ETSU Grant Team leads two days of sessions to tip off year-long initiative
ETSU Grant Team leads two days of sessions to tip off year-long initiative
Thursday, July 15, 2010

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - One month after receiving one of 14 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grants designed to increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women's basketball, the Atlantic Sun Conference and its 11 member institutions participated in a two-day seminar on the campus of East Tennessee State University.


ETSU has received $100,000 in NCAA Grant funding over the previous two years, during which time grant team the women's basketball team shattered previous attendance records and increased Web site traffic to record numbers, in addition to winning consecutive A-Sun Championship titles. This year the A-Sun received $50,000 to promote women's basketball conference-wide. The six members of the ETSU Grant Team, Senior Associate Athletic Director Barbie Breedlove, Ticket Manager Brandon Hudson, Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions & Event Management Sara Hacker, Assistant Director for Media Relations/Sports Information Kevin Brown, Graduate Assistant Jeff Hiestand and Administrative Assistant Kristi Smith, each led sessions detailing various aspects of how ETSU has successfully promoted women's basketball and game attendance over the past two seasons.


"We are honored to be one of the grant recipients this year, and we know we can do great work for women's basketball and our student-athletes," A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. "Our folks have seen the tremendous progress made here at ETSU and we're fired up about multiplying that effect throughout the A-Sun."


In addition to leading presentations for the entire group, the six members of the ETSU Grant Team led break-out sessions with smaller groups focusing on topics such as its successful Dean's Challenge where Deans from eight of the schools on campus faced off at selected ETSU women's games to bring in most fans in competition for scholarships. Sessions also focused on the "Pack the House" promotion, the Lady Buc Extravaganza, ticketing and advertising, working with large groups and building databases.


"I was very pleased with the high level of engagement," Breedlove said. "Everybody came to learn and exchange ideas. This week is a great springboard for the grant and the A-Sun laid a terrific foundation for promoting attendance. We are very excited about the prospects for the A-Sun and for the growth of women's basketball."


The seminar represented the first step of the year-long program designed to increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women's basketball. The conference will hold regular conference calls with and the membership as well as with the NCAA and the other grant recipients to foster ideas and learn from one another.


This marketing initiative concept was generated from the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Discussion Group, chaired by the late NCAA President Myles Brand. The group consisted of head coaches, media representatives, former student-athletes, conference, institutional and Women's Basketball Coaches Association administrators. It has been strongly supported by the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee and the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Issues Committee.


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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.