Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

WASHINGTON STATE assistant football coaches Graham Harrell and Eric Mele are younger and less experienced than their immediate predecessors, so it comes as no surprise they will be paid less. But the boosts from their previous salaries are sizable.

Harrell earns $210,000 to replace Dennis Simmons ($226,500) as outside receivers coach, and Mele makes $191,500 as special teams coach in place of Eric Russell ($251,500). Russell also carried the title of assistant head coach.

The salary figures were gathered by through a special records request of WSU.

Harrell, an All-American at Texas Tech and later a backup with the Green Bay Packers, joined the WSU staff as the offensive analyst last year, earning $50,000. Mele was paid $80,000 as the offensive quality control coach last year before he replaced the fired Russell at midseason. The former jobs of Harrell and Mele are separate from the nine “full-time” assistant coaching positions permitted at NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

Washington State’s Vince Mayle, who broke a thumb at the Senior Bowl in January, has been slowed by the injury in his mini-camp debut with the Cleveland Browns and will soon undergo surgery to repair it, reports.

The fourth-round draft pick had his right hand heavily wrapped Friday at the Browns’ two-hour practice and was quoted by the The Plainer Dealer of Cleveland saying "I'm not going to catch. I’m not going to grab anything. I'm just going to run my routes. Everything's all right. It's just a little sore. I broke my thumb a while back, so it's still getting healthy again.” CLICK HERE for more.

Xavier Cooper told the Akron Beacon Journal on Friday at the Cleveland Browns’ rookie mini camp that his youth spent on the soccer fields of Tacoma were key to developing his footwork and agility. “I think it’s helped me in all aspects — being able to get off [the line], to be quick. You’ve got to be quick and violent, and I think I bring that to the table,” Cooper said. He also noted that Tacoma soccer moms were relieved when he gave up the sport because he had an affinity for bowling over opponents on the way to the goal.


Graduating Cougar basketball player Shalie Dheensaw of Victoria, B.C., was the biggest honoree Friday at the WSU Athletic Department’s annual senior recognition luncheon. Dheensaw collected the Athletic Director’s Star Performer Award for academics (along with football player Isiah Myers); the Beulah Blankenship Outstanding Student-Athlete Award (along with football player Mitch Peterson); and was one of four seniors to receive the Steve Gleason Community Service and Leadership Award.

Peterson and teammate Kristoff Williams were among 18 student-athletes to receive the Senior Excellence in Academics Award for maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA or better and earning WSU All-Academic honors each semester on campus.

Meanwhile, soccer standout Nicole Setterlund and basketball mainstay DaVonte Lacy were winners of the Pac-12’s Tom Hansen Conference Medal, which goes to two student-athletes per school each year for achievement in athletics, scholarship and leadership. Lacy also received the WSU Alumni Association’s Senior Award.

For the complete list of awards and winners, CLICK HERE.

The Texas Supreme Court has denied former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach's appeal in a libel and slander lawsuit over his firing at Tech in 2009, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported Friday. Leach had brought suit against Craig James, ESPN and the public relations firm Spaeth Communications.

"We knew the odds are against us. But it was certainly worth it for Mr. Leach to take a shot given what the defendants did. The message here is that they can seemingly do what they want to do with impunity,” Leach's attorney, Michael Hurst, told the Avalanche-Journal. He called the ruling "an injustice.”

Pitcher Parker McFadden has been tabbed by Baseball America as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation for June’s Major League draft. The 94-mile-per-hour-throwing right-hander from Yelm signed a letter of intent with WSU in November. In its May 7 update, Baseball America pegs him the No. 82 overall prospect for the upcoming draft. McFadden threw the first no-hitter of his prep career two weeks ago, and also has three one-hitters this season.

The big crimson Aussie, Aron Baynes, tells the Sydney Morning Herald that he's slowly coming to grips with the ouster of his perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs from the NBA playoffs. He also said he's going to let his agent worry about next season; Baynes is soon to be a free agent, though the Spurs retain the right to make a qualifying offer to Baynes before June 30 which would allow them to match any offers. Baynes played in 70 games this season, starting 17. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per outing.

Two other former Washington State basketball players, Ivory Clark and John Allen, finished the regular season as statistical league leaders in their respective pro leagues.

Clark, a starting forward on the Cougars’ NCAA tournament squad in 2006-07, led Argentina’s top league with 1.5 blocked shots per game. He averaged 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds for Quilmes of Mar Del Plato. Allen led Switzerland’s No. 2 league with 25.8 ppg for Nyon. Allen was a walk-on reserve at WSU before blossoming as the star point guard on Western Washington's NCAA Division II national championship team.

With the recent hirings of Michael Bumpus at Monroe, Mike Bush at Kentwood and James Hasty at Franklin, the number of former Cougar football players who are high school head coaches in Western Washington now, by our unofficial count, numbers eight. The others are Chris Paulson at Curtis; Jeremy Thilebahr of reigning Class 3A champion Eastside Catholic; Derek Sparks at Garfield; Bryant Thomas at Auburn-Riverside and Bob Norvell at Sehome. If you think we’re missing someone, please fire up a message on our football forum.

David Lang, director of strength and conditioning at Washington State, has earned the highest honor of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. Lang was honored as a Master coach earlier this week at the CSCCA national convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Lang has worked as a strength and conditioning coach at WSU since 1998. He is a graduate of Wisconsin-Whitewater and earned a master’s degree at Austin Peay.

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