Scott Leykam Interview

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Scott Leykam Interview

Post by PilotNut on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:23 pm

Nothing too groundbreaking here, other than a reference that the Oregon State games are home and home. †Also, the new Rec Center will have a designated practice court for volleyball and hoops (I don't think I knew that). †I think his outreach comments are good, and quite frankly it is disappointing if the previous approach, as noted, was accurate. †

Oregonian Link

Pilots AD Scott Leykam: Our outreach within Portland has to be better

Nick Daschel, Special to The Oregonian on July 02, 2013 at 6:04 PM, updated July 02, 2013 at 6:23 PM

The ever-growing Oregon sports landscape has myriad options, including Trail Blazers, professional soccer, perennial top 25 football programs at Oregon and Oregon State and the longest-running LPGA tournament.

Itís the job of University of Portland athletic director Scott Leykam to make sure Pilotsí sports have a prominent plate on the table of local sports.

Since the Pilots hired Leykam as their AD 14 months ago, heís been working to expand the schoolís athletic sphere within Portland. Leykam hired Peregrine Sports, the entity operating the Timbers and Thorns, to help market Pilot athletic programs, particularly soccer and menís basketball. The school has had marketing people attend several local youth soccer tournament and camps to drum up interest in the Pilots.

During a six-week season and group ticket campaign for soccer, Leykam said UP has already exceeded 2012 sales for the 2013 season.

For menís basketball, the Pilots recently agreed to a home-and-home deal with Oregon State. Leykam said heís working with Portland State athletic director Torre Chisholm to cross-market the Vikings and Pilotsí programs.

ďWhat weíve been doing before is, who bought tickets? Letís try to call them again. Instead of, who is a soccer fan in the area or a basketball fan? Letís activate those areas,Ē Leykam said.

ďOur outreach within the city has to be better. Where weíre located in the city is not always an easy drive for folks. I think weíve done a much better job in getting the message out.Ē

Leykam recently answered some questions regarding Pilot athletics. Answers were shortened for brevity and clarity.

Q: What is the long-term plan to help make UP athletics relevant in this market?

SK: We have comprehensive marketing plans for our soccer and basketball seasons, which is something we havenít had before. Our partnership with Peregrine will go a long way in helping that. And like I said, a lot of what we do is getting outside our small community and getting out into the city a little more.

Q: Gonzaga has become a menís basketball powerhouse. Why not UP?

SK: That is a question Iíve heard a lot in my first year. What we need to focus on is being the University of Portland. For us, itís looking at how do we play to our academics, how do we play up our facility, this great city, and (coach) ability to develop players. You can take a little bit of what works from other programs, but at the end of the day, weíre different institutions with different strengths and different challenges, and we have to play to our strengths.

Q: What is your opinion on the progress of menís basketball?

SK: Youíre on TV 15 or 20 times a season, so thereís great potential. Eric has done some very good things here. He and I meet daily to see how we can get back to where we want to be. One thing thatís big in menís basketball now is foreign tours. For the first time, we fundraised and weíre going to Spain for two weeks in August to get us a couple additional weeks of practice.

Another piece weíve identified is how weíre set up for transfers. The transfer list in menís Division I basketball is an expansive one. Looking at high school kids and thatís your only pool for recruiting? Those days are over. There are JC transfers, and four-year transfers; the list in the hundreds now. Itís important that youíre set up to get a transfer from another school who can succeed at your school academically.

Q: Whatís something surprising that a booster or alum has told you during the past year?

SK: The most surprising thing I hear is relation to soccer, that weíve led the country in attendance for several years now, and that it will always be there. You can never count on a fan base to always be there. You have to work hard on retention and fulfillment, and make sure fans have a great experience.

Q: Why doesnít UP menís soccer have the following of the women?

SK: Thatís something weíre drilling down on. Womenís soccer has really hit it big across the country. From our perspective, we market the men as hard as we do the womenís side. As a league, womenís soccer, we have four or five teams reach the NCAA, the men usually one. Weíre in a little bit of a rut there.

Q: Are you OK that your menís basketball coach is occasionally outspoken about NCAA issues on social media?

SK: I donít have a problem with that. Eric has done a nice job for his personal brand and the universityís brand on social media.

Q: Whatís on tap for capital improvement projects?

SK: The big capital improvement on our plate is a recreation and wellness center. It has a big athletic component for us: a court designated for a basketball and volleyball practice facility. One of our biggest challenges that puts us at a little bit of a competitive disadvantage is we donít always have a floor to practice on.

Weíre looking at soccer short and long term. We have the river property (below the existing campus) that weíd like to put some fields on and expand our soccer complex. Merlo Field is a premier facility, we but we need to get better in what we do with seating and hospitality. The baseball field is in need of significant renovations. Weíve raised over a half million to go from a grass to turf field.

--Nick Daschel

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Re: Scott Leykam Interview

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:30 pm

"Another piece weíve identified is how weíre set up for transfers. The transfer list in menís Division I basketball is an expansive one. Looking at high school kids and thatís your only pool for recruiting? Those days are over. There are JC transfers, and four-year transfers; the list in the hundreds now. Itís important that youíre set up to get a transfer from another school who can succeed at your school academically."

Maybe that fourth scholarship will indeed remain open just in case a transfer comes calling?

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