The dimmed lights in Martin Stadium signal the end of Cougar football season for some, but for others the work has just begun.
Football operations coordinator Shawn Deeds is busy planning the teams’ travel schedule for next year.
“It’s a process that takes about three-quarters of the year,” he said. “We plan for the entire season starting in January.”
This month, Deeds is sending bid request proposals to air carriers. Throughout February and March, he’ll contact hotels, police escorts and post-game food vendors, tirelessly looking for a competitive rate.
“Some places rake you over the coals,” he said. “They know you have no place else to go.” But eventually, the right bid is submitted — and the long contracting process begins.
Deeds said WSU is unlike some teams that use brokers and aircraft specialized for university athletics.
“I want to have my hands on every decision,” he said. “A broker is just another middle man that doesn’t always have the teams’ best interests at heart.”
His main objective is to treat each game like a business trip, he said. These trips include him leaving two days before a game and staying until the day after.
“There’s a lot behind the travel business that people don’t know about,” he said.
Before the teams’ arrival, Deeds holds conferences with hotel managers, baggage handlers and bus drivers. He discusses the 130 people the team usually brings and the 108 rooms it requires.
“I pretty much drill managers with what I want and need, so when the team arrives the schedule runs itself.”
The schedule is so carefully crafted that Deeds creates an itinerary of what the team is doing down to the minute.
“We’re either early or on schedule,” he said. “I just want everyone involved with Cougar football to know that they’re being taken care of.”
Rose Bowl prowess pays off
Shawn Deeds played football for WSU from 1991-1995. He landed the coordinator job during the 1998 Rose Bowl when the team arrived to play but had no practice site. He managed to book the Los Angeles coliseum.