Adjust and adapt.
That has been the way of life for college sports programs the past year. It’s not just the players and the coaches who have had to deal with ever-changing situations during the pandemic, but others behind the scenes as well.
It’s people such as Michael Bowden, director of operations for the UW men’s basketball team. Among his responsibilities is arranging travel logistics.
With schedules often changing this season because of the coronavirus, that proved extra challenging.
It was the hardest for Bowden in November. On Nov. 11 the Huskies announced their schedule, beginning with three games in the Husky Classic on Nov. 25.
On Nov. 21 the Classic was canceled because of COVID-19 issues with the visiting teams. On Nov. 26 it was announced the Huskies had added a game, their first of the season, Nov. 29 against Baylor in Las Vegas.
On Nov. 30 it was announced that the Huskies would stay on in Las Vegas to play UC Riverside on Dec. 1. If all that’s hard to track, consider how it was for Bowden.
“One of the silver linings is that it forces you to be adaptable,” he said. “In a normal year you can plan your travel six months in advance. … Our first trip to Las Vegas was the most challenging.”
Bowden scrambled to find a commercial flight and hotels about 48 hours before the game against Baylor. Then, when the UC Riverside game was added, the team stayed in Las Vegas until flying to Utah for the conference opener Dec. 2.
The changes didn’t end there. A home game against ASU was postponed and later moved to Tempe. A game with Washington State changed dates. Whenever Bowden’s phone rang, he wondered if it was about another schedule change.
Of course, it could have been worse. The UW women’s basketball team had seven games postponed.