Old Cougar athletes to descend on Pullman

DEREK SPARKS was scrappy when he played running back for the Cougars in the early 90s, and in the real world ever since then he's been Mr. Entrepreneur. This coming weekend in Pullman, the fruits of his tenacity and creativity will come together with a big reunion of former Cougar athletes.

It's the "Honor the Past Weekend." Sparks, who lives in the Seattle area, is the alumni coordinator of the event, and has reached out to many former Cougar athletes -- particularly those from out of state -- to get them back on campus.

Many members of the legendary Palouse Posse defense, for example, will be on hand. In fact, the weekend for Sparks will officially kickoff Friday when he picks up DeWayne Patterson at the airport. Patterson, who lives in the Bay Area, was not only a star on the Palouse Posse, but to this day remains the most prolific sack master in school history.

Chris Hayes, another Posse mainstay who lives in California, also is among those expected for the weekend's events.

"For some of us it's been five, ten, 15, even 20 years since we've been back to Pullman. During this time so many things have happened, so many things have changed, and whether we've been gone five years or 20, it's been far too long, and it's high time we Cougars return to our den," says Sparks, who runs an athletic apparel business and a youth non-profit organization called GameTime.

"Near or far, the unbreakable tie that will forever bind us is what first brought us together many years ago – Washington State University and Cougar athletics," he says. "Whether you played football, basketball, volleyball, baseball or participated in the crew, swim, golf or track teams, what remains unwavering is our Cougar bloodline. We have a special bond like no other in college athletics. We are Cougs! Because, as the old saying goes: Once a Coug, Always a Coug. Coug for Life!"

A tailgate in the RV lot and the WSU-Idaho game Saturday (7:30 kickoff) are the centerpieces of the reunion.

It's not too late for former Cougar athletes to register to attend. For more information, contact Sparks at itsgametime@msn.com or click to wsucougars.com (under the CAF tab). In addition, the Gray W Club can be found on twitter at @WSUGrayW .

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