual meetings Wednesday afternoon.

The baseball and softball programs are the first of the conference’s sport programs to have their annual meetings hosted at Pac-12 Studios, giving them the opportunity to check out the conference’s new media headquarters in the heart of San Francisco.

Pac-12 baseball coaches take a tour of the Pac-12 Network studios.

With 80,000 square feet on two floors, the conference’s studio space offers ample meeting space, while also providing the coaching staffs the opportunity to get a first hand glimpse of the operations that will bring additional exposure to their 2013 seasons.

The day began early as both sport programs met with conference officials, including Commissioner Larry Scott to discuss a variety of topics from officiating to scheduling. With the addition of the Pac-12 Networks, the coaches were also introduced to the work of several departments and staff members at the Enterprise offices

The visit to the studios for Cal head softball coach Diane Ninemire also gave her the opportunity to check out the new workspace of former Cal All-American utility, Valerie Arioto who is an intern within the Networks’ marketing and promotions department.

“Val is just an outstanding person,” said Ninemire. “She was a great student-athlete for us here at the University of California and for her to stay in the athletic world with an internship here at Pac-12 Networks goes to show the opportunities the Networks open for Pac-12 students to further their education with valuable experience at an organization they clearly have a passion for.”

For Andy Lopez, head coach of the NCAA Champion Arizona Wildcats baseball team with longtime ties to the conference, the birth of Pac-12 Networks is dream come true.

“This is exactly what I always thought it would be,” said Lopez. “Coming here now and being able to take a tour of the facility to see what Commissioner Scott has done and all that’s going on with the Pac-12 Networks is a little bit of a hidden dream for me. Being an L.A. kid and going to UCLA, playing baseball for the Bruins – I grew up as part of the Pac, so seeing this is a thrill. This is first class. This is exactly what you’d expect a big time athletic network to be.”

With the birth of a television network also comes the responsibilities of providing on-air and online video content, which the baseball and softball coaches also experienced first hand today. Each coach taped on-air promotional spots for marketing and online interviews with the Pac-12 digital team. While their comfort level in front of the cameras may vary, each coach took their turn in stride.

“It’s been fun to watch the football coaches do it,” said Utah head baseball coach Bill Kinneberg. “I had an idea that it may be coming [for us]. I was a little bit scared about it, but it’ll be fun to see. I know my kids will get a kick out of it.”

On Thursday, the contingent of Pac-12’s women’s gymnastics coaches will be on hand for their meeting and first look at Enterprises headquarters, followed by Pac-12 wrestling coaches on Friday.

Fall schedule jam-packed

We are on the cusp of the networks launch, and once it does, the fall lineup will be crammed with terrific and diverse programming. It all starts Wednesday at 6 p.m. with “Pac-12 Live,” a one-hour program that will welcome viewers to the networks. In the weeks to come this fall, in addition to the onslaught of live broadcasts of football, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s water polo and the Pac-12 cross country championships, there will be an array of original programming produced at the networks’ studios in San Francisco.

That will begin immediately after “Pac-12 Live” on Wednesday with “Pac-12 Conference Outlook,” a 60-minute preview show of the upcoming football season. In the days that follow, there will also 30-minute specials on each of the 12 teams in the conference.

On Thursday, the networks will begin its look at the different fall sports other than football. There will be a 30-minute preview of the women’s volleyball season, followed by shows about the other fall Olympic sports over the next week.

More highlights from the fall season:

  • “Pac-12 Football Encore”: Replays of the two best football games each week.
  • “Conference of Champions”: A monthly show featuring off-the-field accomplishments by students, coaches and faculty.
  • “Pac-12 Classics”: Re-broadcasts of some of the most memorable games in conference history, augmented with updated interviews from the folks involved.
  • “Pac-12 Football Pregame Show”: One hour before the first game of the day on the networks, it’s hosted by Mike Yam and Ashley Adamson. Get used to both of these co-hosts. They will be spending a lot of time in your living room.
  • “Pac-12 Football Postgame Report”: Immediately follows the last game of the day on the networks.
  • “Pac-12 Football Rewind”: Every Sunday night at 9 p.m., the networks provide a thorough recap of the weekend’s action.
  • “Football in 60”: Throughout the week, the previous week’s games will be condensed into 60 minutes for those who missed their favorite teams and want a recap in an hour.
  • “Pac-12 Playbook”: Every Tuesday, after each of the conference’s coaches have held their weekly press conferences and dissected what happened the week before, the networks will review the action through the words of the coaches.

For even more on fall programming, click here.

Pac-12 Networks Talent Gets Officially Underway

During their last day in Los Angeles for Pac-12 Football Media Day, the newly minted Pac-12 Networks on-air football game and studio crew got the full scoop on the Pac-12 Networks from its staff and executives in a four-hour talent welcome session.

The session marked the conclusion of an exciting two days in Los Angeles for Pac-12 Football Media Day, where the new Pac-12 football on air personalities were introduced to the media. What followed was a blur of handshakes, media interviews and photo shoots to mark the official arrival of Ashley Adamson, Curtis Conway, Ryan Nece, Glenn Parker, Kevin Calabro, Adam Archuleta, Coy Wire and Yogi Roth to the Pac-12 football scene.

The group got schooled on everything from the Pac-12 Networks programming and production strategy to an update on our distribution, marketing and digital work.

Among the speakers were Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson, Pac-12 Networks Executive Vice President & General Manager Lydia Murphy-Stephans, Senior Vice President of Production and Operations Leon Schweir, Vice President of Marketing and Promotions Greg Neal, Pac-12 Digital Vice President and General Manager David Aufhauser and Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing Art Marquez. Additionally, Pac-12 Officiating Coordinator Tony Corrente also gave the group a crash course in the rules and regulations both new and old Pac-12 officials will be focused on this fall in the field of play.

Yogi Roth, Ryan Nece, Curtis Conway and Rick Neuheisel were just four of the Pac-12 analysts in Universal City for the talent welcome meeting

Pac-12 Networks, Shootin’ with the Coaches

By Greg Neal

Renaissance Hotel, 4th floor
Walnut Creek, California

With all the fuss about winning the Pac-12 Football Championship trophy, our coaches might be in line for a different type of hardware, an Academy Award.
We kicked off our inaugural creative on-air promotional campaign by shooting all 12 Pac-12 Football coaches, with a bit of a twist. It required a little acting, but that was no problem for our guys.
History Channel is no longer about History…MTV, no music…A&E, where’s the arts? Well, Pac-12 Networks will be all PAC-12 all the time.
So we did a little Hollywood spoof by making the coaches starts of TV shows you will NEVER see on our networks.
Whittlin’ with Whittingham? The only show about whittling starring Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham.
Fish n’ Chip! Oregon Coach Chip Kelley now has a fishing show?
And Mora Mora. Jim Mora and his twin brother take on the city’s dark side.
Then we follow up with a pre-empt message that takes you to a killer montage of Pac-12 action.
I’ll just tease everyone with these few and we’ll circulate them after we edit. We’ll be making up to 20 different promos.
Another day in the life of Hollywood.

Football isn’t the only thing Kyle Whittingham is good at

Chip Kelly goes fishin’

Jim Mora and his twin brother tackle crime on the streets of Los Angeles

Pac-12 Networks showcases the best in the world

As usual, the Pac-12 Conference will be well-represented at the Olympics. Dozens of the conference’s student-athletes have qualified for the London Games in recent weeks. There are many well-known Pac-12 alumni on their way across the pond, such as Washington’s Hope Solo, Cal’s Natalie Coughlin, UCLA’s Russell Westbrook, Stanford’s Kerri Walsh and USC’s Allyson Felix.

But there are also several current Pac-12 competitors competing in London, meaning viewers will get a chance to see some of the best athletes in the world on the Pac-12 Networks during the upcoming athletic school year. They include:

  • Three Arizona track athletes — Brigetta Barrettis (high jump), Georgeanne Moline (400m hurdles) and Julie Labonte (Canada — shot put)
  • Arizona soccer player Ana-Maria Montoya (Colombia)
  • Arizona swimmer Clark Burckle (200m breast)
  • Arizona State diver Riley McCormick (Canada)
  • Cal junior Caitlin Leverenz, who has qualified in two swimming events (400m IM, 200 m IM)
  • Cal rower Kara Kohler
  • Cal swimmer Rachel Bootsma (100m back)
  • Colorado’s Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp (3,000m steeple chase)
  • Stanford synchronized diver Kristian Ipsen
  • Stanford gymnast Kristina Vaculik (Canada)
  • Stanford track athletes Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) and Amaechi Morton (Nigeria)
  • UCLA soccer players Rosie White (New Zealand) and Chelsea Stewart (Canada)
  • USC’s John Mance (4×400 track relay)
  • Utah women’s basketball player Michelle Plouffe (Canada)

The Olympics begin July 27.

Bringing their hearts to San Francisco

Pac-12 Enterprises Vice President of Communications Kirk Reynolds was one of 74 employees that moved into the organization’s new home in San Francsico on Monday. He immediately began taking care of important business.

He installed his spanking new nerf hoop atop his office door.

There was a palpable excitement at 370 Third Street on Monday, as Pac-12 Networks reached another milestone with the relocation from Walnut Creek, Calif. to the new San Francisco headquarters. Employees began to make themselves comfortable in their new offices and cubicles, and later were paid a visit by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who welcomed the staff to his city.

“You’re going to have this wonderful environment that we have in the city and be part of that innovative spirit,” Lee said. “You’ll never regret this move. We’re here not only to support you; we’re here to invite you to take advantage of the entreprenurial spirit of the whole San Francisco Bay Area.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee holds up a “Pac-12 Networks” helmet, given to him by Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson to celebrate the organization’s first day in its new downtown headquarters.

Pac-12 Enterprises Gary Stevenson said Lee was instrumental in helping the staff move into the new facilities after setting an ambitious timeline for construction. MATT Construction made the headquarters move-in ready in about five months.

“When we first met, I told Mayor Lee that we are going to help create 150 jobs and we’re also not going to ask you for any money for anything. He kind of sat up in his chair,” Stevenson told the staff before introducing Lee in the lobby of the new facility. “But we did ask him for speed. We needed some help with permits. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘You got it. Whatever you need, the city of San Francisco will give it to you.'”

Pac-12 Networks staff members gather in their new lobby to listen to President Gary Stevenson and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on the first day of business at the new downtown headquarters.

The headquarters takes up two floors of office space near the corner of Harrison Street in San Francisco and includes several conference rooms, a green room for on-air talent, two studios, production rooms and more. The set for the main studio will be in place by next week.

The networks plan on beginning to rehearse different production elements in two weeks and aim to have full rehearsals by Aug. 1. The networks launch on Aug. 15.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of smiles today,” Stevenson said. “It’s a day of tremendous pride, what a team can accomplish in a short period of time. What we got done here is a real milestone. But we have to remind ourselves that we’re only on second base. We still have a ways to go.”

Some more images from another milestone day for the Pac-12 Networks:

Pac-12 Networks employees get to work on their first day at their new headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

A long row of cubicle and desks are just part of the vast office space at the new Pac-12 Networks headquarters.

The Pac-12 Networks’ new headquarters has several spacious conference rooms.

A large production room is one of the integral elements of the new Pac-12 Networks headquarters.

 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee received a “Pac-12 Networks” helmet after welcoming the staff to the city Monday.

Pac-12 Networks employees gather in the lobby of their new headquarters while waiting for a visit from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Pac-12 Networks staff pose for a picture with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Pac-12 Enterprises Vice President of Communications Kirk Reynolds christens his new office with a nerf hoop atop his door.