New hire to boost Bears’ marketing

| Sports Reporter
Erin Blecha, the new director of marketing and promotions. (Johann Qua Hiansen | Student Life)

Erin Blecha, the new director of marketing and promotions. (Johann Qua Hiansen | Student Life)

The Washington University Athletic Department now has a new marketing and external relations coordinator, Erin Blecha.

The position includes many important tasks to be completed throughout each sports season. From advising Red Alert to determining the logistics of events and finding sponsors, Blecha has a big job ahead of her—though she seems determined to expand even more.

“Erin Blecha is going to be a great asset in the Wash. U. Department of Athletics and will continue to improve the marketing and promotions of Bears’ athletics and our student-athletes,” Sports Information Director Chris Mitchell said.

Blecha replaces Trevor MacDonald, who created the position two years ago. MacDonald took a job at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) as director of marketing and operations.

Blecha joins the University community with a master’s degree in communication from the University of Arizona, a Division I school, where she interned for one year in the athletic department’s marketing office.

“It’s a great opportunity to get into the Division III athletic setting and build upon a strong athletic tradition which is going on here at Wash. U.” Blecha said. “[There are] lots of winning teams and really excited students who are involved in the campus and the community.”

But Blecha is no stranger to the Division III athletic system. She attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., competing as a successful track and field athlete and making the all-conference team all four years. Blecha captured the 2006 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championship high jump in her junior year and competed at the Division III NCAA Indoor National Championships in the high jump in 2007.

Blecha’s familiarity with the dual responsibilities of a student-athlete has influenced her future plans. She hopes to develop “more community involvement…[such as] a letter-writing program with some of the schools to promote education and the importance of being a student and an athlete.”

As Division I sports tend to have “built-in students and community members coming to games,” Blecha recognizes the greater challenge of attracting students to a Division III event. There are already many plans in development to increase student attendance.

Blecha has clearly done her homework, as she is aware of the popularity of raffles and giveaways at Wash. U. She promises that there will be some great halftime promotions, including a shooting contest, giveaways and incentives at sporting events. One of Blecha’s goals this year is to “appeal to the student population as a whole, not just those who love sports.” She even hinted that some restaurant sponsors would be giving away free food at games.

Blecha and the Athletic Department are excited to continue working side by side with Red Alert and intend to keep building the program, aiming for more consistency in promotions at all athletic events.