Scooby, you got time for breakfast? Sure, Scooby Wright said, he had time for the head football coach and the defensive coordinator from the University of Arizona. How about Monday morning? Sure, Scooby said. Great, said head coach Rich Rodriguez. Jeff Casteel and myself will fly up early morning on the school's Lear jet. I live near the Charles Schulz airport, Scooby said. I'll come by pick you up. My mom, Annette, makes a great breakfast and I'll tell you how I got the name Scooby.
OK, OK, the only thing untrue about the previous paragraph was the Scooby part.
This is what it’s like to feel wanted in intercollegiate athletics.
The Arizona coaches certainly didn't have to do it. Wright, the Cardinal Newman linebacker, verbally committed to the Pac-12 school months ago, on June 23. In the intervening eight months, Wright never wavered in his promise. His official visit to the Tucson campus on January 11th reconfirmed what he experienced on his unofficial visit last June 18. Wright had weekly e-mail correspondence with an Arizona coach. If Wright had a head cold, Arizona would have flown up some Kleenex on the Lear. Yes, Wright was a done deal. Yet Arizona wanted to solidify the love, the Wildcats liked him so much.
Arizona knew Wright had been gathering attention. If he hadn’t committed verbally so early, Wright said, 10-15 schools already had professed a serious interest and would have made a push for him, among them Boise State, Oregon, Northwestern, Cal, Utah, UNLV and San Diego State.
On January 16th, Casteel flew up to have dinner with Wright at the La Gare restaurant in Santa Rosa. And this time Casteel flew commercial! No more compelling statement on a D1 university’s commitment can be made.
Unless the school’s entire football coach staff greets you when you arrive on campus.
That happened as well. On June 18 last year Wright went down with his folks on an unofficial visit to Arizona. As Wright emerged from the taxi and walked toward the football office. Rodriguez and his 11 assistants were waiting for him.