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Spalding Hoophall Classic: A Look Behind the Scenes

Jon Santer
Assistant Sports Editor

It’s that time of year again. The fall semester is coming to a close, and winter break is quickly falling upon us. As students pack their televisions, clothes and other miscellaneous items into their car preparing to leave Springfield College for a month of time, 50 high school basketball teams across the nation prepare themselves for their chance to shine in front of the scouts and coaches from a wide variety of colleges and universities in mid-January.

Between the dates of Jan. 17-21, a spread of boys and girls high school basketball teams will be welcomed on Springfield College’s campus, for they will be competing in the 2013 Hoophall Classic. Commonly referred to as “Hoophall,” this prestigious tournament will host schools from as close as Springfield Central High School, located three miles north of campus, to as far as Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif.

Although this is a major event held at SC, there is one office on campus that deals with most of the work that goes into the showcase. The Office of Special Programs devotes much of their fall semester attention into what goes into the preparation behind the tournament.

Kathy Smith, the director of the Office of Special Programs, comments that it’s more of a “yearlong process.”

“We usually sit down immediately after Hoophall to discuss how we thought the weekend went. [We then talk about] what we can improve on, what we thought worked well and what we thought didn’t,” said Smith. “Then we move on to next year’s planning. The [Basketball] Hall of Fame begins to work on the following year’s schedule literally in January. They work hand-in-hand with ESPN and other media outlets in order to package the schedule. They also handle all of the sponsorships, which are full-time jobs.”

The purpose of the Office of Special Programs is to help an outside group host an event on the campus. Due to the Basketball Hall of Fame needing a venue for their showcase, they chose to contact Special Programs to aid in the hosting of their tournament.

Some duties that the Basketball Hall of Fame asked of Smith and the rest of the Special Programs staff was to handle the minor details such as acquiring enough tables, chairs, courtside signage and metal detectors while also storing the hundreds of T-shirts, sneakers and other merchandise that is given to the players following their games.

As well as handling all of the major tasks that go into making the tournament a success, there are plenty of minor details that the Office of Special Programs must take care of prior to the arrival of the teams. Staff supervisors and students at SC Amanda Ortiz, Rachel Duplessis, Jenna Bugbee and Kelsey Davey handle most of the paperwork that goes behind all of these things.

“We get our supplies ready, including the signage that help the people with directions within the campus,” said Ortiz. “We reserve classrooms and the P.E. Complex. Also, we do purchase orders for the metal detectors and for Costco and Wal-Mart to pick up supplies. We make our signs here in the office, so we do that on the computers and then paste them onto signs for people to see.”

Following all the preparation that takes place during the fall semester, the employees of the Office of Special Programs are welcomed back immediately following New Years day to begin to set up while students are still at home. Upon their return, the employees pack up their office, located in the basement of the Administration Building, and move it over to Blake Arena, preparing to take on the top high school recruiting showcase in the U.S.

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