TTU’s new associate athletic director for development Sara Prinzi has big goals for her new role.
Coming in during the aftermath of COVID-19, Prinzi said raising money with fall athletics being cancelled is the immediate need. Long term though, finding the funding to renovate Tucker Stadium is the big one.
“When other people are building brand new stadiums, the only way that we’re gonna recruit and retain high quality athletes,” Prinzi said. “Most of ours they’re engineers. They’re educators. We want them to come there for that opportunity to play ball and then, get a great education and be successful leaders for tomorrow, the only way we can stay relevant is to keep up.”
However, Prinzi said keeping up could come with a big price tag. Prinzi said the renovations to Tucker Stadium could cost as much as $20 million dollars. Prinzi’s funding plan is to reach out to alumni and community supporters.
“The biggest thing is to just start talking to alumni and supporters of what their vision is and make sure it matches,” Prinzi said. “Show them how they can support us and what dollars are needed to do that.”
Starting fundraising isn’t the only challenge during COVID-19. Prinzi said the day-to-day changes for information makes it hard to plan.
“What you hear out of the OVC and what comes out of the NCAA,” Prinzi said. “Everything is changing daily of requirements to meet and reporting.”
Prinzi said planning for spring football and how basketball will work are among the challenges. As well as, regulations that you can only meet with athletes for 10 minutes.
Sara Prinzi previously worked for the Salvation Army and a Knoxville YMCA. One of the things that brought her to TTU is the #1 ranking among Tennessee colleges for first time college students. Prinzi is a first time college student in her family.