Shawn, Jason offer scoop on WSU radio changes

SHAWN McWASHINGTON said he was shocked late this morning when he was told he wouldn't be back as the color analyst on WSU football radio broadcasts, but that he thinks his successor, Jason Gesser, will do "an outstanding job." Meanwhile, Gesser said he hopes to continue delivering insightful commentary the way McWashington did and is thrilled about being back in the Cougar fold on a regular basis.

McWashington said Matt Almond, the director of WSU IMG, the sports marketing company that Washington State contracts with to run the radio broadcasts, called him to say he wanted "go in a different direction" and thought Gesser would improve the broadcast team.

Moments later, IMG put out a cryptic tweet saying Gesser was coming on board, but there was no mention of McWashington's fate.

"I have no hard feelings whatsoever. Being in the booth the last two years has been an incredible experience. I enjoyed it immensely and hope Cougar fans did too," McWashington told Cougfan.com.

McWashington's commentary was punctuated by true Xs and Os insight, with keen observations on formations, schemes and personnel movement.

McWashington was hand-picked by athletic director Bill Moos to replace Jim Walden as WSU's color analyst two years ago. He said he did not know if Almond made the decision to replace him in isolation, but WSU sports information director Bill Stevens told CF.C it was IMG's decision.

"We're all Cougs. If I can help Jason in any way, I'm ready to. And I'll of course continue to watch the Cougs closely. I really think the program is on the verge of sustained success ... Bottom line, being on the broadcast team, even if only for two years, was a true honor. But things change and I'm good with that. I really believe in the leadership of Bill Moos. He has the best interests of Cougar Nation at heart. By no means is this a disassociation from Cougar football. I hope to find other ways to continue to promote the entire WSU athletics department. Thank you to the hundreds of calls and texts over the last couple of years from the people who loved the broadcast. It's been fun."

McWashington was one of the Fab Five receivers of 1997 that helped WSU earn its first Rose Bowl berth in 67 years. Gesser was the All-American quarterback and captain of the 2002 Cougar team that also went to the Rose Bowl.

GESSER WAS THE QUARTERBACKS COACH at Wyoming last season and an assistant coach and interim head coach at Idaho before that, but both staffs were swept out when new head coaches were hired and the coaching carousel didn't present Gesser any logical seats heading into 2014. That's why he's available now.

But rest assured, he's no stranger to broadcasting.

"When I was a color guy for four years previously (on TV), I didn't have a tremendous amount of time to prepare like I will now – back then I was coaching my own high school team at Eastside Catholic. I'm really excited to have that preparation time now and I think it's going to benefit me tremendously," said Gesser.

He said he wants to do what McWashington did -- provide listeners a perspective beyond the broadcasting norm.

"The best part for me is that, being able to sit back in that pocket and have success at the Pac-10 level, that's a great aspect to have," said Gesser. "But I think what will help set me apart from the other broadcasters who have played that position at the college and/or pro level is that not only did I play, I coached in college games, and that I've been a head coach on the sidelines.

"So what a coach is trying to accomplish at a certain time, what the players are doing and what they're going through, I think I can provide a different view on that as someone who not only played but coached the game. I think I can provide some really good insights on what's going on within the game."

COUGAR LISTENERS WILL also hear a different Gesser than they're used to. Specifically, Gesser says he wants his diction to be more precise.

"I've also started to line things up with dialect coaches … As you may know I'm from the Hawaiian Islands and I have a little bit of an accent (laughs) and I've lost a lot of it. But I want to be great. I don't want to be just good in that aspect, I want to be great. And we have a tremendous Communications school and resources here at Washington State and I'm going to work at it," said Gesser.

His familiarity with the Washington State football program, players and coaches should also help.

"Radio will be something I have to adjust to learn from calling games on TV but at the same time, if you know the game and know how to relate a story to people, to paint a picture for them, it's the same," said Gesser.

There had been casual talk between IMG and Gesser for some time but things really got serious in the last week or so, he said.

"As a family, we had already just committed to being here in Pullman, getting a house and putting down roots," said Gesser. "I think (IMG was) trying to figure out if I was (for now) done with coaching. I had just turned down a couple I-AA opportunities to coach and then after things picked up in that last week I made the commitment to them and they made the commitment.

"I'm so excited and be proud to be back here at WSU -- I've been trying to get back here for a while now. People know how long I've been trying to get back here – and I've always been a Coug, but this is a great step for me and my family."

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