From the ad: Together, Memphis Athletics continues to rise

tiger nation,

I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of Memphis Athletics.

I always come back to this as we wrap up a successful year and look to the next.

Together we have made significant strides that have created a surge of momentum in The Bluff City. We are about to enter an important period of change in intercollegiate athletics and this progression and momentum has positioned us well to move forward.

But we cannot rest on what we have achieved. And we won’t.

Men’s basketball returned to the NCAA tournament last year, and excitement around the program continues to grow. Football reached its eighth straight bowl game, the longest active streak in the American Athletic Conference and in the state of Tennessee, and football game days in Memphis are attracting the city’s attention. Women’s basketball quadrupled his overall wins as head coach Katrina Merriweather‘s first season and saw a 68 percent increase in home visits over the last year before the pandemic. We’ve also had NCAA postseason appearances in women’s soccer, both men’s and women’s tennis, and track and field.

You can be proud that our head coaches and staff are dedicated to developing the complete student athlete and understand the responsibility that comes with representing Memphis. Along with Coach Merriweather last year, we’ve added a highly respected baseball head coach this year Kerrick Jackson and promoted Jennifer Jordan to Head of Women’s Golf Coaching, and we can’t wait to see the impact she’s making across our department.

Outside of competition, our student-athletes have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher for 18 consecutive semesters, and we have recorded an all-time high graduation pass rate, the highest in AAC, for seven consecutive years.

We’ve also transformed the backbone of our athletic department, our administrative staff, into one as talented as anyone in our industry. We have a group of incredibly dedicated individuals from diverse backgrounds and skill sets who work every day to provide an exceptional experience for our student-athletes and fans while positioning Memphis Athletics for the future.

While the pandemic, like everyone, has brought significant difficulties and challenges, we have made progress on several facility projects and have over $30 million in facility improvements underway.

  • Renovations to the indoor soccer training field, Olympic weight room and Elma Roane Fieldhouse have been completed.
  • Construction is underway on the new Leftwich Tennis Center and FedExPark Avron Fogelman Field.
  • Thanks to Tiger Leadership Circle members, we’re adding video boards at multiple locations including baseball, softball, soccer and track, reconstructing the entrance to the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex, modernizing the Volleyball Finch Center and more

All in all, the foundation for sustainable success has been laid.

The next few years will be a dramatic time of change in intercollegiate athletics. Name, picture and likeness and the transfer portal are here. A new model for NCAA governance and the potential for further conference realignment are emerging. Intercollegiate athletics will likely look very different in the not too distant future.

But while challenges loom, there are opportunities for those willing to adapt and invest.

Ultimately, we need to focus on what we can control – the choices we make and how much we are willing to invest in ourselves. Fortunately, as outlined above, we are well positioned based on our past investments and the support of our university, community and fanbase, as well as our continued competitive success. Our foundation is in place and we have a clear vision of what needs to be done next.

  • Our #MemphisRising strategic vision provides a roadmap for our programs and administration.
  • That Tiger Park master plan for sports facilities will lead to a true “student-athlete village” on the Park Avenue campus.
  • That Remodeling of the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium will provide a world-class fan experience and demonstrate that we belong at the highest level in college football.

I often have big Tiger fans who care deeply about our success, asking me what they can do to help us keep rising.

My answer is always open and honest and I will repeat it here.

Nothing grows without investments. And we need to think bigger than ever.

We recognize that we have many needs in the current landscape of intercollegiate athletics. To put it in a nutshell, in order of priority, there are four buckets: Think of these as four areas in which we need to keep investing to help us share future successes. We had a record-breaking year of giving last year, but we can’t stop there.

  1. Buy season tickets and become a member of the Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF).. There is nothing more important than attending our events and supporting our teams. It’s easier than ever to transfer tickets to family or friends if you miss a game, and as a season ticket holder, you’ll also enjoy unique benefits. Visit www.GoTigersGo.com/tickets and www.GoTigersGo.com/TigerScholarshipFund for more information. Do you already have season tickets? Refer a friend with our new Tag A Tiger referral program! For each person referred, you will receive 1 ticket to win one of five different prizes. If your friend makes a purchase, they will receive 3 entries into the raffle and your entry will be multiplied by 5! For more information and to tag a tiger, visit www.GoTigersGo.com/TagATiger.
  1. The Tiger Leadership Circle (TLC) consists of a core group of top supporters who give their all to make a difference where it matters most to them. TLC also receives the highest level of benefits, service, insight and recognition and is able to participate in unique behind-the-scenes experiences with our trainers, staff and students. To learn more about TLC, visit www.GoTigersGo.com/TLC.
  1. Name, Picture and Likeness (NIL) offers you the opportunity to directly support our student-athletes and their efforts, and we have an industry-leading infrastructure to make this easy for you. If you would simply like to donate a set amount to benefit multiple student athletes and our community through charity efforts, you can go to 901 funds. If you’d prefer to connect directly with specific student athletes, you can go to our MaximUM Marketplace operated by Opendorse. For more information on NIL, visit www.GoTigersGo.com/NIL.
  1. Investments in the infrastructure of our sports facilities will propel us to the next level. If you are looking to make a holistic investment in the development of all of our student-athletes in education, nutrition, mental health, and career services, consider making a donation to the Student-Athlete Success Center. To enhance our football program and dramatically improve the game day experience for you and others, consider a Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium transformation gift. For more information please reply to me or contact Blair DeBord, Associate Athletic Director for Development at (901) 678-1369 or bdebord@memphis.edu.

Continued investment in these four areas will help us continue on our current course.

We’re asking about the future of Memphis Athletics.

For the future of the University of Memphis.

For the future of the city of Memphis.

And we need you to say yes.

“Yes” to the goosebumps of a sold-out crowd erupting in “did you-just-see-this” moments like the ones we’ll talk about forever.

“Yes” to more championship titles permanently housed in our facilities.

“Yes” to more student-athletes who are so excited to walk the stage and accept their degrees from the University of Memphis.

“Yes” to the community pride that one feels when one wins Memphis on national television.

Well, Tiger Nation, fortune favors the brave!

And it’s our moment.

All our.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions and Go Tigers Go!

Laird Veatch
Vice President of the University of Memphis and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

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