2017 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day: Oregon and Oregon State share private jet to get to Media Day
SAN FRANCISCO – Travel partners are not a new concept in the Pac-12 basketball world. Cal and Stanford, USC and UCLA and so on make road trips at the same time, so it’s not uncommon for rivals to run into each other at the airport going to and from other Pac-12 destinations.
Sharing a private jet ride together, though? That’s what the Oregon and Oregon State men’s basketball teams did to try to make it to 2017 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day Thursday in San Francisco on time.
That wasn’t the original plan, as Oregon and Oregon State were scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area Wednesday night on a commercial flight. However, the flight kept getting delayed; the rain up in Eugene and the devastating fires in the North Bay didn’t help matters.
Eventually the Ducks and Beavs realized they would have to fly down Thursday morning once TSA closed down at the Eugene Airport for the evening before the teams could get through security. That meant Oregon and Oregon State were going to be in a crunch to get to media day on time, so the Papé family donated a private jet that the teams could use to fly down to the Bay Area (the Papé’s are big Oregon donors; Papé Field is the university’s facility for women’s soccer).
“That was hard to do, but it worked out alright,” Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman quipped about sharing a jet with the Beavers.
Altman might not have let on about his generosity, but since the plane was given by Oregon donors, it wasn’t like the Beavers just hopped on. Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle said that Altman invited Tinkle, junior forward Drew Eubanks and junior forward Stephen Thompson Jr. on board to join Altman, sophomore guard Payton Pritchard and redshirt senior guard Elijah Brown.
“I think I called it Air Force Dana,” Tinkle joked. “It was really, really nice and gracious of him to include us on that, otherwise it would have been real tough to get down here.”
As evidenced by Altman’s and Tinkle’s comments, the Ducks and Beavers made it to San Francisco in time to chat with the media contingent, taking off around 8:55 a.m. from Eugene and landing in Oakland at 10:15 a.m. before making the 40-minute drive to the Pac-12 offices.
The teams might be Civil War rivals, but they didn’t seem to mind sharing a plane ride with the enemy. Players on both sides said they mostly slept on the flight down, outside of sharing a joke here and there. The coaches, dare I say, were…helping each other out?
“I got Dana to serve me coffee, it was great,” Tinkle said.