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#WCChoops Q&A - Tom Holmoe, BYU

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Throughout the course of the 2015 WCC Basketball Championships, #WCChoops Columnist John Crumpacker will be posting mini-profiles and features to go along with his daily "What We Learned" postings.

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By John Crumpacker
#WCChoops Columnist

LAS VEGAS - Tom Holmoe was not in the Orleans Arena on Tuesday watching his BYU men's and women's teams play for West Coast Conference basketball championships. He had more important things to do.

 The BYU athletic director is in his first full year as a member of the NCAA Men's Selection Committee and as such will be in Indianapolis with the other nine members as they prepare for and then select the 68 teams that will play for the Division I college basketball championship, otherwise known as March Madness.

Your WCC columnist has a long, yet at the same time sporadic, history with Holmoe. I covered him in his last few seasons as a defensive back with the San Francisco 49ers, I covered a game or two when he was the football coach at my alma mater, UC Berkeley, and I've had the occasion to pester him with a few questions in his role as AD at his alma mater.

We go back, Tom and me.

So Holmoe was good enough to give me a few minutes of his time on Monday for a question-and-answer session as the BYU women were at work upsetting top seed Gonzaga 61-55 to reach the championship game. He left on Tuesday morning for Indy, where the Selection Committee will grind away from Wednesday until Sunday putting the tournament field together.

Holmoe is filling out the final two years of a five-year term on the Selection Committee that former WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich had to abandon when he went to the Pac-12 as chief operating officer.

Q: What was your reaction when Zaninovich asked you to take over as the WCC's representative on the Selection Committee?

A: At first I wasn't really sure about it because I'd heard how much time it takes. Jamie came to me and said this is a job you'd be good at.

Q: Now that you're on it, what's your understanding of your role?

A: I feel it's a service for our conference. A lot of people don't want to do it. It's a pretty crazy time commitment. It gets in your blood.

Q: What does your work on the Committee involve?

A: I started this the spring of last year, traveling to five locations for meetings. We have meetings all year long to do the business of the college basketball tournament. We chose (future) Final Four sites, regional sites, officials, ticket sales, media. That's the thing that surprised me the most, how many different things are involved in it.

Q: So I imagine you'll be a cheerleader on behalf of BYU and the WCC in Indy, huh?

A: No. I'm not allowed to go in when they're voting on BYU if they're in consideration. I can't be in the room. You can't advocate for your school or your conference. It makes sense. Everybody on the committee has a certain number of primary and secondary responsibilities.

Q: What is your area of responsibility on the committee?

A: I have the Missouri Valley Conference, Conference USA, MEAC and the Big Sky. The MEAC and Big Sky usually get just one bid, the Automatic Qualifier. Some conferences might only have one team. The difficulty comes when a favored team loses in its conference tournament. Like Murray State. Murray State was in the Top 25 and lost in their (Ohio Valley) tournament. Do they get in as an at-large now that they're not an AQ?

Q: With all the schools now in your bailiwick, do you have a favorite mascot?

A: St. Joe's. When I was a little kid, my older brother played football at UCLA. I used to go watch UCLA (basketball) in the late 60's under (John) Wooden. They played St. Joe's once and their hawk mascot flapped his wings the entire game.

Q: Not bad. But for my money, you can't beat the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz or the Stormy Petrels of Oglethorpe University or the Anteaters of UC Irvine. But I digress. Since you spend so much time in hotels, do you have a favorite meal, a go-to fave?

A: Desserts, absolutely. I might even eat it first. I like bread pudding. I love ice cream sundaes. Pies. You name it. I don't turn away too many things.

Q: So how is it you don't weigh 400 pounds with all those desserts?

A: I work out a lot. That's the only reason I work out, so I can eat.

Q: What's your routine like? Cardio? Weights? Tire-flipping? Zumba? Brazilian butt-lift?

A: Walking. Long-distance walking. During the week I go for an hour and on the weekend I go for two or three hours. I love, love, love to be out on my own. That's when I do my best thinking. In Utah, you have rivers, mountains. It's beautiful.

Q: Do you have a favorite place to walk around the BYU campus?

A: The Provo River Trail. I can walk seven miles to the lake, 15 miles up the canyon. It's a 15-minute walk from my house to the river.

Q: What's the longest you've walked in one day?

A: Sixteen miles. I want to do 22 this spring.

Q: What have you done lately on the Selection Committee?

A: We had a mock selection three weeks to a month ago. I feel somewhat prepared. It was like a Readers Digest version, four hours as opposed to four or five days. I'm a little anxious. There's a lot riding on it. You want to be prepared. From the middle of the season I started watching games a little more seriously. Now I can size up teams.

Q: Are you prepared for the criticism you and your fellow committee members will receive, no matter how you seed the tournament or which teams you pick or which teams you leave out?

A: It happens every year. I look at the college football playoffs. I think that was a vast improvement over the BCS because of the selection committee.

 

 

 

 

 

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