A Fishy Examination of the History of Washington State University Football

Kim Hastings FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

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

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