LA Tech Repeats as NCAA Pack the House Challenge Winner
March 18, 2009
RUSTON -- For the second consecutive year, Louisiana Tech has earned the distinction as the Western Athletic Conference's winner of the NCAA Pack the House Challenge.
LA Tech is one of 32 winners in the NCAA Division I contest which is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance for home women's basketball games.
NCAA Division I women's basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a "Pack the House" game with the goal of setting an attendance record.
Louisiana Tech's Pack the House Challenge game was Feb. 13 when the Lady Techsters hosted Hawaii and drew a season-high 4,972 fans.
Over two-thirds of the Division I membership -- 184 institutions -- participated in this year's challenge and attracted more than 559,000 fans.
One winner from each of the 31 conferences and one from a group of independent institutions were named as winners as selections were based on marketing plan creativity and attendance criteria.
Tech assistant athletic director for marketing Leah Beasley and assistant John Bonnette created and implemented the marketing strategy for the Feb. 13 game against Hawaii.
"We're fortunate to have someone as talented as Leah Beasley responsible for marketing our athletic programs," said senior deputy athletic director Mary Kay Hungate. "She's creative and very passionate about Tech athletics. She relates well to both the students and the general fan base. This is a well-deserved honor that has once again brought national recognition to our university."
Beasley's marketing plan included the theme "Roast the Wahine" and events surrounding the game included a pregame tailgate party complete with a pig roast and other free food donated by area businesses.
Other aspects of the plan included a Kids Zone with a rock wall, inflatables, temporary tattoos and other games for youngsters. The WAC Play Up Tour was also on site with giveaways and an opportunity for fans to register for a free trip to the WAC Tournament in Reno.
Other highlights included music provided by KLPI, free admission to all children, past and present military and anyone wearing pink in an effort to promote breast cancer awareness.
A cash prize was also awarded to the fan who brought the most people to the game and to the loudest and most-spirited campus organization.
Halftime entertainment included the Hawaiian Barefoot Fire Dancers, the WOW Wingman Wing-eating contest finals, the TechTeamShop.com Shootout and the Smoothie King Shootout.
The NCAA awards prizes and donates a $500 to the nonprofit organization of each winning institution's choice.
"We believe this initiative has served as a catalyst to increase attendance, create excitement and enhance exposure for our women's basketball programs," said NCAA Vice President of Division I Women's Basketball and Louisiana Tech alum Sue Donohoe. "Institution personnel committed a great deal of time, effort and resources to this program and the results were extremely positive."
Winners of the 2008-09 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Hartford
Atlantic Coast - Georgia Tech
Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State
Atlantic 10 - Fordham
Big East - Notre Dame
Big Sky - Montana State
Big South - UNC Asheville
Big Ten - Illinois
Big 12 - Missouri
Big West - Long Beach State
Colonial - VCU
Conference USA - Marshall
Horizon - Valparaiso
Independents - Cal State Bakersfield
Ivy - Columbia
Metro Atlantic - Niagara
Mid-America - Central Michigan
Mid-Eastern - North Carolina A&T
Missouri Valley - Bradley
Mountain West - TCU
Northeast - Mount St. Mary's
Ohio Valley - Tennessee-Martin
Pacific-10 - California
Patriot - Army
Southeastern - Auburn
Southern - Chattanooga
Southland - Sam Houston State
SWAC - Jackson State
Summit - Indiana/Purdue-Indianapolis
Sun Belt - Arkansas-Little Rock
West Coast - Gonzaga
WAC - Louisiana Tech
OVERALL WINNER Auburn University