It takes a village to host NCAA championships

It’s no secret why Georgia is hosting the NCAA tennis championships for a 28th year. 

It’s also not an easy feat to earn the privilege of hosting the nation’s winner-take-all postseason format.

Matt Brachowski, associate athletic director of event management, he hasn’t been at Georgia for all 27 years it’s hosted the championships, he knows the drill.

It all starts with staffing the event. 

Brachowski and the rest of Georgia’s athletic department have faced the task of finding seasonal help for the event, and there are those who take time out of the month of May to help make the tournament what it is. 

“Everyone realizes the significance of this event and really wants to put Athens and UGA in the forefront of college tennis and make this an experience these teams will never forget,” Brachowski said. “There’s a lot of folks that want to help and do that really well for us.”

Brachowski doesn’t limit the term “folks” to solely staff, but rather extends it to community members in Athens.

“We engage a lot of families in the community to help,” Brachowski said. “They don’t sponsor teams, but they work with teams that need assistance with where things are — maybe around town. For 32 teams, that’s a lot of people to help.”

It may not sound like much, but it helps to have families around to point teams in the right direction. Those families also help the home team.

“To bring a lot of these people on campus and see the facilities that we have to offer,” Brachowski said. “I think we put on a well-run and established event and I think people really enjoy coming to Athens and UGA. The number of years that we’ve been able to host I think showed the commitment that we have for this event, and certainly for our teams it’s an ideal location for them to play — in front of Athens and UGA fans. The support they get from playing in front of the home crowd is certainly a benefit for us.”

Volunteers are a large part of Georgia’s hosting success, but they can’t do all the work. A university normally finds out if it will host the NCAA championships two or three years in advance. Then, Brachowski and his co-workers are devoted to finding the right crew of workers to keep the tournament running smoothly. 

It’s a lot of people, but Brachowski says he often sticks with the workers he knows. 

“Concessions specifically is handled by the company that does that for all of our other events and during regular season events. Same thing with (our) merchandise partner,” Brachowski said. “They handle that throughout the year, so those aspects are handled by those staffs.”

Safety is a high priority as well. 

“We get brought in with the ticket taker, your ticket seller, your parking attendants, to hire staff who controls seating locations, to hire ushers and work with UGA police department for security at the events as well as security by another contractor as well,” Brachowski said.

After so many years of hosting, Georgia has this whole staffing thing down.

“Certainly the community provides a lot of support and always has for tennis and this event,” Brachoswki said. “We’ve grown over the last few years of finding that group of volunteers to assist us.”

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Includes full statement from UGA after decision RT NCAA doesn’t reduce Gurley suspension on Georgia appeal http://t.co/BRj6MY6obY #UGA

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