March 17, 2008
Sunday, March 16, was an historic day for the Washington State University men's basketball program and the entire athletic department.
With our selection to the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars earned a berth to the tournament for the second consecutive year, an unprecedented achievement.
The significance of this cannot be overstated. Think about it for a moment. Since the tournament was established in 1939, nearly 70 years ago, this has never happened in school history. I would like to congratulate Tony Bennett, his staff, and the players for this remarkable accomplishment.
And as the basketball team has continued its excellence with its play, so have you in the manner in which you have supported our coaches and players.
I would like to congratulate you--Cougar alumni, current students, fans and supporters--for your backing of the basketball team despite one of the worst winters the eastern Washington region has experienced in years.
Following a season where we set one of the highest attendance figures at Friel Court in over a decade, you have come out to support the Cougars in even greater numbers this season. Men's basketball games at Friel Court drew an average of 9,237 fans in 2007-08, an increase of nearly 2,400 from last year's average. This doesn't even take into account the 12,471 fans who attended the Cougar Hardwood Classic between WSU and The Citadel at Seattle, Dec. 21.
This attendance figure reflects the investment you have made in supporting the men's basketball team. I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for this support and to share with you some of the investments we have made to both of our basketball programs in recent years.
Along with the hiring of new coaching staffs with enhanced salary structures, a practice facility exclusively for the men's and women's teams opened, and the men's basketball coaching staff recently moved into new offices adjacent to the practice facility. Additionally, the locker rooms at Beasley Coliseum were remodeled.
Whether you are an alumnus or alumna, student, fan, or supporter, you are paramount in helping our student-athletes succeed, and you play a significant role in the continued development of the basketball programs. You demonstrated this the past two seasons through your attendance, and you showed it last year with your support of the A.D's Fund for Basketball Excellence.
As a refresher, the excellence fund was created to assist the department's ongoing effort to enhance the men's and women's basketball programs and their facilities. A portion of these funds has already been directed to provide the latest in technology, such as a video system for the practice facility and upgraded equipment in the basketball offices, for our coaching staffs to utilize.
Through this fund, the development of our facilities will continue this summer. We will direct a portion of the funds toward the remodeling of locker rooms at Bohler Athletic Complex. In addition, some funds will be directed to the installation of a HydroWorx system (underwater treadmill and resistance jets for joint-friendly training or conditioning), which will be constructed just east of the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. This system helps all of our student-athletes with rehabilitation from injuries and overall training.
In addition to the facility enhancements, we want to ease the travel burden on our staffs by chartering planes for recruiting trips or the more grueling team trips that can occur during the course of a season. Additionally, in order to reduce travel during the non-conference season, we are committed to bringing opposing teams to Pullman, and we can do this by utilizing funds to guarantee home games.
The aforementioned facility developments and program improvements will assist our men's basketball program to continue its excellence from last year and help provide our women's team a foundation to begin its tradition of excellence.
As you have continued your excellence by supporting the program through your attendance, I ask that you continue the excellence established last year through your donations to the A.D.'s Fund for Basketball Excellence by supporting the fund this year.
Please join me in our commitment to the Washington State University basketball programs. If you would like to make a donation, please call the Athletic Foundation office at 1-877-IMA-COUG or 509-335-0220 or mail a check, specifying your donation be directed to the A.D.'s Fund for Basketball Excellence, to:
Washington State University
P.O. Box 641602
Pullman, WA 99164-1602
To donate online simply click here: