SEATTLE – Washington State University said Thursday that it’s seen a big boost off the football field, thanks to the hiring of Mike Leach.
The former Texas Tech coach was officially announced as the new Cougars football coach on Wednesday, signing a five year contract worth more than $2 million per year.
WSU Spokesman Darin Watkins said the WSU ticket office received 750 new orders for season tickets on Wednesday, including 100 club seats at $2,000 per order. That means the University made more than $200,000 on Wednesday alone.
“Mike Leach” was also trended No. 2 nationally on Google and according to Watkins, “WSU” and “Mike Leach” were on many twitter top ten lists on Wednesday.
WSU Associate Vice President for Leadership Gifts Gil Picciotto said the WSU Foundation had donations every five minutes in the 5-to-6 hours after the announcement was made official. Ninety percent of the gifts were aimed at the athletic department. He called the activity unprecedented and believes it is a sign WSU will be able to seek out donors for the academic institution.
“Athletics is the front door. It’s tough sometimes to get people to follow published studies, but it’s not hard for them to follow athletics,” said Picciotto.
A manager at Seattle’s Washington State Connections store said it’s tough to quantify if new sales are related to Leach because of the holiday shopping season. However, he noticed many buyers were talking about the Leach hire.
Watkins says all sales from the Connections store go into the University’s “Local Fund”, which covers operating expenses.