DR. PAT LYNCH
The interview, it turned out, went as smoothly as the 17-6 victory that capped Lynch’s Cougar career the Saturday prior.
Two-thirds of the conversation was about the Apple Cup.
“They said 'We knew we were going to interview you today so we watched you. Why'd you do this, why'd you do that, you guys beat the crap out of us, we were supposed to beat you guys ...' So that was kind of funny,” remembers Lynch (pictured at top in 1983). THE SPORT THAT PUTS A PREMIUM ON inflicting bodily harm on others, while also exacting a serious toll on the time and energy participants can devote to their studies, hardly lends itself to cultivating future MDs.
THE 1981 COUGAR HOLIDAY BOWL TEAM TURNED CF.C'S ANNUAL SEATTLE TAILGATE THIS SEASON INTO A SALUTE TO JEFF FILES (PICTURED HERE), WHO THIS MONTH LOST HIS BATTLE WITH ALS. SERVICES ARE SET FOR JAN. 3. HERE'S A LINK TO THE STORY WE RAN ON HIM JUST PRIOR TO THE RUTGERS GAME.
They followed in the footsteps of another Cougar, former Seahawks and Giants running back Dan Doornink, who earned his MD at Washington by going to medical school in between NFL seasons. He’s been practicing internal medicine in Yakima for many years.
The key to balancing two disparate, very demanding pursuits, is time management, says Lynch. To make it all work, he limited socializing and devoted as much non-football time as possible to hitting the books.
A generation before Lynch, Rich Sheron — the first-ever tight end in WSU football history — had a daily routine as a freshman that included mastering the Cougar playbook in between organic chemistry and zoology classes.
“It was difficult, you had to manage your time,” Sheron, a 1967 WSU graduate, told CF.C.
“From dawn to dusk you were busy doing football or school.”
Complicating matters was that his zoology adviser, Dr. Herbert Eastlick, and his football coach, Bert Clark, were both cut from the same work-till-you-die cloth.
While Clark infamously pushed the football team to its limits, Eastlick was taking a similar approach mentally.
“It was tough physically, and Bert Clark pissed off a lot of people who were pretty good ball players,” remembers Sheron, who runs a dental practice in Vancouver, Wash., with his two sons. “Dr. Eastlick was every bit as tough academically. You had to know your stuff, or else. He knew exactly what it took to get into medical school and what it took to get into dental school and he was able to really tell if a student could do it or not.”
RICH SHERON: NOW AND THEN.
So when the New York Jets made him the 37th overall pick in the 1967 draft, he had no qualms about saying no thanks to catching passes from Joe Namath. The modest pro salaries in those days, coupled with his history of knee trouble and concussions, made medical school a lot more enticing.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said of denying the opportunity to turn pro, “but it was the right decision.”
THE LINE OF COUGAR FOOTBALL PLAYERS who become doctors is continuing today. Jared Karstetter, who set records as a WSU receiver from 2008-20011, is currently a student at the UW’s dental school.
He took a detour before enrolling, however.
“I always knew I wanted to play (football after college) so I tried to go give that a shot (with the Detroit Lions) and once that didn’t work out ... I started working for Cobra Construction, got a roofing job, made a little money, got into dental school then went over to Italy to live for a couple months.”
While overseas, he played receiver for the Parma Panthers and won the Italian Super Bowl.
“When I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I always liked sciences and things like that,” said Karstetter. “When I would go and shadow the dentists around town, I really just enjoyed it. Being your own boss and helping people out and working in health care was always a cool thing to me.” NOTABLE: One of Lynch’s partners at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists in Spokane is Don Ellingsen. In addition to being one of Lynch’s closest friends since childhood — and a pledge brother in WSU’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity — Ellingsen is the son of Don Ellingsen Sr., an All-American receiver for the Cougars in the late 1950s who went on to became a doctor. He is a retired ophthalmologist in Spokane. Ellingsen Sr. isn't the only Cougar All-American that Lynch has known since childhood; younger brother Dan Lynch was a first-team AP All-American offensive lineman in 1984.