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.
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?
Washington State began playing football in 1894. They had only one win during their inaugural season. That win was over Idaho.
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 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:
… and left …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top photo by FeelNumb.com
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.”
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