RunVermont and KeyBank announced today that the bank will extend its 23-year sponsorship of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon for an additional three years. KeyBank has been the title sponsor of the race since its inception in 1989. The relationship is the second longest marathon-corporate sponsorship arrangement in industry history, surpassed only by John Hancock’s 26-year sponsorship of the Boston Marathon.”We are tremendously proud to be part of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay,’ said Scott Carpenter President of KeyBank’s Vermont District. ‘Nationally, the marathon has earned a high reputation among elite runners, yet the event maintains a community feel, engaging thousands of local runners, hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of spectators. We appreciate the national and local attention the marathon provides our company, as well as the excitement our employees feel participating in the event.”RunVermont Executive Director Peter Delaney said the staff and board of the organization have a deep appreciation for KeyBank’s long-standing partnership. ‘It is a privilege to be affiliated with a well known, community-focused company such as KeyBank,’ Delaney said. “They are a true partner and their consistent support assures we can continue to provide Vermont a great event for years to come.”‘There are very few sponsorships of this magnitude and this longevity in Vermont,’ said Tom Torti, President and Administrative Officer of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. ‘KeyBank’s continuation of this sponsorship shows a real commitment, not only to the event, but to this community.’ The race is estimated to bring in over $3.5 million in economic impact for the northern Vermont area over Memorial Day Weekend each year.Registration for the May 29 race is on record pace and organizers have announced a cap of 8,000 runners, which includes 700 2-Person and 700 3-5 Person Relay Teams. The relay is sold out and the marathon is expected to fill before race day. Runners can register for the 2011 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon at www.vermontcitymarathon.org(link is external).About KeyBank:KeyBank N.A. is one of Vermont’s largest financial services companies. A strong proponent for local economic growth, Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, retirement, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. The company’s businesses deliver their products and services through branches and offices; a network of approximately 1,500 ATMs; telephone banking centers (1.800.KEY2YOU); and a Web site, Key.com, that provides account access and financial products 24 hours a day.About RunVermont:RunVermont is a not-for-profit business focused on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The organization offers competitive and educational programs for adults and children including the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay, the MVP Health Care YAM Scram , FirstRun, Ready, Set, Run! and the Half Unplugged. For more information, visit www.runvermont.org(link is external).
Kevin O’Neill doesn’t know when or how the NCAA will conclude its ongoing investigation of the USC athletic program. But the USC basketball coach knows that his opposition is using the window of uncertainty against him.After hitting the summer recruiting trail, O’Neill said several prospects told him that opposing coaching staffs had negatively recruited against USC by bringing up the investigation. Many even speculated about an eventual punishment for the program.Foundation · Coach Kevin O’Neill said he had to solidify this year’s roster first, which includes the leading returner scorer Dwight Lewis. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily Trojan“[Coaches] are saying we’re going to get everything from a hanging and lynching at noon to receiving the death penalty,” O’Neill said, referring to the NCAA’s harshest form of punishment. In the past 25 years, the Southern Methodist football program is the only Division-1 athletic team to receive the death penalty, which can entail shutting down a program for as many as two years.O’Neill was unable to provide recruits with updates on the ongoing investigation, but said that he told them it was the only real roadblock the program was facing, a key reason he decided to take the job in the first place.“I don’t know what went on before I got here. I’m just concentrating on what happens from here on out,” O’Neill said. “You have a great athletic tradition here, and with the facilities, location and the league, it’s one of those jobs where I think you can compete for a national title.”Whether recruits would respond to O’Neill’s message of moving forward still “remains to be seen,” according to the coach, but his hard work has already proved fruitful.The first-year coach reeled in two commitments over the summer after taking in a one-man recruiting class this year. Curtis Washington, a center from Kentucky, has verbally committed to USC as a rising high school senior, and Gelaun Wheelwright has pledged to join the Trojans in 2011.While making sure his next recruiting classes are well-stocked was important to O’Neill, preventing player defections after the coaching transition was his most important task. The mission took him across the country and even overseas to meet with players’ families.“We had to stabilize our roster and get this year’s team straight,” O’Neill said. “The blueprint is to concentrate on skill development with the guys who are here.”All of the returning players who had not elected to enter the NBA draft decided to stay on board, including forward Marcus Johnson. Despite being granted another year of eligibility, the senior had flirted with the idea of playing professionally before eventually deciding to stay at USC.But the team will still have to find a way to stir the interest of the public, which was apathetic for long stretches of last season’s NCAA Tournament team. Attendance at the Galen Center dwindled as the regular season drew to a close, and O’Neill believes there’s only one way to improve it.“You just have to win. That’s the way it is in a pro city,” O’Neill said. “If you win, people come out.”USC’s schedule, however, may prove humbling for the team in the early going. The Trojans must travel to Texas and play host to Tennessee; both teams are expected to be ranked in the top 10 when preseason polls are released. A rematch in Atlanta with Georgia Tech, which is expected to be greatly improved as it welcomes freshman phenom Derrick Favors to an already talented team, is also on the schedule.The schedule was likely devised when the team believed it would have fewer NBA defections and more incoming recruits, O’Neill said, but the team has to press forward.“They’re still going to be tipping it up on those days no matter what,” O’Neill said.Despite all of the challenges he faces in his first year, O’Neill received a vote of confidence from a friend and former colleague.“He’ll do really well there at USC and make the Pac-10 that much tougher,” said Josh Pastner, who served as an assistant coach to O’Neill at Arizona in 2007 and is now the head coach at Memphis. “Everyone’s saying they’re down, but I think they have some good talent coming back. With Kevin coaching, they’re going to be in every game and have a chance to win every time.”