5NEWS Goes Inside the Razorback Foundation

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New Razorback Foundation Executive Director Chris Wyrick sat down with 5NEWS on Wednesday. Here's the transcipt of his interview.

On the future of the Razorback Foundation and his strategy:

“As in anything you want to take a look at what’s going on. You want to examine it. You want to look at the pros the cons and always look at how you can get better and that’s exactly what we’re doing here today. We’re looking at every single thing that we do and how we can make it more user friendly for our donors.”

On how the Foundation can get better:

“Ultimately communication is paramount. People want to know exactly what’s going on. I say all the time they ask honest questions they want honest answers. Not everyone can sit on the 50 and not everyone can have the best parking spot. But you want to explain to people the policies. You can’t always make them like it but you can make sure they understand it.”

On the financial health of the Foundation:

“It’s outstanding. Coach Broyles and Coach Horton did a wonderful job building the annual fund of the Razorback Foundation and we just got to grow. We got to continue to grow. We need more members. We need more people involved and that’s a big part of this job.”

On making his mark in the Foundation:

“What I want people to say is ‘they understand how it works.’ We use the term transparency quite a bit. We want people to know what they’re money’s going towards. We want to make sure they get the benefits they’re supposed to receive. We want happy donors.”

On how you explain the foundation to the average Joe:

“We support the endeavors of our student athletes. Certainly raising the money is necessary so student athletes can compete and graduate and move on to better things in life. That’s the ultimate mission. Obviously the more money we can bring in the more we can enhance that experience.”

On how much of the new construction on campus is funded through the Foundation:

“The Majority of what comes in is through the Razorback Foundation. The facility enhancement, that money’s been raised through the Foundation. The annual fund was over 20 million dollars for the first time in school history. The entire enterprise is about 38 million dollars so that’s a lot of money on an annual basis. So a lot of people don’t want to say its business, but at the end of the day its big business.”

On where they get their money:

“The great part about this is only 65 percent of the people that donate are actually alumnus so we’ve got a lot of sidewalk fans and I think that’s awesome about the area, Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas people who genuinely love the Razorbacks.”

On how the Frank Broyles and Jeff Long eras will mix:

“They’ll mix great. Jeff has done a great job complimenting coach Broyles on the legacy he has left. That will never be duplicated again, someone at an institution for over 50 years. Certainly coach Broyles built the foundation, built the facilities, helped the budget and now we’re trying to build upon it, trying to make the facilities that are already good great and were trying to enhance the financial stability of the Athletic Department.”

On the power of the Foundation and how they are so influential:

“I think certainly in the ideal word that the Razorback Foundation board can be a good sounding board on behalf of the Athletic Director. But at the end of the day the institution is in control. Institutional control by the NCAA, certainly following those rules is essential.”

On how important this years’ success is to the future of the football program:

“I think every year it’s important. But at the end of the day some of the most successful programs in the country are done in down times. You look at what is happening at Penn State. I bet Penn State is having an excellent financial year because people are chipping in for the good of the program. So for us you build for good times, build for bad times. But we think this is going to be a great year. I think excitement is at an all-time high and the reason is it’s all about the student athletes. And at the end of the day that’s what it should be all about.”

On if there is a certain amount of wins John L Smith has to have to keep the head coaching job:

“We just take them one game at a time, one season at a time.”

On the future of the Hogs football program, where he sees it going:

“I love the enthusiasm of the program. Whether you’re talking to the coaches or the student athletes, it’s obvious they have one team with one mission. It’s healthy. They’re enjoying themselves. I think it resonates with our fans and our donors.”

On how the football program could change in the future:

“The more successful your program, the more money your able to raise, the better facilities you’re able to get, the better your recruiting is and at the end of the day it’s all about having great student athletes both in the classroom and on the playing field, pulling that all together and being as successful as you can be.”