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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

COMIC: Rat’s Nest #3
Olivia MoreyFebruary 28, 2024
 

    MacKenzie looks to increase football attendance

    Scott MacKenzie
    Scott MacKenzie

    Chris Del Conte’s presence in the athletics department did not go unnoticed by the rest of Division I athletics.

    Del Conte, the former senior associate athletic director at Arizona, took the athletics director job at Rice over the summer, creating space for Scott MacKenzie’s “”dream job.””

    “”I was pretty thrilled,”” said MacKenzie, who served as the associate director of athletics for marketing development last year. “”Chris and I were close friends and he’s a mentor to me and I learned a lot from him, and hopefully a lot of it has rubbed off.””

    The energetic MacKenzie, who graduated from the University of Montana, officially became the associate athletic director of external operations, expanding his work load from mostly marketing to a wide range of tasks involving event operations, facilities and maintenance groups as well as working with head coaches, media relations and “”major gift donors.””

    “”The most exciting thing has been a lot more contact with our head coaches, which I didn’t have in the past, and more time spent with (athletics director) Jim Livengood, (senior associate director of athletics) Rocky LaRose and (associate to the athletics director) John Perrin, our senior staff.””

    Livengood said MacKenzie “”deserved”” the promotion.

    “”He’s got all the qualifications,”” Livengood said. “”He’s a very talented young man, and we’re very excited about him being in this position.””

    One of MacKenzie’s first challenges is filling his old position and promoting other staff members. Thus far he has replaced Russell Bertram – who left with Del Conte and accepted a new position at Rice after serving as Arizona’s assistant athletic director of ticket sales – with James Francis, the former director of marketing.

    MacKenzie said his priority this year is to make sure student athletes are playing in front of “”as much of a full house as possible.””

    “”Our main goals that are measurable goals are filling the stands,”” MacKenzie said.

    “”We have a lot of revenue goals with respect to football ticket sales, capital fundraising for our new practice facility and just annual giving and season tickets for all of our other sports,”” he added. “”With football, it’s been a while since we’ve sold out games on a regular basis, but this year we have a good chance to sell out several games.””

    MacKenzie mentioned volleyball, baseball and women’s basketball as priority sports.

    “”I think there’s room for improvement where we can do a better job as a marketing staff of getting the word out and enhancing game atmosphere,”” said MacKenzie, who also talked about getting fans out to off-campus sports like golf.

    As for Del Conte, Livengood believes his longtime friend and fellow Washington State graduate “”will be an outstanding athletic director, and Rice probably won’t be his last stop.””

    “”Chris was ready to be an AD and Rice was the right school at the right time,”” Livengood added.

    MacKenzie said he hopes to continue down the path Del Conte paved.

    “”The biggest thing that I learned from Chris is if you’re going to be in fundraising and sales, you have to get out there and ask and that aggressive attitude and positive attitude, that energy that he brought to the office is something that you try to replicate,”” MacKenzie said.

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