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Shakeela Fowler dribbles

Redbird player Shakeela Fowler dribbles up the court at Redbird Arena during the 2015-2016 season.

Illinois State alum brings MVC tournament to Quad Cities

With the help of an Illinois State alum, the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held in the Quad Cities the next three years.

Joe Taylor at podium

Joe Taylor announces Quad Cities’ partnership with MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

Joe Taylor ’77, the president and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, secured the tournament for the iWireless Center in the Quad Cities from 2016 to 2018. This year’s Hoops in the Heartland tournament will be March 10–13, 2016.

Taylor described this new partnership as engaging a community, not just renting an arena.

“The bureau is excited about the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament,” Taylor said. “We are showcasing our community and we want everyone to have a good experience, and go back home, and tell others about us.”

Taylor has been with the bureau since it started in 1990. The bureau is a destination and marketing organization that promotes tourism to the Quad Cities. Taylor manages a staff of 12 and is responsible for getting people to visit the Quad Cities through tournaments, meetings, conventions, and leisure activities.

The bureau is expecting 10,000 fans, spectators, players, and coaches to arrive in the Quad Cities the week of March 10–13. The 10 MVC women’s basketball teams, including Illinois State, will compete for the conference tournament title.

Illinois State fans are encouraged to travel to the tournament. The official Redbird Rally at Brix in downtown Moline—date and time TBD once the bracket is set—will feature ISU President Larry Dietz, an assistant women’s basketball coach, former Moline-area high school and Illinois State standout Megan McCracken, Reggie Redbird, and performances by Illinois State’s band and cheerleading team.

Joe Taylor sitting with a news anchor on the news

Joe Taylor on the news

Tickets for the MVC tournament are now available at GoRedbirds.com/Tickets.

Working with his alma mater

Each MVC team has been assigned a liaison from the bureau staff. Taylor will proudly be working with his alma mater.

Taylor transferred to Illinois State University in 1975 from Black Hawk College in Moline. He majored in history hoping to teach, but after graduation, he entered the newspaper business. He moved to the tourism industry in 1987.

Taylor said his history degree taught him how to think critically by looking at the past.

“It taught me so much about problem-solving, thinking things through, and really looking for the hidden meaning behind things,” Taylor said. “Often time, things don’t appear to be what they are on the surface, and you have to dig deeper to find so much more.”

To prepare the community for the tournament, Taylor and his staff met with local businesses to inform them of the potential increase in customers. The bureau staff attended the 2015 tournament in St. Charles to promote their 2016 event.

“I think my favorite part is just the excitement,” Taylor said. “It’s not every day that you host a major college conference basketball tournament. We have so many alumni of all the schools in our area, and we are already hearing about alumni coming back to the Quad Cities. Our community is able to be host to great people, and that is what I like most.”

The tournament was previously hosted in St. Charles, Missouri, since 2008.

Learn more at MVCQuadCities.com.

Bridget Anders can be reached at bkander@IllinoisState.edu.

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