Highlights from the Ross Bjork interview …
– Understanding that success makes a football coach popular to other schools Bjork has already begun a “process of engagement,” with Hugh Freeze’s representation, Memphis-based agent Jimmy Sexton. Freeze currently makes $3 million a year plus incentives.
Paying competitive salaries is not only possible because of SEC revenue streams, Bjork said.
“Obviously the SEC Network is helping, but we’re selling more season tickets than ever before. We have more donors than ever before. We’ve really never been healthier financially, but now we have to manage that growth and make sure we do the right things and be good stewards of resources.”
– The school has completed or has under way $100 million worth of facility improvements and received an award for those improvements from the University of Southern Mississippi for the best facility project in the $2 to $10 million range.
– The parking garage is expected to be open some time in January, to be ready by the start of the semester.
– The arena is on schedule for December 2015. The administration is working on the opening act in that building, whether it’s a game or a concert or something else.
– The school is looking to turn dirt in December on the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium south end zone project that will include 30 new suites, 700 club seats. Preliminary work will begin on the north end zone by this coming summer with hopes of having that ready for the 2016 season. If all goes according to plan the last football season of north end zone bleachers will be 2015. “Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’re going to have a press conference if you will, an unveiling of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium’s final plans. Here’s what the north end zone looks like, here’s what the plazas look like, here’s what the exterior looks like and how it all ties together. Hopefully we can make that announcement before the end of the football season this year. We’re tracking toward that. Stay tuned is the key message for both media and our fans and we can announce that project,” Bjork said.
– Speaking of facilities, Bjork is taking a look at enhancements to baseball’s Swayze Field.
“We haven’t done much over there in the last couple of years. With the success we think there could be some opportunities around some player development areas, maybe some premium seating areas to enhance baseball as well to make it even better than what it is now.”
It’s possible future plans could include outfield apartments similar to those announced by Mississippi State recently.
“Maybe. We’re not sure about the zoning issue. That’s a cool feature that they’re pulling off in Starkville. Maybe that’s something we could look at here.”