Feb. 27, 2002
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Washington State will open the 2002 football season in Seattle against the University of Nevada August 31 in a noon non-conference game at the Washington State Football/Soccer Stadium.
WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk and WSU Head Football Coach Mike Price made the announcement Wednesday in a press conference at the Seattle Seahawk marketing office across the street from the stadium, which is in the final stages of construction.
The Cougar game in Seattle, one of 13 WSU has slated for next fall, will be the first collegiate game in the stadium. The Seattle Seahawks play two exhibition games in the stadium prior to WSU's opening game.
Sterk said discussions about playing a game in Seattle actually began shortly after he was hired in August of 2000. "Discussions have been held on several fronts and have included President (V. Lane) Rawlins and other key WSU personnel."
"From the University's standpoint, we need a major presence in the Seattle area every year," Sterk explained. "We have so many students from this area and the largest percentage of our alumni live and work in this area. We can bring that major presence with a football game, unlike any other event."
Currently more than 35 percent of WSU's alumni make their home in the Puget Sound, while 65 percent of the current students attending WSU are from the Puget Sound area.
"This game will give the university the opportunity to bring WSU communities together in the Seattle area for a major function," Sterk added. "This event will provide opportunities for everyone in the Puget Sound to learn about Washington State University, the provider of the best undergraduate education in the state of Washington and world class research that benefits our state and the world. The university will provide a range of activities for current and prospective students, alumni, friends and the Seattle community both before and after the game."
"Season ticket holders, athletic donors, and university donors up to a certain amount, will be receiving information soon," Sterk said. "Ticket renewal forms are going in the mail this week. Basically the first priority will be our season ticket holders, university supporters and Seahawk season ticket holders."
"If someone wants to place an order right now, they can call 1-800-GO-COUGS, select option three, and place their orders," Sterk explained. "There are 68,000 seats so fans can buy as many as they want. We will be able to accommodate everyone. However, there are some categories that will be on hold until May 1, which is the priority ordering deadline for the season ticket holders and donors."
"This will be a great opportunity and a challenge for Cougars to get out and sell this stadium out," Price said. "You wanted us to come over here and play. Now, here's your opportunity," he said to Puget Sound Cougar fans.
Price also said he's been taking advantage of the scheduled game while recruiting players in the area. "I've been recruiting to it for the past month or two," he commented.
Sterk said the ability to play 12 regular season games this year allowed him to preserve the six-game Pullman schedule and still play a home game in Seattle.
"There may be a few years where we can't keep the six game home schedule because of return commitments to non-conference teams, but that is something I want to protect whenever possible," he commented.
"Hopefully playing games like Nevada over here will hook some people who will then want to come to Pullman," said Sterk. "We have over 40,000 alumni in the Seattle area and we want to get those folks back to Pullman as often as possible."
Joining Sterk and Price at the press conference was Steve Eckerson, director of facility sales for First and Goal, one of the organizations associated with the Seahawks that will work with WSU to stage the Nevada game. "We are very pleased there will be an exciting event at the new stadium (WSU-Nevada football), one of the very first non-Seahawk events," Eckerson said.
WSU's 2002 schedule of six games in Pullman includes the annual Apple Cup battle with Washington Nov. 23. Other home games for the Cougars will be Idaho Sept. 7, Montana State Sept. 21, USC Oct 5, Arizona State Nov. 2 and Oregon Nov. 9. The Cougars play at Ohio State Sept. 14 and have Pacific-10 Conference games at California Sept. 28, Stanford Oct. 12, Arizona Oct. 26 and UCLA Nov. 16. WSU finishes up the 2002 season at Hawaii Nov. 30 with a game that does not count in the NCAA-allowed 12-game schedule.
Aug. 31 - Nevada at Seattle
Sept. 7 - Idaho at Pullman
Sept. 14 - Ohio State at Columbus
Sept. 21 - Montana State at Pullman
Sept. 28 - California at Berkeley
Oct. 5 - USC at Pullman
Oct. 12 - Stanford at Stanford
Oct. 19 - open
Oct. 26 - Arizona at Tucson
Nov. 2 - Arizona State at Pullman
Nov. 9 - Oregon at Pullman
Nov. 16 - UCLA at Pasadena
Nov. 23 - Washington at Pullman
Nov. 30 - Hawaii at Honolulu
Current Football Season ticket holders will receive an order form with the season ticket renewal packet that is being mailed this week. The priority deadline is May 1, after which the prime seat locations will be opened to other entities.
Donors (both athletic, non-season ticket holders and general university) who have accumulated 1,000 points or more in WSU's priority system will receive a letter and order form from the athletic department in the next few weeks. The priority deadline is May 1, after which the prime seat locations will be opened to other entities.
WSU Students who purchase an annual sports pass will be admitted to the Nevada game free. Those students who chose not to purchase a sports pass will have the opportunity to purchase a ticket to the game starting August 1.
Alumni and General Public - Those individuals who do not accumulate 1,000 points or more through the point system are encouraged to call 1-800-GO-COUGS and hit option #3. The exact location of this individual's seat location won't be known until after the May 1 deadline passes for our season ticket holders and donors. When the ticket office takes the order, they will code it for the most costly ticket the order is willing to purchase. After the May 1 deadline (we're projecting late May), the person who orders through this avenue will receive a post card from the ticket office indicating their seat location and the process that will be followed in delivering their tickets.