The student-athlete experience is a big reason the NCAA continues to tap Dayton to host the First Four games.

Much of the thanks for that work goes to the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau. From a bagpipe welcome off the bus to displaying their school colors and basketball cookies in the lobby, the CVB works with local hotels to greet teams and help with any of their needs.

The goal: create an atmosphere for NCAA First Four teams that mimics the experience of going to the Final Four. And it has worked, as teams repeatedly tout a fantastic experience in Dayton.

In addition to the CVB, other organizations have been long-time supporters of the NCAA First Four.

The Dayton Development Coalition is a sponsor and has been involved with the Big Hoopla and NCAA First Four since the beginning of the event. Various members of its staff have been active on the Local Organizing Committee since day one. And the Dayton International Airport is a major sponsor of the Hoopla STEM Challenge — which uses technology demonstrations and a basketball “hot shot” contest get younger students interested in STEM. The airport also greets many out-of-town guests for the games as they arrive by commercial flights.

Leaders of all three organizations spoke about why they’re so involved in the First Four. This includes: Regina Holman, , interim director of aviation for the city of Dayton, which owns the airport; Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the DDC; and Jacquelyn Powell, president and CEO, of the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau…



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