Rebranding Washington St. athletics
Washington State’s athletic director Bill Moos came to Washington State with a vision of excellence and a rigid plan towards reaching that goal. Following the 2012 football season the first steps towards rebranding Cougar athletics began.
The Cougar Football Project is a massive two-phase remodel aimed at giving the Pac-12’s smallest and most architecturally inept stadium a facelift.
Martin Stadium has been long overdue for renovation and on November 18th of last year, the WSU board of regents approved the $80 million renovation overwhelmingly.
The project is largely going to be funded by the new $3 billion Pac-12 TV contract that nets WSU nearly $15 million a year.
According to school administrators, the project will also rely on revenues from the athletic system to make debt payments along with state appropriated funds.
One of the biggest contributors to the project is Xtreme Consulting Group CEO Greg Rankich who graduated from the WSU College of Business in 1994.
Early this year, Rankich pleasantly surprised Moos and WSU with a very generous $3 million dollar donation – the largest in school history – towards the Cougar Football Project.
The school, students, and overall quality of the university were the main reasons that Rankich donated the large sum.
“Regardless if you care about football or sports in general, a football program is the highest visibility program for most universities. Success raises the overall visibility,” Rankich said.
“If you have success on the field it drives more research dollars, it drives more donations; drives more students wanting to go there; and drives the quality of students because now the university can be selective in who gets accepted and who doesn’t.”
The first phase of the project, the Southside Project, will replace the old press box above the grandstands on the south side of the stadium.
The massive structure dwarfs the previous setup and will include, in addition to the press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room.
Construction on the Southside Project began the Monday following the final home game of the 2011 season – an overtime loss to Utah.
The project has moved along swiftly and Moos expects fans to be enjoying the new amenities in time for the home opener against Eastern Washington on September 8th.
The second phase of the project, the West End-Zone Project, is in the planning stages of constructing a Football Operations building where the large video screen now stands.
The building would centralize everything within the Cougar football program including new weight rooms, offices, meeting rooms, and alumni centers.
The Regents have not yet approved the phase two project but administrators figure to move forward with a proposal sometime this summer.
The administration will need to assess the financials surrounding the project based on network revenues, donations, and athletic revenues.
Upon approval, the building would begin construction following the 2012 season and would take about 15 months to complete.
“This is the beginning of a very important stage for Washington State University and it’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics,” Moos said. “I’m thrilled and excited to see the project moving forward and I’m looking forward to our progress.”