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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Family Weekend: A father’s reflection on his time at UA

    Family Weekend is a time to invite our relatives to share our college experiences. But it can also be a time for families to share their own college experiences with us.

    Recently, I had the chance to talk to my dad, Chuck Hoyack, a graduate of the Class of 1984, about his experiences and memories as a Wildcat.

    “I had way too much fun as an undergrad,” he told me with a smile. “Dooley’s, Wildcat House, The Green Dolphin — oh, the good times! We didn’t have Main Gate [Square] or Fourth Avenue. Good thing, I guess. We had enough bars to frequent as it was.”

    He was a junior varsity baseball player and the student manager and bullpen catcher for the varsity squad. That made him part of the 1980 national championship baseball team under coach Jerry Kindall.

    Seeing Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, the home of the Arizona baseball team until 2012, turned into a practice football field was tough for him.

    “I know the head and the wallet say baseball belongs at Hi Corbett [Field],” he said, referring to the new home of Arizona baseball. “But the heart says it belongs across the street, south of McKale [Center].”

    As for the other things my dad misses seeing around campus, he fondly remembers Ooh Aah Man at basketball games, $1 Sunday night movies at the Gallagher Theater and his Russian literature classes with Richard Cosgrove, whom he greatly admired.

    Two other classes still stand out to him after all these years.

    “Kinesiology of Exercise,” he said. “My professor had high standards but was a terrific teacher and mentor. You needed a 92 for an ‘A.’ I had a 91.7, and she wouldn’t bump me up.”

    What a familiar pain for those of us still suffering through undergraduate courses. But my dad is able to see the benefits now.

    “She taught me lessons which have paid dividends for decades,” he said.

    The other class was History of World War II, with Gregory Oswald.

    “Oswold was an Army major who drove General [George] Patton’s jeep through Europe,” he said. “He lived the war. He had original video footage and showed us the fall of Nazi Germany through his personal accounts.”

    My dad doesn’t much miss being in a class of 300 students where the professor didn’t know the students and the teaching assistant didn’t care. Times haven’t changed as much as we might assume.

    “Some good things that you guys have are the renovated football stadium, the Sports Hall of Fame at McKale [Center] and the [Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center],” he said. “Those would have been great when I was here.”

    But he also said he’s glad there was no streetcar, costly tuition, terrible parking or traffic jams around campus when he was a student.

    “Compared to the ’80s, parking and traffic are unbelievably bad,” he said.

    There have been many changes since the 1980s, yet much remains the same. We can use Family Weekend to learn a little more about both the static and dynamic aspects of our campus culture.

    Ultimately, the most enduring trait of all is the desire to share your college memories with those you love.


    Casey Hoyack is a philosophy, politics, economics & law senior. Follow him on Twitter.

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