A symbol. An icon. A logo. Not just any logo…OUR logo. Event logos traditionally serve as the visual identity representing the unique partnership forged between the NCAA and their host communities, in this case, Tampa Bay. The actual unveiling of that logo signifies a truly special moment in the course of an event’s journey to greatness. On Sunday, February 16th, 2014, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Times Forum and several community leaders joined visiting NCAA staff members in unveiling the 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four logo at half-time of the USF Women’s Basketball game against top-ranked Connecticut. While the game set an all-time USF home attendance record with over 6,600 fans, additional festivities included a free youth basketball clinic attended by nearly 150 children, a pregame reception and a post-game autograph session.
Part of the NCAA contingent making their way to Tampa Bay from Indianapolis for the event was NCAA Vice President for Women’s Basketball Championships, Anucha Browne (@nukehoops). Here’s are four quick questions we had for Ms. Browne as “Team Tampa Bay” enthusiastically prepares to host the NCAA Women’s Final Four again in April of 2015:
RH: For those fans that haven’t experienced the NCAA Women’s Final Four yet, what makes the event so special each year?
AB: “It starts with the championship games which are different each year, to the ancillary events and feel of the different cities that play host to the event. All are unique. We say that the Women’s Final Four is “more than three games,” which means that the event extends beyond the games that take place in the arena. From educational outreach efforts, youth clinics, fan interactive activities and more, the Women’s Final Four is an event that is enjoyed by people of all ages.”
RH: You’ve been in your position now for close to a year and a half and now in less than two months, you’ll be at the helm of your second NCAA Women’s Final Four. How have you been enjoying your role so far?
AB: “I have the unique opportunity to be a part of America’s premiere women’s sporting event and continue to enjoy the fact that I can touch the lives of the 4,000 student-athletes who play Division I women’s basketball each year and aspire to have their season culminate at the Women’s Final Four.”
RH: We just unveiled the 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four logo, what are your impressions of the mark and how excited are you for Tampa Bay to host?
AB: “What we thought about when designing this logo is what that city stands for and the things associated with Tampa Bay. The 2015 logo highlights the recreational character of Tampa Bay as a popular beach vacation destination and references the excitement of the women’s basketball championship. Tampa Bay has proven itself a great host to world-class events, did a great job in hosting the 2008 Women’s Final Four and we expect that the city will put on one of the best Women’s Final Fours ever in 2015.”
RH: You heard from some of the key leaders in Tampa Bay today, how important is it for a community to have that kind of support when hosting the NCAA Women’s Final Four?
AB: “Since the Women’s Final Four is ‘more than three games’, even if you don’t have a ticket to the games, we provide programming and fan interactive activities around the Women’s Final Four that will touch the community and leave a lasting legacy. We plan for NCAA programs to touch over 20,000 middle school and elementary age students in Hillsborough County and will have fan interactive events for fans of all ages that are free. We want the community to get involved and enjoy all that the event has to offer.”
Special thanks to Anucha Browne for granting us a few moments of her time during her visit to the Sunshine State. Stay tuned to NCAA.com and TampaBaySports.org in the 14 months ahead for everything you need to know about next year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 5th and 7th, 2015, @TBTimesForum! #WFFTampaBay