March 25, 2010
RUSTON - For the third straight year, Louisiana Tech has been selected as the NCAA Pack the House Challenge winner for the Western Athletic Conference.
With the selection as the WAC winner of the event, LA Tech joined Hartford of the America East Conference as the only two athletic departments to have won the award all three years.
The Pack the House Challenge is an NCAA sponsored national competition which started three years ago where Division I member schools compete to increase attendance figures, gain national exposure, win great prizes and grow the sport of women's basketball.
LA Tech was the WAC winner of the event in 2008, 2009 and now 2010.
"Leah Beasley, John Bonnette and their staff have done an amazing job with the NCAA Pack The House Challenge over the last three years," said Tech Associate Athletic Director of External Operations Eric Buskirk. "To win the award three years in a row is an amazing accomplishment.
"The abundance of extra hours and effort that went into the Circus - Circus promotion for the LSU game, paid off with an outstanding atmosphere, and our highest attended women's game of the year. Leah and her staff have made a significant impact on our 2010 WAC Champion Lady Techsters program with her marketing and promotional efforts."
This year the athletic department promoted the in-state non-conference match-up against the LSU Lady Tigers on Dec. 1 as its NCAA Pack the House Challenge game. Beasley, who is the assistant athletic director in charge of marketing and game management, and her staff implemented a creative marketing plan surrounding the game.
The slogan for the game was "Cage the Tigers" while the theme for the night was Circus Circus. Aspects of the overall marketing plan for the contest included
free tailgating outside the Thomas Assembly Center for local businesses, student organizations and families which also included free food and numerous giveaways.
performances by the Bindlestiff Family Circus pregame and halftime, which included numerous acts such as fire-eating, sword-swallowing, acrobatics, juggling and more.
a special exhibit of live animals from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.
The marketing efforts were a success as almost 5,000 fans attended the game which was LA Tech's largest home crowd of the season.
"It's such a great feeling to know that our efforts for such a special event were noticed," Beasley said. "Our entire athletic department always tries to put our best foot forward in everything we do - on and off the playing fields - and it's nice to see that through everyone's combined efforts, we were successful once again. Our administration and coaches really embraced this challenge, and our fans were simply incredible with their support that night."
As part of the reward for winning, the NCAA will make a $500 donation to a non-profit organization of the athletic department's choice. This year the money will go to the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" in memory of Scott Williams, the late husband of Tech Associate Athletic Director Marie Pipes.