Frequent sightings of the new Cougar license plates all around Washington prove that the WSU Alumni Association’s three-year endeavor to get the plate approved has paid off.

Since the release of the crimson-colored plates with the WSU Cougar logo in January 2012, more than 7,000 alumni and friends have purchased them. More than half are first time WSU plate holders, 4,200 and counting.

That’s good news for Cougar fans and even better news for students. The new plates have generated more than $110,000 in new scholarships.

Jeff Groat with cougar license plate “ARRRGH.”
Jeff Groat’s cougar license plate references Coach Leach and his pirate theme. (Photo Robert Hubner)

While many sport letters and numbers assigned by the state, a number of Cougs and fans have doubled up on their school spirit by ordering personalized plates to reinforce the WSU theme. Among them: COUGS02, TLG8ING, COUGUPP, WAZUFAN, CUGRFAN, WSUGIRL, and COUG RV.

Jeff Groat, a long time Pullman resident and Cougar football season ticket holder, went with “ARRRGH.” It is a subtle reference to football Coach Mike Leach urging the players to act like pirates by being fierce and working as a team, the “Pirates of the Palouse.” But it’s not too subtle. “I get comments all the time,” says Groat. “Most people immediately understand it’s a pirate thing from Leach.”

When it comes to declaring school affinity, the Cougars still dominate. The new crimson plates, combined with the earlier WSU version, number more than twice as many as the state’s next highest selling collegiate plate, bringing a total of 16,572 WSU plates on Washington’s roads.

For information about getting your own crimson Cougar plate, visit the WSUAA website,, or the Washington State Department of Licensing.

For more information about WSUAA and alumni chapters visit or call 1-800-258-6978.