Dudek has a blast on signing day

UA assistant hosts event to celebrate additions to team
2013-02-07T00:00:00Z Dudek has a blast on signing dayDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Matt Dudek arrived at the Arizona Wildcats' football offices a little before 5 a.m. Wednesday with a not-so-simple assignment.

With a microphone in hand, he was told to stand in front of a video camera for the next six hours and be the official host of Arizona's signing day festivities.

"I have never hosted anything ever," said Dudek, the program's director of on-campus recruiting. "I do the official visits and things like that. But, on camera and live - I've never done anything like that."

But, the Wildcats wanted to be bold this signing day.

They wanted to do something that hadn't been done previously. So, Dudek, other members of the coaching staff and the marketing department put their heads together.

They came up with a Google+ Hangout. The general concept was this: Put a video camera in the football offices and track everything that happened in the morning.

The Wildcats put a couple of cameras in the office and told Dudek to have fun.

As the host, Dudek announced the signings of recruits as their letters of intent were faxed in, and then interviewed the athletes on the phone. When letters weren't coming in, Dudek danced with the UA's pom line on the McKale Center court and helped run a donut-eating contest.

"I had a great time," Dudek said. "I wouldn't have agreed to do this if I had to come in a suit and tie and host it like it was the NFL draft. I think people saw who I am today."

Dudek is in his second year with coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats. He joined the staff from Rutgers, where he was the director of football branding and events. Previously, he served as the assistant director of operations and recruiting coordinator for Pittsburgh and took a bizarre route to get there.

Dudek was the assistant to the CEO and general manager of Fortune 500 company Maxim Crane Works at age 22. The way he tells it, he woke up in Miami one morning and had no idea what city he was in. He wasn't enjoying his job or the people he was working with. He wanted to quit.

Part of his job with Maxim was to help set up the metal structures that football teams use to film practices. He called Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt to tell him he had to set up the structure early because he was about to quit his job and go back to school to become a teacher.

"And then he said, 'do you want to come work for me?'" Dudek recalled. "I said yes right away."

Dudek started by videotaping practices and eventually worked his way up to recruiting coordinator. On the way, he developed a serious passion for it.

"Matt Dudek has done a great job as our on-campus recruiting guy and he came up with a way to describe what we want to do going forward in our recruiting process," Rodriguez said.

"Matt has done a great job of organizing and running the Google+ Hangout this morning. Matt organized things on campus and gets the guys going."

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