Welcome to the Bait Well! Our staff worked tirelessly to prepare for a busy fall and here we are, finished with another exciting college football season and in full swing with college basketball! We hope to keep you updated on the many exciting projects we have going on and hope you’ll continue to check in with us.
A Look Back at Atlanta and the 75th Anniversary of the Final Four
The men’s college basketball season is a six-month grind that culminates with the NCAA® Tournament – arguably the most exciting playoff of any sport that’s played today – and ultimately with the NCAA Final Four®. So it’s only fitting that much of the year-round work that FishBait puts into college basketball sponsorships and partnerships culminates at the Final Four as well.
This year, along with the rest of the college basketball world, the FishBait team descended on Atlanta to help put together a series of events in conjunction with many of the NCAA’s Corporate Champions and Partners as well as other organizations who wished to associate themselves with college basketball, its coaches and its fans.
Because of FishBait’s relationships with the NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), for five days, the FishBait team worked tirelessly with those organizations to facilitate hundreds of appearances by NCAA coaches at various special events, and to ensure that those events went off without a hitch.
One such event was held for Werner Co., the official ladder of the NCAA Basketball Championships, which celebrated all 24 coaches who have won NCAA Division I men’s basketball titles. Twelve of those coaches were on hand and had their picture taken with a commemorative NCAA 75th Celebration Werner ladder. Werner Co. executives and guests were also treated to a rousing speech by coach Tubby Smith during a private hospitality event. Later that week, the commemorative 75th Werner ladders were used by Louisville when the Champions cut down the nets during post-game ceremonies.
Among the many other coaches appearances that weekend, the NABC hosted the Final Four Coaches Club, which saw Butler coach Brad Stevens presented with his club jacket by Kentucky coach John Calipari; the LG Coaches’ CookoffTM, which pitted South Carolina coach Frank Martin against West Virginia coach Bob Huggins in a pizza-making showdown that was hosted by celebrity chef and Atlanta resident Richard Blais; and the Infiniti Madness After Dark event at the Atlanta Tabernacle, which featured three coaches apiece on Friday and Saturday nights – including Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin and Villanova coach Jay Wright – tend bar and serve drinks for fans to help raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer®.
Not all of FishBait’s projects involved coaches appearances. Leading up to the Final Four, FishBait, the NCAA and the NABC commissioned world-renowned sports artist Opie Otterstad to create 75 original paintings highlighting the head coaches of each of the 75 NCAA men’s national champions. The paintings were unveiled on the winning team’s campus and then sold with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the NABC Foundation. Real size replicas of each painting were hung together to create a massive mural that was hung during the Final Four in BracketTown TM refreshed by Coca-Cola ZeroTM at the Georgia World Congress Center. Select prints could also be seen throughout the week at events such as the AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show and Northwestern Mutual presenting the 2013 Coaches’ Huddle benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer.
The FishBait staff were involved in events every day from Thursday to Monday, but even after the final horn had sounded on Monday night and Louisville was crowned champion, there was still work to be done. The FishBait staff went en masse to Louisville’s team hotel, where, in front of more than 1,000 fans which waited up until after 2:00am, Coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals were officially presented with the Waterford crystal NCAA/NABC Coaches’ Trophy.
The Final Four is obviously an exciting time to be involved with college basketball, and working to put on the many events that coexist with the games themselves is an incredibly rewarding process. Most of the organizations and sponsors who were involved with the 2013 NCAA Final Four are already making plans for next year, and the FishBait staff is already looking for ways to make 2014 an even better event – and bigger, since everything is bigger in Texas!
We sincerely hope you’ll join us!!
2/14/2013 - Sarah's Memorable Trip to El Paso
The National Association of Basketball Coaches’ (NABC) Foundation, in partnership with the NCAA, is celebrating the 75th Final Four that is taking place in Atlanta this April 2013. The NABC Foundation has commissioned world renowned sport artist, Opie Otterstad, to paint an original painting for each of the 75 National Championship teams highlighting the Head Coach and on occasion, outstanding players who led their teams to victory. FishBait Marketing has been working hard on the research elements that go in to the accuracy of this project as well as acquiring the necessary consent from the coaches and players included in each piece of artwork. FishBait staff members have also been attending an unveiling event at each of the 35 schools which have won a National Championship. It is truly an amazing accomplishment for the 74 teams who have won this coveted title. There have been only 35 schools to win a National Championship and only 47 different coaches to win.
Many people may know about the 1966 Texas Western team for defeating the powerhouse of Kentucky in the 1966 National Championship game, 72 – 65. The Miners were coached by legendary Coach Don Haskins, nicknamed, “The Bear”. Coach Haskins decided to start and only play the seven African American student athletes on the Miners roster, something that was never done before in the history of the game. The team was inducted in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2007 and inspired the movie Glory Road.
Our very own, Sarah Bachand, had the opportunity to travel down to El Paso, Texas on December 17th, to host the 1966 Texas Western Championship unveiling on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso. In previous conversations with Mrs. Mary Haskins, Coach Haskins wife, Sarah was introduced to Steve Tredennick. Steve was a member of the Texas Western basketball team who graduated in 1965, one year prior to the national championship year. He handled all of the legalities that went into making Glory Road, and became involved in the 75th Celebration when he suggested that we use the whole team in the painting. He said Coach Haskins advocated for this in the movie and would have wanted the whole team represented in the painting. Steve helped Sarah in contacting all 12 players from the 1966 team and getting them to agree to be part of the artwork. Steve also coordinated a lunch for Sarah and Opie along with Mrs. Haskins and members of the 1966 Miners team.
When Sarah arrived in El Paso, Steve’s wife, Diane, and Sarah’s host for her stay, Andy Meece picked her up from the airport and gave her the two cent tour of El Paso and the boarder of Mexico! Soon after the tour, the three ladies went to Forti’s Mexican Restaurant to meet up with Steve and the rest of the crew. Joining for lunch was Opie and his wife, Buffy, and son, Tristram, Mrs. Haskins, the late Bobby Joe Hill’s wife, Tina, Togo Railey and his wife Mary, Willie Cager, and Andy’s husband Tom Meece. Everyone met and visited while sipping on Margarita’s (for those who did not have to work the rest of the day!) and began to look over the menu. Togo, Willie, Tina, and Mrs. Haskins are all local El Paso natives but greatly enjoyed having visitors and getting together with part of the team again. Instantly, Sarah felt at home and as if she was part of the Texas Western family. Mrs. Haskins talked about how honored she was that the NABC and the NCAA are still honoring her husband and the team.
After the best Mexican meal Sarah has had, she had to leave the party early to go to campus and begin to set up for the pregame reception. She had the finest help from Jeff Darby, Senior Associate AD of Communications, and Daniel Veale, Director of Marketing and Promotions to promote the event and the artwork. Opie joined Sarah at the Foster Stevens Center to get the artwork set up and ready for the members of the 1966 team to see the painting, along with Mrs. Haskins and other UTEP boosters. It was only fitting that the first member of the team to see the art was Mrs. Haskins. As she walked over to get an up close view of the masterpiece she had a big smile on her face and a tear in her eye. She said it was perfect, it looked just like her husband and exactly how she remembered the team after their victory. She took some pictures with Opie and the artwork and continued gaze at how wonderfully depicted the team was in all their glory. She said Coach would have loved the way the team looked and all the focus was not on him. Next came in the Tredennicks, Raileys, and Hills. Needless to say all of them were blown away with how great the artwork looked. Tina said every player was spot on and she could not get over how much detail was put into the painting. More and more guests came to the event and admired the artwork and visited with Mrs. Haskins and the players. As everyone ate dinner, Sarah sat down with Tina and Mary Railey who could not wait to get a copy of the painting. They both were dating Bobby Joe and Togo, respectively, during the 1966 year and later married, so both of them have been part of the ride since the final buzzer went off. They accompanied the team to the White House as well as the movie premier of Glory Road. Each of them made the comment that just when they think the accolades are finished, something like this comes up that the team is honored again. Tina said it brings them back to that day like it was just yesterday.
As everyone migrated into the Don Haskins Center for the game against UNLV, Sarah and the UTEP staff prepped the art for the halftime unveiling to the fans. At halftime the art was unveiling at center court by Opie and his son, joining them was Mrs. Haskins and her son and grandsons, Tina Hill and her daughter and grandson, Togo Railey, Willie Cager, and David Lattin. The crowd was all on their feet clapping in celebration with everyone taking pictures. The Miners fought hard to comeback in the second half of the game but fell short to UNLV by missing a game winning three pointer at the buzzer.
Tom and Andy Meece, UTEP supporters and Sarah’s hosts, invited everyone back to their house for postgame appetizers and drinks. Sarah joined the Tredennicks, Raileys, and Otterstads at the Meeces’ home to continue in hearing all the stories from Steve and Togo about the 1966 team and Coach Haskins. The next morning as everyone headed off to the airport after celebrating such a memorable event, the 1966 team was kind enough to give Sarah a signed movie poster as a thank you to her and the NABC Foundation for honoring their achievement.
This was a special event for Sarah to attend, she was welcomed from the minute she stepped of the plane in El Paso and was treated as family. It was truly special to visit with people who were so influential in the history of basketball and who had a movie made about their accomplishments!