A worthy honor for The Throwin' Samoan

IT SEEMS INCREDIBLE but until this week, a Polynesian Football Hall of Fame didn't exist. But when its inaugural class was announced on Wednesday, it came as no surprise that legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson was named a member of the inaugural class.

Thompson is a Washington State Hall of Famer who, along with Bernard Jackson, served as the inspiration for CF.C co-founders Greg and John Witter to create Cougfan.com. He was one of seven inductees named to the inaugural Polynesian Football Hall of Fame class out of more than 200 nominees. The institution serves to honor Polynesia's greatest players, coaches and contributors.

The Throwin' Samoan certainly fits that description.

Thompson completed his Washington State career in 1978 as the most prolific passer in the history of the NCAA. (Imagine what he might have done in today's offenses and with one more game on the schedule.) He went on to play six years in the National Football League.

"A lot of this is on the backs of my teammates at Washington State -- (Mike) Levenseller, (Brian) Kelly and (Dan) Doornink," said Thompson. "We did a lot of great things there. I also think about my father and only wish he was still around, he would get a real kick out of this."

At WSU, Thompson established Pacific-10 Conference and WSU records for passes attempted (1,086), passes completed (601) and total plays (1,345). He tied the conference mark for touchdown passes (53) and touchdowns responsible for (63). As a sophomore in 1976 he set the conference record for passing yards with 2,762, completions (208) and touchdown passes (20) and the following season became the first junior in the history of the conference to surpass the 5,000 yard barrier. He was named First-Team All-America by the Sporting News and selected by the Cincinnati Bengals as the third overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft.

Thompson is one of only two players to have his number retired at WSU along with Mel Hein. He was born on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa, in 1956. Two years later, his family migrated to Seattle where he was raised and where he lives today. He attended Evergreen High and arrived at Washington State in the fall of 1974.

The inductees will be honored on January 23, 2014 at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame's Inaugural Enshrinement Ceremony to be held at the Hawai'i Convention Center in Honolulu. They are Thompson, Junior Seau, Kevin Mawae, Herman Wedemeyer, Olin Kreutz, Kurt Gouveia and Ken Niumatalolo.

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame will serve as a resource for Polynesian Football history, provide college scholarships designated for student-athletes of Polynesian ancestry, educational programs focusing on character and teamwork for Polynesian youth and support, other initiatives impacting Polynesian culture and heritage.

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