SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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January 2017 22 www.sportseventsmagazine.com SPORTS EVENT VENUE PROFESSIONALS TO WATCH IN 2017 A great concept needs a great venue to meet the lofty expectations of aspiring athletes, and the Sports Venue Professionals who take care of the fields, competitors and spectators are key contributors to any event's success. Allan Hoon didn't have to venture very far to find his calling. "I did my undergrad at the University of Akron in sports manage- ment," said Hoon, director of operations and events at the university. "We were actually building all the venues I take care of at that time. I went to our rival Kent State and went into grad school there for sports admin- istration where I became the graduate assistant for the athletic department at their field house. I immediately fell in love with college sports and specifical- ly facilities." After a few years at Kent State, Hoon returned to Akron. "The new venue had been open less than a year in Akron and I came right into the field house and have been here since," he said. The Louis and Freda Stile Athletics Field House has a full 120-yard AstroPlay practice field, 300-meter Mondo track, strength and con- ditioning center, sports medicine center, indoor golf facility, football locker rooms, coaches' offices, team meeting space and spectator seating for 1,200, as well as a strength and conditioning center with more than 8,000 square feet of space. "For venues, the most important thing is knowing what your op- eration goal is," Hoon said. "What are you there to facilitate and what are your priorities? Our priorities obviously are our athletes, trying to make it a first-class training facility while also making it an indoor track and field competition facility is paramount." Although the facility is dedicated to athletes from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Hoon keeps the facility busy with as many as 120 non-university events each year. "Our building is going nonstop," he said. "It runs about 18 to 19 hours a day on average and because of where our location is, it is pretty heavily used. "We host outside rentals for any type of private organization: indoor soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse." With the 300-meter indoor track as its showcase, the facility hosts a lot of walking events, including the American Heart Asso- ciation Heart Walk, Multiple Sclerosis walk, an Alzheimer's walk, Breast Cancer walk, Suicide preven- tion walk, and Relay for Life. "Pretty much if there's a non-profit do- ing some kind of walk in the fall or spring, if I can track them down and find a way to make the dates work, I'll bring them in to both expose those people to the university and see how it has changed, as well as creating another revenue stream," he said. "By far, it is our Grand Central Station. It is the hub of our depart- ment. Every team uses it in some capacity all year long. It is the first stop on all recruiting visits. Because of the open layout, it lends itself to a lot of different outside events." The lighting system was updated 18 months ago, and new turf and new track are planned in the near future, Hoon said. "Even though it is the same year to year, the same seasons, it's different student athletes and sports completely evolve each year," he said. "Each week there is something new that is changing with them so we have to change as managers and figure out how best to support the sports programs and special events we hold in our facilities." n Allan Hoon Director of Operations & Events The University of Akron SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue

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