ARLINGTON _ The countdown to what is expected to be a record-setting 2014 Final Four at Cowboys Stadium began in earnest Thursday with the unveiling of the event logo and the words of Mike Bobinski, chair of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee.
“If all goes well, we’ll establish a Final Four attendance record,” said Bobinski, the Xavier athletic director. “I have no doubt that will happen. I guess it really is true that everything is bigger in Texas, particularly in North Texas.”
Bobinski will get no argument from the 14 members of the North Texas Local Organizing Committee, which includes Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice-president of the Dallas Cowboys who worked with NCAA officials on crafting the Final Four logo.
The logo incorporates a stylized image of Cowboys Stadium in which the venue’s signature support beams form the number “14” to commemorate the year. A basketball replaces the letter “o” in the phrase “Final Four,” which sits below the words “2014 North Texas.”
Anderson said committee members and the NCAA sought a “very clean and very contemporary” look for the logo, with NCAA officials pushing for use of the stadium outline in the finished product.
“It was their suggestion. And we were flattered by that,” Anderson said. “I think it really is a good icon for the region.”
Based on stadium capacity, a sold-out venue in 2014 would allow the NCAA to break its existing attendance records for a Final Four semifinals session (72,456) and for an NCAA championship game (72,922), both set in 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit. Cowboys Stadium, with its flexible configuration options, held 108,713 for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.
Anderson is joined on the three-member executive committee by Rick Baker, president and CEO of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Tarrant County representatives on the 11-member board of directors include Jay Burress, president/CEO of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, former TCU athletic director Frank Windegger and Gina Puente, CEO and co-founder of Puente Enterprises, Inc.
Other board members include Rolando Blackmon, former Dallas Mavericks standout; Terdema Ussery, Mavericks president/CEO; Noe Hinojosa, president/CEO of Estrada Hinojosa Co.; Philip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau; John Stankey, senior vice-president of AT&T; Kathy Saunders, vice-president and general manager of KDFW/Ch. 4; Alan White, chairman/CEO of PlainsCapital Bank and George Bayoud.
_ Jimmy Burch