WITH THE PUNTING chores at Washington State in limbo, despite some decent work there in the spring by placekicker Erik Powell, one's off-season thoughts naturally turn to better times at the position. There was once a stretch at WSU in which the punting was so buttoned down that the team featured but four starters in a span of 16 seasons running from 1974 through 1989.
With 2014 starter Jordan Dascalo
's unexplained departure in the spring, the Cougars will line up this fall with their sixth starting punter in five seasons (yes, they had two -- Mike Bowlin and Wes Concepcion -- in 2013).
The notion of a squad with systemwide special teams problems going into fall camp with the punting situation one of the biggest questions on the team -- with no obvious heir to the role -- is enough to make a WSU fan reach for the Maalox. So forget about it and return with us to the glory days of Cougar punting. Here are Cougfan.com's choices as the greatest punters in WSU history:
1. GAVIN HEDRICK (1974-77)
2. JASON HANSON (1988-91)
A four-year starter who still holds the all-time WSU mark for career punting average (43.4). His 83-yard boot against Cal in 1976 and his 82-yarder against the Bears a year later stood for 30 years as the two longest in school history. He earned first-team All-Conference honors in '75 and '77 and was an eighth-round choice of the San Diego Chargers in 1978.
3. KYLE BASLER (2002-05)
The all-world placekicker and Detroit Lions legend also handled punting for the Cougars in his final two seasons on the Palouse and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors both seasons. He averaged 45.3 yards per boot in 1990. In his two seasons punting he logged 28 kicks of 50 yards or more.
4. REID FORREST (2007-10)
Few will forget his performance in the 2003 Holiday Bowl, where he dropped four punts inside Texas' 5-yard-line. He was named the bowl's defensive MVP and was later elected to the Holiday Bowl hall of fame. He holds the record for WSU's all-time longest punt, an 87-yard rocket against Arizona, and averaged 42.3 yards per punt over his WSU career.
5. TIM DAVEY (1978-81)
Forrest played on some poor WSU teams with five combined wins over his final three years, which led to a lot of punts. He booted the ball 275 times in his career, the most in WSU history. But he also posted the second-best career average (42.7). As a senior, he set the single-season mark with 45.4 yard average per boot.
Rob Myers (1986-89)
After Hedrick graduated, Davey continued WSU's excellence from punt formation. A master at hang time, the Pride of Gonzaga Prep was a four-year Cougar starter who averaged 41.9 yards per boot over his career and earned second-team or honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors three times between 1978-81 and UPI All-Coast honorable mention in 1981.
: A four-year starter whose 44.7-yard-average in 1989 ranks No 3 on WSU's single-season list. That same season he booted three of the longest punts in school history -- 74, 75 and 81 yards.
Keith Lincoln (1958-60):
The legendary Moose of the Palouse is most known for his exploits running, catching and even occasionally passing the ball. But he was a quadruple threat as he also punted for the Cougs. As a senior in 1958 he averaged 43.4 yards per boot, which ranks him No. 8 on the WSU single-season list. Later starred with Chargers and Bills.
Glenn Harper (1982-85):
A four-year starter following Davey, he kicked for nearly 8,000 yards and averaged 40.3 yards per punt over his WSU career and also registered one of the great tackles in Apple Cup history when he decleated Danny Greene on a TD-saving stop. The Edmonton native played 13 seasons in the Canadian Football League and earned All-Star honors twice.
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