Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Birth of football program chronicled in new miniseries on FOX Sports Network

Jon Heidtke

The Roadrunners have yet to take the field for a real game, but they are well on their way to building a fanbase, thanks to a television series aired on FOX Sports on Southwest and Houston stations.

Two episodes have already aired, but before the first episode was shown to a regional audience, UTSA hosted a premiere party on May 13 in the Skyline Lounge at the Alamodome.

Among the dignitaries were UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey, Head Coach Larry Coker and general manager of FOX Sports Southwest, Jon Heidtke.

The miniseries has been in the works for two years, thanks to a persistent Jim Goodman, UTSA athletics marketing director.

“Jim Goodman called me and said, ‘I have a great idea for a TV show,'” Heidtke said. “He told me about what was going on down here, but I told him we had a lot going on.”

Goodman didn’t give up; he kept at Heidtke to get out the story of UTSA football.

“The more we talked, the more I realized that this was a story that needed to be told,” Heidtke said.

The story of UTSA football–from the team to the band to the cheerleaders– will unfold on the FOX Sports Southwest and FOX Sports Houston networks, available all over Texas and the bordering states.

“The good news for the program is that this is going to be seen across a five-state area; Texas and the four contiguous states,” Heidtke said. “In addition to that, FOX College Sports is going to show it in 55 million homes nationally.”

FOX Sports will advertise the show during the summer on broadcasts over its Southwest and Houston networks.

“It will be promoted in telecasts of Rangers’ games, Astros’ games, our Big 12 coverage,” Heidtke said. “I think it will be a big shot in the arm for this program.”

Craig Cuney, executive producer, wanted to do a show that would represent the birth of a program.

“When I first came here, I wanted to do something that was really going to be impressive to the story. Cuney said. After I stopped, met with Lynn Hickey and Brad Parrot and found out their motives for bringing in football, I realized the story of how this all came about was as important as the story on the field.”

As associate athletics director for external affairs, Parrot had an important part in the birth of the program as well as in the miniseries, namely, making sure there was a story to tell.

“If it wasn’t for Brad Parrot, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Hickey said. “His dedication, his vision and all the things he has put together are outstanding.”

In the past, a football program starting up would not have drawn much attention outside of its locality, but thanks to modern media and the UTSA’s location in the second largest city in Texas, the birth of football has become big news outside of Bexar County.

“I was drawn to this story because you don’t get to launch a football program at the Division One level very often,” Heidtke said.”I was drawn to the story of Coker starting a program from scratch and of Lynn Hickey continuing to push through and break barriers. It seemed like something that was movie-esque.”

The miniseries appealed to Coker because of the work done behind the scenes that helped birth the program.

“It is not just football,” Coker said. “A lot goes into it, and I think a lot of people may not know, but they can watch it and understand the work that went into building the program.”

“There is so much to tell about the story,” Hickey said. “We now have all summer to fill in the blanks.”

In addition to filling in the blanks about the program’s history, Hickey and her staff will also be busy securing the future of the program.

“We are selling tickets and raising money to get the football practice facility built,” Hickey said. “It is a busy summer and a fun summer getting ready for that first game.”

The players who will take the field in the first-ever game will have the summer to prepare themselves for the rigors of birthing a football program on the field.

“Our players are going to be in summer school,” Coker said. “They will be lifting weights with our strength coaches and conditioning. Also, they will have their voluntary individual workouts.”

When the Roadrunners finally do take the Alamodome field on Sept. 3, their opponent will be Northeastern, Coker’s alma mater in Oklahoma.

“Northeastern is a Division II team so their personnel can change,” Coker said. “We will have their tape and know a little bit more about them than they might about us.”

The Roadrunners’ first game against Northeastern will kickoff at 1 p.m. in the Alamodome, Sept. 3. 

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