Arizona’s new athletic director, Dave Heeke, wasn’t due to punch in until April 1, but he couldn’t resist being part of the Wildcats’ basketball gathering in Salt Lake City.
His credential says “Ticket Staff.”
That’s ironic, because Heeke will essentially be the leader of Arizona’s ticket staff once he moves into his McKale Center office April 1. Among his first orders of business — on a schedule that will likely be endless through the end of 2017 — is to sell more football tickets and rekindle interest in Arizona’s troubled football program.
“This is big-time,” said Heeke, who was Central Michigan’s AD for 11 years. “This is the national level. This is where I want to be. This is the jewel of Arizona.”
Heeke said it was difficult to say his goodbyes in the CMU community, which is essentially his home turf. He grew up in East Lansing, Michigan. But he knows he’s not skipping out of town without giving it his best shot.
“I’ll always be a Chippewa,” he said. “I never looked at Central Michigan as a steppingstone. But I like the challenge at Arizona. I’m ready for it.”