Archive for the ‘Martin Stadium Renovation Campaign’ Category

Stadium Update (Really!)

August 3, 2009


Hello followers. Hope you all had a very calming and relaxing weekend.

Well, as brother Sean alluded to last week, I’ve been in deep conversation with the WSU Athletic Department over the past week or so about our campaign to help raise money for Martin Stadium. (This truly is not a joke!)

And here is the latest news:

First of all, many of the fine details of the overall effort are still being worked out, and for that reason, I really can’t give you all any specifics about the ins and outs of the whole deal.

What I can tell you is that the campaign is going to be much bigger and much more central to the overall Stadim development plan than we could have ever realized when we launched the idea of a campaign earlier in the year. In fact, the effort portends to be so big, that I am giving our brethren at the Athletic Department, four solid Carma Chameleons for all of their work and vision in putting this whole thing together!

I can also tell you that REAL time line for the launch of this campaign is the first two weeks in September.

With that in mind, we have two requests of the faithful over the coming weeks (again, this is NOT a joke):

1) Take some real time with your family members and business partners and budget out what you can give to this campaign. We want to make an early splash to generate publicity with the media, so please be ready to give whatever you can in the campaign’s early days.

2) Start to identify people who have not yet frequented the WSU sports blogosphere who might be willing to get involved. Currently, we think we have about 700 who frequent this blog regularly. Out of this 700, we’d like to generate anywhere from two to three thousand donors for the effort. Translation: that means that each of us is responsible for getting three or four others on board with us.

So, over the coming weeks, get your contact lists together. In no uncertain terms, we all have a chance to make history here. Lets makes sure we take advantage of the opportunity to move our university and football program into the 21st Century!

Now, onto football….

Followers, as training camp nears, I wanted to take a moment to talk about our beloved position of Quarterback. And believe me, I’d like to approach this subject with a bit more maturity than I did when I had a different incarnation.

So, with that in mind, I want you all to know that I am going to broach the issue of Kevin Lopina DIRECTLY only one time this season: Today.

As those who followed this blog during the Alex Brink era know, I was much too quick and harsh to blame Alex for all of the things that he couldn’t do on the football field. And that was a big mistake on my part. Instead, I should have blamed the coaches, and not Alex, for not recognizing that other options needed to be explored sooner-rather-than-later in order for us to shake our losing ways. So, I want to be particularly sensitive in how I approach the possibility of another QB controversy that again could threaten the welfare of our beloved program.

Anyhow, where Kevin is concerned, I have been FEVERISHLY researching stats that WSU and the Pac-10 keep on quarterbacks in order to find Kevin’s current place in both Cougar and Pac-10 Lore. And, while I did not find what I was looking for (they don’t keep much on futility), I am also pretty confident in saying that through his 8 starts last year, a solid case has to be made that Kevin Lopina is on track to be the worst quarterback with a near season’s worth of starts in Pac-10 history.

Now, before this turns any more negative about Kevin, there are two really big things that I want everyone to remember about Good Ole Number Nine.

1) Kevin led the good ship “Don’t Quit” last year when everyone else on the team and university was driving out of town. IF this program ever gets turned around, Kevin Lopina will be known as one of the principle leaders who made the program’s return happen.

2) After exhibiting one of the single WORST performances of any quarterback in Apple Cup history, Lopina nutted up BIG TIME on that last drive to save the game, the season, and possibly the program.

Seriously all, think about it: What would we all be talking about right now if Lopina hadn’t come through in that game? Would ANYONE who even sniffs this Blog pick us higher than 10th if we had finished last year 1-12? Would we have lost most of our incoming recruiting class??

So, Kevin, Fans and Supporters of Kevin, and others in the Kevin Cosmos, please know that on one hand, your back is totally covered on this blog. And for that, four Carma Chameleons for you, my brother.

At the same time, the sample size is large enough to know that Kevin doesn’t have the goods to be a good Pac-10 Quarterback. And, while I sense that the coaching staff would suggest that Kevin does a good job now of making reads and not turning the ball over, I am also pretty certain that “not turning the ball over” also means not trying to make a whole lot of plays (e.g. LOSING). Furthermore, when you’re trying to hit a WR on a 10yard “in” and he runs a 12 yard out–well, it doesn’t really matter much how talented you are, does it? And trust me, faithful, we’re going to see a lot of W-T-F routes run by our WRs in the first six weeks.

In short, as we all head toward the start of Fall Camp, it is important to remind ourselves about what this season is about:

1a) Improvement
1b) Improvement that leads directly to having a real shot at winning NEXT year.

Because Kevin is a senior, there’s not much that he can do as a starter to contribute to 1b–at least in my book. So, with that in mind, let me say the following for the first and last time this year:

1) Kevin should not start
2) We will not win more than one game if Kevin starts
3) We will not build for the future if Kevin starts
4) Wulff will find himself unneccesarily with VERY unstable job security at the end of the year if Kevin starts.

So, given the above four parts of the Sutra’s “Number 9 Axiom”, I have 100% convinced myself that because the above seems so completely obvious to me and the rest of the universe, Kevin will NOT play much this year.

Consequently, as you all read my predictions and opinions for our team this year, please know that #9 is not figuring into my plans or visions for our beloved team.

With that all in mind, please stay tuned tomorrow for a great DB preview by Sean and then I’ll have Lucas’ takes on the upcoming schedule and season on Wednesday.

And to all, a harty “Coug-De-L’Amor.”

-Osho Rojo

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Campaign Heating Up?

June 9, 2009

Greetings, Cougar Nation. Hope you all are having a great week.

Well, as many of you know, we have been “involved” for the past few months in trying to generate an on-line giving campaign to help complete phase three of the Martin Stadium renovation project.

And, as most of you also know, I, Sir BH, have basically taken the roll of being the bride who is left waiting aimlessly for the big dog (e.g. The Athletic Foundation) to meet me at the alter.

So, last week, I had had enough of the waiting and put up a post that reflected my frustration.

Then, within an hour of the start of the work day, our best friend and comrade, Justin Felker got back to me. So, I took down the post. A week after that (yesterday), he got back to me again with an update.

So, here it is:

Currently, staff from the Athletic Foundation are working to create a shadow site/portal that will be used by our site and others to solicit and receive the on-line donations that will comprise our little campaign. While no one is talking firm dates at this point, I am hopeful that we will have something up and running by the 4th of July.

So, with that in mind, I hope that you all will stick a five spot (or more) in the ole Piggy Bank today:

Our day of helping to re-build our program and its infrastructure from the bottom up is truly forthcoming.

Have a great week, y’all.


The Waiting..

May 15, 2009

Greetings Cougar Nation. Hope you all had a good week.

Well, as promised–albeit one week late–here is the update I have on our progress to help the athletic department generate a grassroots campaign to help fund Martin Stadium:

Yep, just like Tom Petty, BH has been all dressed up with no where to go.

So, while we wait for a response from the Athletic Department (the waiting is truly the hardest part), I have a question for you all..

In my conversation two weeks ago with persons high up in the AD chain of command, I was told of their interest in directing our donations to the fund that provides scholarships to our student-athletes. The reason: the state budget cuts are dipping heavily into the coffers that fund the scholarships that we need to provide the breadth of athletic competition that is commensurate with a major conference like the Pac.

At first, I thought “no way.” But, after thinking about it, I find myself warming up to the idea–at least a bit.

So, while we wait for an update, we would like to hear your “last word” on how you would like your money used to support Cougar Athletics. If we do the Martin Stadium thing, we would theoretically get quarterly information back from the WSU Athletic Foundation as follows:

1) Total gifts received
2) Total gifts pledged
3) Number of First Time Donors
4) Number of New Members to the Cougar Club (or whatever the hell its called)
5) Amount of money left to be raised.

If, however, we do the scholarship thing, we will track all of the above plus:

1) Number of scholarships provided to WSU student athletes.

Again, let us know what direction you would like to take. Its a big hill to climb anyway that we cut it. But, your wishes are our command.

Have a great weekend.

Still a Week Away

May 1, 2009

Greetings, Cougar Nation. Hope you’ve had a really great week.

Well, as promised, I had my conversation with the brass from the WSU Athletic Department today regarding our announcement to help spearhead a grassroots funding campaign for Martin Stadium.

Rest assured, Cougar Faithful, that the Administration at the Athletic Foundation are jazzed about YOUR enthusiasm and support for WSU athletics. And when I say jazzed, I mean JAZZED (like Diamond Neil style circa “the Jazz Singer” for you youngins out there)….

They are also surprisingly willing to listen to my bird brain ideas about creating a process that allows the “Web Fans” who frequent the WSU Sports Cyber community to witness the fruits of their giving and labor by creating a few wrinkles to their existing funding apparatus.

So, I will be talking again with officials from the Athletic Department this time next week to move toward finalizing some details about the structure and layout of the link we (all WSU sports websites) can use to kick this campaign into high gear.

In the meantime, if there’s input about how you would like to see this process set up, or if there is specific information regarding information you would like to know about individual or collective giving via this campaign please let us know.

And from all of us at the WSU Football Blog, thanks in advance for making 2009-2010 the most memorable year in the history of WSU Athletics. Just think, in 2010-2011 we might be both solvent AND good.


Sterk Stays Above it All, Plus Other Stuff

April 29, 2009


So we all saw the comments from Scott Woodward, UW AD, over their failure in Olympia to secure taxpayer dollars towards their $300 million dollar renovation. For a refresher, Woodward said he held out “remote hope” that something could be done, but knew they were up against it.

“How do you lay off teachers and cut back on programs and then build a stadium?” Woodward said Monday in commenting publicly on the bill’s failure for the first time. “That was the psychological disconnect that a lot of people had a hard time getting around and I understand that wholeheartedly.”

Fair enough. The guy understood that times are tight, and politically this was going to be an extremely hard sell. But he didn’t stop there. When asked about the loud, mouthy WSU alums who had the audacity to actually speak out against UW’s request of using taxpayer funds towards their massive renovation? “It was just an irritant, that’s the best way to put it.”

I’m sure it was irritating. Irritating, as would any individual or group when they complain to the legislature that they oh, I don’t know, might want to second-guess handing over dollars for what would become a single-purpose facility, hosting six or seven events a year? But it’s understandable that Woodward would be irritated. I was irritated, and I’m a WSU guy!

But then, something happened. Instead of taking the high road and ending it there, Woodward lashed out at Jim Sterk and Elson Floyd. “The most disappointing thing about it is that [WSU president] Elson Floyd and [WSU athletic director] Jim Sterk didn’t do anything to try to contain that little group of Cougars that were out there doing that. It was a shame that they didn’t show leadership or courage to curtail something like that.”

Whoa.

Think Jim Sterk took this lying down? He didn’t. Per Grippi yesterday evening, Sterk responded to the call-out:

“It was so inappropriate that I laughed, basically,” Sterk said Tuesday. “I could not believe those comments were coming from him. One, to me as athletic director but then, two, to the president of the university.”

Does it even need to be said?? IT IS SO ON! But there was more, much more.

Washington State made a decision to not get involved in light of the financial stresses on a state legislature dealing with a $9-billion deficit.

“WSU felt it was not appropriate for the institution, for us to ask for any stadium support during this legislative session,” Sterk said. “The legislature and the governor, they were already facing all the significant challenges of the economic crisis. So that’s why we didn’t take a position.

“When the economy improves and if the legislature and the governor change their minds on stadium funding, as long as it’s fair to both institutions, WSU would join UW in the discussions.”

There’s more in the article, so we highly encourage you all to check it out.

Obviously this is a WSU blog. So can you guess what our reaction would be to all this?? But even taking the view from 10,000 feet, it’s clear. Sterk was right all along, and he’s right again here. It was always in WSU’s best interests to stay out of the way on this one. The university was right in the idea of watching how this whole thing plays out, and then, act accordingly. If UW gets access to the treasure trove of tax dollars, well, you can bet Elson Floyd and Jim Sterk will be running up the steps in Olympia, plans in hand, ready to ask for help. Until then, things will proceed as normal, with private donations as the backbone of our renovation.

Sterk’s comments were direct, to the point, and most importantly, STILL ABOVE THE FRAY. He clearly had a chance to return some nasty fire over the Cascades, yet chose to do what he’s done all along. He responded, yet still refused to get in the mud. And you know what happens when you mud wrestle with a pig? You both get dirty, and the pig is happy. It just isn’t worth it. BRAVO JIM STERK!

Moving on, hey, remember the photo contest? Well, we’re down to the LAST COUPLE OF DAYS OF VOTING. We’re up to around 300 votes right now, and it’s pretty tight…

“Mama Sledge”, the mother of rising Coug linebacker Mike Ledgerwood, has a slight lead over “Devard Daaaughling”. But “Bone the Dawgs” is lurking, just a few votes back. Polls close at 11:59 PM tomorrow, April 30th. Check out the link for the finalists, and keep voting. Good luck!

Lost in all the fray over stadiums, dollars, etc, was Grippi’s STRONG spring wrap-up for WSU football. Grippi looks at each position, and weighs in with his “Player to Watch”, “Unanswered Question”, “Time to Step Up”, and “What the coordinator said”. It’s a really good wrap on a spring that, let’s face it, didn’t go according to plan. Not when there were so many freakin’ injuries. I guess the good news is that it doesn’t appear that any of the nicks and cuts suffered by so many players weren’t of the season-ending variety. At least in April, it looks like most of the guys who were out will be ready to go by August. But we’ll see about that.

The most encouraging thing is that, according to Chris Ball in Grippi’s article, the culture is starting to take. Proof of that could be the big change in so many players’ weights, showing that the hard work in the weight room and at the training table was starting to mesh:

“We’ve instilled our culture,” defensive co-coordinator and associate head coach Chris Ball said. “With instilling our culture, the kids understand what to expect out of practice. When we come out here and coach, we’re coaching ball, not coaching how to run on-and-off the field. They’re doing that stuff.”

Sounds like light-years from last year, where they were so far behind they were teaching players how to get into a proper three-point stance?? And as Grippi has said on a few occasions while freezing his behind off for many practices….the team is, in fact, more physical, something we never heard last season. Physical in football is VERY, VERY GOOD! But they still have a full fall camp to survive. August is going to be hot and intense. Let’s hope they save some in the tank for Stanford in early September, and beyond??

Finally, we are hopeful the fund-raising idea can get finalized in the next couple of days. We will have an update for you, of some kind, probably on Friday. Until then, enjoy your Wednesday, and GO COUGS!

Announcement: Calling Cougar Nation

April 28, 2009

Greetings Cougar Nation. Hope you all are having a great week.

So, as the mighty header above indicates, today we are calling on you.

Yes, YOU!!!!

Why are we calling?

Because its high time that we, the WSU sports website community, step up to the plate.


What plate you ask?

THE MONEY RAISING PLATE.

And so, I announce to you all today, that sometime in the next few weeks, we will have a big, fat link at the upper right hand corner of this here blog. And that link is where you, me, and the rest of Cougar Nation will be able to donate our hard earned chump change for one huge goal of the football program you love – to help complete the construction of Phase III of Martin Stadium.

Not only will this next phase go a long way towards securing our membership in the coveted PAC-10 conference. But at the same time, you can feel really good about your standing in, and contribution to, the WSU football program. And oh yeah, when it’s all said and done, one heck of a beautiful game-day setting, right in the heart of campus! A setting that you, Cougar football fan, can always be proud of.

Now, this is different than what you currently see at WSUCougars.com. That link is for a donation to the WSU Athletic Foundation. But this new link will be specifically for the renovation of Martin Stadium.

With that in mind, here are a few choice FAQs of what the heck we’re actually talking about:

1) WHERE WILL THE PROCEEDS FROM THE DONATIONS GO?

Obviously, all proceeds will go to the WSU Athletic Foundation (who will also manage the account as noted below). This is all on the up-and-up. But as we already stated, each donation will be directed specifically for Martin Stadium Renovation, and nothing else.

The reason for earmarking these funds specifically toward football and the stadium is to not only support the next phase of the renovation. But because football generates the majority of revenues for the Athletic Department. And it is that sport – football – that is the primary focal point for the majority of the indicators needed to retain our standing in the Pacific-10 conference.

This message has been clear, right from the PAC-10 – upgrade Martin Stadium, or face a very unpleasant vote by the conference members.

2) WHO WILL MANAGE THE SITE?

In the coming days, I will be speaking with person(s) from the WSU Athletic Department to finalize these details. But in a nutshell, the link will send you directly to a Pay-Pal account managed by the WSU Athletic Foundation. The title of the account will be something like “Martin Stadium Online Contributions”, or “WSU Football Stadium Contributions to Excellence”, something of that nature. This will enable everyone from the online WSU community to see the fruits of their labor. And as far as keeping tabs on this money, we would like to get at least a quarterly report from the foundation on how it is going. Details like this will be ironed out shortly.

3) WHICH WEBSITES WILL PARTICIPATE?

This hasn’t been finalized. But, our hope is that the link and advertisement for the account would be provided by ALL of the WSU fansites in the online universe. This includes Cougfan.com, Cougzone.com, Cougcenter.com, WitchesofEastman.blogspot.com, and the like.

The idea is to provide a quick and easy portal from which all readers and fans of WSU Football can donate what they can, when they are so inclined. This will benefit WSU, which should be the ultimate goal of all the fansites on the Internet. We are not doing this for any self-serving reason. We just want to help, and this is the way we want to go.

4) WHY IS THIS PARTICULAR SITE NEEDED?

Well, for several reasons.

First, our athletic department is in serious trouble (duh). From budget cuts handed down by the state, to the cancellation of the Qwest Field Apple Cup series, to the horrific economic times gripping this country, the fact that our beloved Cougar football program is running low on funds for an essential stadium renovation shouldn’t come as a surprise. Don’t you read the news?!? It is tough all over, and the WSU athletic department is feeling it too.

Second, in kind of a weird rule, the WSU Athletic Foundation is unable to solicit donations directly to the WSU family without prior consent. In other words, if you are a Coug fan, but haven’t donated before, or haven’t purchased season tickets? WSU’s Call-A-Coug can’t call you asking for help. You must go directly to them, showing your interest. But guess what? WE CAN SURE COME TO YOU. And so, here we are…

Third, solicitations for donations always seem to come at “inopportune” times, don’t they? But in turn, these inopportune times can limit the level of giving. It is just the way it goes. But having a link to a quick donation site will simply streamline the process. It will make it fast and easy to give to something you care about.

Finally, embarrassment. Sounds funny to even say that, but it can be tough to tell the voice on the other end of the line that you can’t give anything right now. In reality, maybe you can give something, just not much more than a few bucks. We believe this method of an online, viral campaign will be the way for you to donate what you can, whenever you can, without fear of embarrassment if you don’t have much to give.

And, “how can $5 help” you may ask? It is such a small amount of money. Well, for exhibit 1A of how little things can add up fast, think of our last Presidential election. All the experts will tell you that one thing that really made the difference for our new President was that their campaign reached out to the little guy. They made it simple to donate $5 here, $5 there, all with the ease of a massive online campaign. And guess what? As insignificant as the donations might have seemed at the time, the whole thing worked!

5) WHAT IS THE DESIRED DONATION/CONTRIBUTION?

1,000,000,000,000.000

OK, not really. How about whatever you can give? Does that work?

Right now, in my situation, the budget is tight in the “BH” household. But, I know that I can at the very least sacrifice something insignificant, like a BH burger, each month to contribute to the cause. So, I’m going to donate 5-10 dollars a month until things change my way. I highly encourage you all to do the same.

6) Wait a minute. DOES WSU EVEN KNOW ABOUT THIS??

Yep. In fact, WSU likes the idea. We approached them late last year about something like this, and they reciprocated the interest. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented anything further. OK, we basically dropped the ball. You know, stuff came up! But our desire to help has never wavered. We are now focused on what needs to be done, and it is time to get rolling.

7) WHEN WILL THIS GET STARTED AGAIN?

In the coming weeks. In the next day or two I will be back in touch with the WSU Athletic Department to help formalize the concept and begin working on logistics. Given the severity of our current situation, my guess is that it will not take long to get something in place.

In the meantime, I hope you will begin considering who it is that you can solicit to give a buck or ten (million?) to the cause. And unlike half the regular stuff on this site, no, this isn’t a joke. It is urgent for all of us to step up and give whatever we can.

There are no more excuses. We are going to do everything we can to help. And we know, dear reader, that we can count on you to do the same. And don’t think that for one second that a small amount of money doesn’t matter. It does matter, and it will help. So let’s show the rest of the conference that we care. And let’s cement our standing in a great BCS conference like the PAC-10! The time for talking and excuse-machine-cranking is over. IT IS TIME FOR ACTION!