A Fishy Examination of the History of Washington State University Football


Hello Ducks! Our boys take to the road this week, opening Pac-12 play with a trip to the Papoose, or whatever they call the part of Eastern Washington that Washington State University reluctantly calls home.


Sigh. I really need to talk to the photo selection team here at FishDuck.com/italicsareagodtome.

We have discussed Mike Leach’s unfortunate description of his players’ lady friends as fat little girlfriends while at Texas Tech. To be fair, beyond a failure of the vetting process, that has nothing to do with Washington State. This week we wanted to look deeply into the football program at WSU – Where have they been, where are they going, and can anyone tell me what that stench coming out of Colfax might be?


Eureka!! It’s Colfax! Crud, forgot the nosegay.

Washington State began playing football in 1894. They had only one win during their inaugural season. That win was over Idaho.

Before I go on let me say, "Thank goodness for Idaho." If it wasn't for the Vandals WSU would go decades between wins


Before I go on, let me say, “Thank goodness for Idaho.” If it wasn’t for the Vandals (freshmen men’s dorm shown above), WSU would go decades between wins.

Though it took a while (think Methuselah’s lifespan), Washington State eventually had some success in the sport they liked to call “Cow Flop Kicking.”

A young Jason Hansen works on his technique while his little brother tees it up


A young Jason Hanson works on his technique, while his little brother tees it up.

A series of WSU coaches (okay one, Babe Hollingberry, 1926-1942) had success. The Pacific Coast Conference, in a moment of abject insanity, selected the Cougars as a representative of the conference. Washington State was on the map!

There followed four decades of some of the most awful football anyone has ever seen. Coach after coach came to Pullman with high hopes:

"I'm delighted to start my career as the Washington State Head Coach."


“I’m delighted to start my career as the Washington State Head Coach.”

… and left …

And left, just high


… just high.

But finally the team’s fortunes took a turn for the positive. Dennis Erickson came to town, declaring the WSU position to be his dream job.

Has anyone seen Coach Erickson?


Has anyone seen Coach Erickson?

But, undaunted, the Washington State faithful soldiered on. They knew that it was hard to get a coach with a lick of sense to come to the Vamoose. But to their credit, they found one. Mike Price came to Pullman and had more success than anyone before him. Coach Price parlayed his success into a surprising selection as head man of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A position sadly short-lived as Coach Price forgot the proper spelling of "poll."


A position sadly short-lived, as Coach Price forgot the proper spelling of “poll.”

Coach Price was followed to Pullman by longtime assistant Bill Doba. Coach Doba didn’t last long because of conference rules against hiring someone after their personality had been forcibly removed.


WSU publicity photo of Coach Doba and his wife Dora.

Doba was followed by Paul Wulff, who was hired as the anti-Doba. Which he was. But Wulff went too far the other direction and had a few too many things going on in his synapses.


Coach Wulff told us that he hated purple. He also told us every other thought that crossed his mind, including things about the voices in his Frosted Flakes.

Now the Cougars are led by Coach Leach. We know a few things about Leach. We know that he is a snappy interview. We know that he doesn’t mind padding his quarterback’s stats against the stadium cleaning crew. We also know that the Ducks are going to take his team apart on Saturday.

Go Ducks!

Top photo by FeelNumb.com

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to charles@fishduck.com  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings is a 1984 graduate of Northwest Christian College. He cut his journalistic teeth as sports editor of a paper in his home town of Fortuna, CA, and, later as a columnist for the Longview Daily News in Longview, WA. He saw his first Oregon game in 1977 and never missed a home game from 1981 until a bout with pneumonia cut his streak short in 1997. He was one of the proud 3200 on a bitterly cold night in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1989 for the Independence Bowl, and continues to be big supporter of Oregon sports. He is an active participant on the various Oregon Ducks messageboards as "TacomaDuck."

  • Maria

    What middle school student did you hire to write this? Objectively terrible. Go cougs

    • miketheduck

      Not to criticize your sentence construction, but “objectively terrible” and “cougs” should go in the same sentence.

  • gkd

    If you want to tell me factually why the Ducks will beat the Cougs that is fine and good objective journalism, but to just flat out criticize Eastern Washington is just flat out rude and poor journalism. There are many wonderful things about Eastern Washington and many people that do fabulous things. If I was to stoop to your level I might say “Typical Duck”.

    • miketheduck

      I hear you saying “Eastern Washington is just flat” and have to agree with that much anyway. The part that bothers me is that the writer has obviously never been on the Idaho campus. That’s not a picture of the freshmen men’s dorm at all. It’s actually the Kibbie Dome, the indoor football stadium that actually seats over 10,000, although that many rarely bother to show up.

  • FishDuck

    Holy Crap! You readers must be new…because Kim does a humor article every weekend except during the football season. Then his article lampooning the opponent appears two days before the game. You’ll note we had an “Opponent Analysis” that was very respectful of the Cougars, and then we have some fun via Kim.

    Come back to other weeks and see the fun lampooning other schools, in fact go right now to our front page and click on the new GIF poking at USC. We do analysis, Op-Eds, recruiting, player profiles and HUMOR!