SALT LAKE CITY — When the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced on Selection Sunday, Steve Pyne of the University of Utah will be watching the proceedings with great interest. He’s the tournament manager for the second and third round contests that will be played at EnergySolutions Arena this Thursday and Saturday. Utah is the host institution for the games.
Pyne and his administrative staff of 16 plan to gather at the Huntsman Center early as things get set in motion. Months of meetings and planning come to fruition when they learn the eight teams that are coming to town.
“Everything is already put in place with participant’s manuals and everything,” Pyne said. “It’s a template and we’ll just input our teams in those slots.”
Pyne has assembled a group of people to cover all aspects of the tournament. They all have different roles, overseeing such things as lodging, transportation, events and liaisons for teams, bands and spirit squads.
Pyne’s office will be contacted by participating schools soon after the Sunday announcement. A customized website will also serve as a resource. At 7 p.m., Pyne’s group will engage in a conference call with the NCAA staff member assigned to the Salt Lake City games just to make sure everything is in place,
”That night will be pretty long — just in keeping organized and then that pretty much does it on Selection Sunday,” said Pyne, who explained that a conference call with the teams is set for Monday — ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
This will be the 18th time the University of Utah has hosted part of the NCAA Tournament. The 1979 NCAA Final Four featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson highlights involvement that includes games in 1968, 1971, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2010.
Although Utah’s bid to host the tournament (second and third round or regional finals) in 2014 and 2015 was unsuccessful, Pyne said a bid to do so in 2016 or 2017 will be submitted this summer.