May 31, 2012
STEVE PATTERSON- VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS/ATHLETICS DIRECTOR
"I am excited to announce that the ASU football team will be going back to Camp Tontozona this fall, led by head coach Todd Graham. We appreciate all the efforts everyone has made to make this happen, especially Mayor (Kenny) Evans, who has been a great supporter of ours and has really tried to get us to go back there. We look back at Camp Tontozona and it is a place that binds many generations together, going back nearly 20 years. We wanted to reach out and engage many of those folks and many of the folks that are involved in Sun Devil Nation. We were happy to see that so many people responded - we had over 500 people who responded with donations anywhere from $10 to $10,000. We had football players from every generation that have played here every decade and had the majority of our staff engaged, especially the people on our football staff, including the head coach, who gave us a significant contribution. Ever since coach Graham and I visited up there and were so warmly received, we were very excited about it. I am new here, Todd's new here, but we wanted to re-engage in one of the great traditions ASU football has had. It started with coach Frank Kush so many years ago and we are really excited about going back there. We heard back from a number of former ASU players about their experience there and a number of them contributed or said they will contribute in the future efforts. We exceeded our goal just north of a $160,00 and all the money we raised will go toward Camp Tontozona and our efforts to go back there. We are looking forward to a lot of fun this August with Coach Graham and the football team he takes up there."
TODD GRAHAM- HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
"I want to echo Steve, especially in thanking the White Mountain Group of the Sun Devil Club that really stepped forward big time for us. I think tradition really brings people together. I can remember, right after my press conference, meeting with some former players and the importance of the Camp Tontozona tradition came up quite often. So it is a great day that we can restore that tradition and hopefully make it something that will be continued. We have an opportunity to do something great - especially with Steve and myself being new - and this camp will provide a great venue for us to come together. Restoring this tradition is important to us and I am excited about that. I can't wait to be at the top of Mt. Kush with the team, singing the Arizona State Fight Song. I am looking forward to having coach Kush address our team there as well. With all the luxuries we have in college football, there also comes so many distractions, so being able to go to a secluded place like that, especially during our first year when relationships are so vital, is very important. To develop our team, to strain them, to train them and have no distractions is going to be exactly what we need in our first year and something we'll want to continue in the future. I want to thank everyone for contributing and I appreciate all the passion people have because I think this is another important step when it comes to tradition. We are looking forward to taking a team up there and developing a championship caliber team at Camp Tontozona."
KENNY EVANS- MAYOR OF PAYSON
"I am here to announce that the magic is back. This is the right place, the right time. You have the right guy in coach Graham and we believe that Camp Tontozona is the right place. For those who need something to cheer for in the gloomy world we seem to live in today, we found it. We are rolling out the welcome wagon in Payson. We are going to make sure it is not just another trip to the mountains, but truly a new beginning for this program and an opportunity to welcome coach Graham and the great vision he has for both the athletic and football programs at ASU. We think this is going to be a great tradition. Renovated, restarted and the magic truly is back."
On whether a fundraising campaign like this one will be needed in the future:
"We wont necessarily have to do it around going back to Camp Tontozona because a fair amount of the funds will be going into capital items that needed to be addressed before we got up there. What we are seeing now is a renewed interest in philanthropy around Sun Devil Athletics. There is a lot of excitement out there with coach Graham and where the football team is headed. My hope is that we can help grow the involvement, help grow the affinity and help grow the revenue of Sun Devil Athletics so we can continue to expand on what we have going with Camp Tontozona. As fans get up there and get involved, and as we do other events around Camp Tontozona - the Camp Tontozona experience - like golf tournaments and President Michael M. Crow being up there and talking to folks, it will be great tradition we can grow on to make it a great experience for everybody."
On the hurdles he had to overcome to make this the right move from a football standpoint:
"A lot of people don't realize our calendar and how that's changed. We have summer school until the August 14, so obviously we cannot take them up there before that because there is no Internet, and they need to pass class and take care of that business. Then you are looking at an August 30 playing date, which is early. That is a very small window to make it happen. I had a lot of concerns about that being so close to when we play, so we are making a big effort to make this happen because we think it is important. The number one factor is the tradition of our program. People think Sun Devil football and think Camp Tontozona. I also think that from a development standpoint, it is exactly what we need right now as a team, but it is very difficult to manage that because of the small window of time we have. A lot of things had to transpire to make it happen. It is going to be a positive thing for us and something we will want to continue in the future."
On coach Frank Kush visiting Camp Tontozona:
"He plans on going up with us and it is something that he has a great passion about, so we are looking forward to it. I believe in knowing whom you represent and whom you play for, and that is one of the things you will start to see down these hallways. We want them to speak with the history of our program. We have a plan to have team pictures dating back to 1897 and have the story of ASU football written into the walls. I would like to bring back former coaches and players and have them very simply talk about what it meant to be a Sun Devil. We are also looking forward to having a scrimmage on August 18 and having former players up there to address our team. We are going to do some team building things up there and try and get some of our former players up there as well."