So I was lucky enough to get invited to press conference and private reception at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel last night, and I wanted to share my experience with the other readers of this community.
My wife and I arrived around 4:45 or so, and since they were not admitting anyone until 5:30 we headed to the bar. After securing a table we had a drink and people watched. Noticed many Cougs, both AD types and booster types. Jack Thompson even strolled through at one point. As 5:30 rolled around we finished our drinks and headed into the reception area. (More after the jump)
Upon entering we saw a Couged out reception room:
After this first thing I wanted to see was the press stage, so I snagged a picture of it:
I also should point out that we went ahead and grabbed the closest possible table to the stage. No one seemed to care so we ended up with some of the best seats in the house.
At this point I saw Brian hanging around so I grabbed him and we chatted for a while during the cocktail hour. I didn't get a picture of this though.
As the room started to fill up I looked around and saw numerous WSU celebrities and local media members, including Drew Bledsoe, Robbie Tobeck, Jack Thompson, Mark Rypien, Rueben Mayes, Jim Moore, Kevin Calabro, Jen Mueller, Ian Furness, and Jason Puckett. I'm sure there are others that I missed or just did not recognize.
Then the press conference started, first on stage was one of the provosts followed by Bill Moos:
Moos was followed by the man of the hour, Mike Leach.
I tell you, listening to him speak in person was awesome. He completely captured the room and was incredibly engaging. I can't imagine many coaches give longer more thorough answers at press conference than Mike Leach. Everyone in attendance was hanging on every word he said. I would love to have seen how the team acted while listening to him. One media member (not sure who it was, maybe Brian knows?) asked Leach about who he had on his short list for DC, and Leach said he has one but he sure wasn't going to tell him who it was. Everyone laughed. After this Leach met with media members 1 on 1, so I headed for the bar.
Here is a view of the room and crowd from the bar:
After returning to my table I had the opportunity to take this picture of Leach meeting with Drew Bledsoe:
Once Leach was finished with meeting with the media, he made his way off the stage and did a meet and greet with fans. He was signing footballs. copies of his book, and taking pictures. One person even gave him a big bottle of Jolly Roger Ale (GREAT beer by the way). He seemed very genuine and courteous in his dealings with people who just wanted to shake his hand and take a picture. He certainly obliged my request for a photo, which will be framed and hung in my Coug room.
All in all, it was a very exciting night. The buzz was absolutely there, and I cannot wait for spring ball and football season. Hell, I can't wait for A Night With Cougar Football just so I can hear Leach speak again and talk about our incoming class. If you have never attended this event before, I highly recommend it, it is a lot of fun. There are former players, current players, coaches, and AD types along with any fans who pay to attend. For the price of admission you get a plated dinner while you listen to various speakers including the head coach. There are also auction items to bid on. Lots of chances to network as well. You can register at WSUCougars.com.
So there it is, my tale of awesomeness at the Mike Leach intro press conference.