Pima College hopes football travel nightmare ‘just adds to the story’ | Tuscon.com

Upon first reading, you might think that this is a DFO’s nightmare being described. Unfortunately, it is real. And unfortunately, things like this happen more often than you’d think. Think a good operations person is worth their weight in travel vouchers?

Before Pima College’s final football season began, coach Jim Monaco planned a treat.

He and his team would fly — not drive — to Ephraim, Utah, for Saturday’s road game against Snow College. The Aztecs would bus to Phoenix in the morning, hop on a flight to Salt Lake City, play Snow that evening, sleep in the airport and fly back Sunday morning.

Monaco’s math showed the luxurious (for junior college) arrangements would come at no extra cost. The cost of airfare would be negated by the money the Aztecs saved on hotel rooms and per diems.

But when Monaco asked his assistant to double-check the flight information with Southwest Airlines on Tuesday, he received a shock. Pima put down a nonrefundable deposit of $6,800 before the season, but had not paid the remaining balance. The deposit was gone, and so were any chances of flying in style.

“I blow my gasket first,” Monaco said, “and then I say, ‘Timeout. Let’s find out what’s going on.’”

Monaco and offensive assistant Landon Wasson skipped Tuesday’s practice to find a solution. At 7 p.m. that night, Pima baseball coach Ken Jacome stuck his head in Monaco’s office and told him of a friend who runs a bus company in Albuquerque. The price was right — $29,000 round trip — but the bus company was booked.

Pima was facing fourth-and-long on Wednesday morning when athletic trainer April Jessee began Googling charter bus companies. GoGo Charters had exactly two vehicles available — a 56-passenger bus and one 25-passenger bus.

Pima was in, at a cost of about $28,000 — plus the $6,800 lost deposit.

“So, now we’re going our old way that we always go,” Monaco said. “We’re going up, we’re going to stay the night in Richfield, we’re going to beat Snow, we’re going to come home and take a nap.”

Read the entire article at Tucson.com.

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