March 14, 2006
- Read about Iowa’s 2006 recruiting class
- Follow the renovation of Kinnick!
- The Schedule: 2006 and beyond
- Listen to the Hawkeyes on XM Radio
- Watch and listen to Kirk, the Hawkeyes
- Travel with the UI Alumni Association to Syracuse
In the military they are the infantry. The well-trained and well-equipped foot soldiers.
In retail, they’re the customer service representatives who know the four-inch wood screws are in aisle three next to the display of wood stain.
In the UI Athletic Department, they are the student staff of the Athletic Ticket Office. Working the telephones in the cluttered backroom of the ticket office suite on the fourth floor of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, this group of 16 young men and women are on the very front line of the UI’s re-seating process of historic Kinnick Stadium.
For Mick Shaeffer of Ottumwa, Tyler Probasco of Urbandale, Joanna Stenlund of McClelland and their peers, the work day since early in January has been measured in four-minute increments – the average length of each conversation with one of the thousands of season ticket customers in the varsity sport of football.
“It’s been busy, very busy,” smiled Amanda Hammes, a junior from Keota who has worked in the UI Athletic Ticket Office for three years.
The fact that it’s been busy should come as no surprise. The task that the student and full-time staff under the direction of David Sandstrum, the UI’s director of ticket operations, stare down each day is, in a word, daunting.
16,000-plus customers accounting for more than 46,000 of the 70,000 seats inside Kinnick Stadium were invited by the UI Athletic Department to contact the UI Athletic Ticket Office over a 100-day period and select new seat locations for their season tickets. The process was self-imposed by the UI – it came as a result of the decision to act on the wishes of their fans and provide each with more space on each bleacher in the grandstands of the 76-year-old home of the Hawkeyes.
16,000-plus customers accounting for more than 46,000 of the 70,000 seats inside Kinnick Stadium were invited by the UI Athletic Department to contact the UI Athletic Ticket Office and select new seat locations for their season tickets. The process was self-imposed by the UI – it came as a result of the decision to act on the wishes of their fans and provide each with more space on each bleacher in the grandstands of the 76-year-old home of the Hawkeyes.
Wider seats meant the loss of approximately two seats in each row of each of the 46 sections of Kinnick, the prized home of the Hawkeyes that is undergoing an $89 million facelift that is scheduled to be completed in August. Click HERE to check out the latest additions to the photo gallery inside kinnickrenovation.com, the official world wide web site of the renovation of Iowa’s football facility.
Widening the space provided each season ticket holder also meant that between Jan. 15 and June 10, an average of 150 fans of Coach Kirk Ferentz’s nationally ranked Iowa football program would call the UI Athletic Ticket Office, be greeted by Justin Sauser of Anthon or Kerri Roling of Hopkinton or Colleen Crossett of Macomb, Ill., and personally select the seats they’ll be sitting in on Sept. 2 when the Hawkeyes entertain Montana in the 2006 season opener.
“The project is simply a very, very significant task and our student staff bears an equally significant responsibility in it being completed successfully,” said Sandstrum. “I can’t begin to say how well they’ve tackled the challenge. To say they’ve been outstanding is an understatement.”
The 16 members of the student staff of the UI Athletic Ticket Office have played an instrumental role in the re-seating process currently underway for season ticket holders for the sport of football at the University of Iowa.
Some might say it’s amazing that they can even find the energy to find a smile given the fact that more than 60 percent of the process is still ahead of them. But, then again, as Joel Bennett said with a shrug, “It’s all about the attitude you bring with you to work each day.”
Bennett, the self-proclaimed “wily veteran” of the student staff with three years plus one month more experience working for the UI Athletic Department than Hammes, said difficult conversations are a daily occurrence, but the most difficult were last spring and summer when the plans of the process went from hearsay to rumor to fact.
“There were a lot of anxious fans of ours out there thinking the worst. There were far more ‘complaints’ then than now,” said Bennett, who gives credit to the system that was put in place for “calming the waters.”
“It’s a very fair system. Sure, some fans might not like it, but they can’t say it isn’t fair,” said Bennett, a senior from Jewell who will pursue a job in finance or marketing this summer after graduating from the UI Tippie School of Business in May.
Hammes said she believes it was very beneficial to have worked in the ticket office prior to the start of the once-in-a-lifetime (they hope) process. “We kind of speak our own language or, at the very least, have a vocabulary that is unique to the ticket office,” she smiled.
She also thinks technology has provided a great boost to the project.
“The web site (kinnickrenovation.com) has been a huge advantage. Most of the fans I’ve talked with have been on the site and many are on the site when making their call,” she said, noting that she’s probably talked to up to 500 season tickets customers since the process started.
“The diehards really want to talk football. They’re really pumped about the program right now. I sometimes want to remind them that we don’t really see the football staff or student-athletes much at all and that they’re in another building on campus.”
Joel Bennett, a member of the student staff of the UI Athletic Ticket Office
Hammes’ funniest moment? That’s an easy one. She was making calls to fans to remind them that they had missed their date for selection and caught one at a very odd time.
“The customer thanked me for calling, but asked if he could call back. He said he was in the bathtub,” laughed Hammes.
Hammes and Bennett are on the same page when asked about the conversations they’ve had with fans of the Hawkeyes over the last two-plus months.
“Many think we’re on the `inside’ and we know the plays, the team, the coaches. And,they all like to talk,” smile Hammes.
“The diehards really want to talk football. They’re really pumped about the program right now. I sometimes want to remind them that we don’t really see the football staff or student-athletes much at all and that they’re in another building on campus,” said Bennett.
THE UI ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE
STUDENT STAFF, SPRING 2006
Joanna Stenlund, McClelland, IA
Joel Bennett, Jewell, IA
Amanda Hammes, Keota, IA
Colleen Crossett, Macomb, IL
Justin Sauser, Anthon, IA
Sara Hogan, Hesston, KS
Tyler Probasco, Urbandale, IA
Quinn Mead, Savage, MN
Kerri Roling, Hopkinton, IA
Kelsey Larsen, Saline, MI
Aaron Bean, Cedar Rapids, IA
Amy Rowe, Marengo, IA
Jason Burch, Iowa City, IA
Mick Shaeffer, Ottumwa, IA
Tom Ausborn, Emmetsburg, IA
David Ernst, Dubuque, IA