Legendary ASU track & field coach Senon 'Baldy' Castillo passes

January 31, 2009

Senon `Baldy' Castillo, one of the most respected coaches in his profession and the head coach of the Arizona State University track and field program for nearly three decades, passed away at his home in Phoenix on Saturday, January 31. Castillo, who turned 90 on January 19, was at home with his family at the time of his passing.

"I feel Baldy really signified not only the golden-era of ASU track and field, but also the golden-era of Arizona State Athletics and he will be sorely missed," Greg">http://thesundevils.cstv.com/sports/c-track/mtt/kraft_greg00.html">Greg Kraft, Director of Track & Field at ASU, said. "It was coaches like Baldy and Coach [Frank] Kush and Coach [Ned] Wulk that really made Arizona State athletics attractive to the Pac-10 and, without coaches like Baldy, we wouldn't have been able to make that transition into the programs we are today. Obviously, you can't exaggerate the importance he had on not only the Arizona State track and field program, but the athletic department as a whole. We certainly have lost a true legend of the sport. He will certainly be missed by the entire Sun Devil family." Download Full Image

The leader of the Sun Devils for 29 years (1949-82), Castillo led his squad to the 1977 NCAA Outdoor Championship, the only national men's team title in program history until the 2008 Sun Devils captured their crown. Known to lead his student-athletes with a low pressure approach, his athletes collected 10 individual NCAA titles and 34 All-America accolades on the national scene before competing on the international scene and collecting 13 Olympic medals. Castillo saw 24 of his athletes compete in eight Summer Olympiads and collect seven gold medals, including both Ulis Williams and Henry Carr running on the winning 4x400m relay.

A United States Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee in 2000, Castillo's group of sprinters, also known as `Baldy's Blazers', made a name for themselves throughout his tenure. His 4x400m relay of Williams, Carr, Ron Freeman and Mike Barrick combined to run 3:04.5 in 1963 and set the world record. Freeman, like Williams and Carr, would go on to add a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the 1968 Olympic Games.

The 1977 season was perhaps his greatest in Tempe as the sprinters once again torched the track. That year, the Sun Devils captured their first national team title and saw nine athletes combine to collect seven individual All-American honors and two more in the relays. Herman Frazier won the 400m dash and Kyle Arney was the national champion in the high jump while the 4x100m and 4x400m relays both took national runner-up honors. The Sun Devils also added runner-up finishes in the 200m dash and the 110m high hurdles.

Prior to their championship run, the Castillo's sprinters made a name for themselves at the 1977 Penn Relays as all 11 Sun Devils that entered the prestigious meet returned to Tempe with a first place watch around their wrists. At that meet, ASU captured all three sprint relays and added another five individual event titles.

Castillo's knowledge of the sport did not stop on the track, however. Described by many as a dedicated field event technician, Castillo worked with four Olympic javelin throwers, including Mark Murro, who set the American record in the event with a toss of 300-feet, a record that stood for more than one decade. Details of service arrangements are forthcoming.

ASU responds to state budget deal

January 31, 2009

Statement by ASU President Michael Crow

The revised Fiscal Year 2009 budget passed by the state legislature has singled out the state’s universities for the largest cuts. It deals a devastating blow to ASU, U of A, and NAU, to all our students, to every citizen in this state who wants to see a child or grandchild have a quality university education. Download Full Image

While some have described these cuts as small, they have, in fact, set in motion a Force 4 financial hurricane whose destructive force has not yet begun to be felt. Our nation is fighting two wars it cannot afford to lose – one against terrorism and a second against an economic recession so deep it may take several years or more to overcome.

At the very time our nation is calling its universities to action in this most important of economic battles, Arizona has gone in the opposite direction, the equivalent of grounding the state’s economic air force in the hope that we can fight a high-tech economic war on horseback.

Since June 2008 the reduction of state investment in ASU has been $88 million or 18 percent of the university’s base state funding in a single fiscal year.

ASU’s per-student funding from the state general fund has now been reduced to what it was 10 years ago:

• $7,976 in 2008
• $6,476 in 1998
• $6,500 for 2009

This amounts to having more than 30,000 of our 67,000 students with no state investment whatsoever.

Consider also what we have already done to meet these cuts:

• More than 550 staff positions eliminated, including four deans positions and at least two dozen academic department chair positions
• More than 200 faculty associate positions eliminated
• Ten- to 15-day furloughs for all employees, including the entire senior administration, deans, varsity coaches and faculty.
• The consolidation of nearly a half dozen schools and of almost two dozen academic departments.
• A reduction in the number of nursing students the university can admit
• A wide variety of cost-saving measures from the reduction of purchases, to energy conservation to a hiring freeze.

To respond to this new budget we still need another $13-15 million in cuts to take. That could mean eliminating another 1,000 jobs, closing a campus, restricting enrollment next fall and increasing tuition and fees.

As bad as all this is, we must all understand that the state’s budget challenges do not end with the Fiscal Year 2009 budget. Another large deficit looms for Fiscal Year 2010. But we don’t have to repeat the devastation of the 2009 budget.

With the availability of federal economic stimulus funds and other revenue enhancements available to the state and to the university, the 2010 budget does not have to add more severe cuts on top of the ones taken this year.

ASU has contributed four of our leading economists and public policy experts to a group being assembled by the Arizona Board of Regents from all three universities to work on recommendations for the FY10 budget.

Gary Campbell

Media Relations and Marketing Manager , Fulton Schools of Engineering