Top 5 Apple Cup memories: Jim Walden

THE LATE DON JAMES once said he was a 2,000-word underdog to Jim Walden. But Walden, the head man at Washington State from 1978-86, says he was wholly unprepared for the media in his first Apple Cup.

Without further ado, here are Walden’s top five.

My second year in the Apple Cup and I was a lot more prepared for the media onslaught than I was that first year. We lost 17-7 but I came away from that game convinced we could compete year in and year out, and win, in this great rivalry.

My most disappointing loss. We were playing for the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Clete Casper got hurt and we just didn't get it done. We lost 23-10.

We won 24-20 in the biggest upset in the series: the Huskies were a 24-point favorite. UW was ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time and we had so many players out injured. But Clete Casper, Tim Harris, Keith Millard, Mark Pleis and others rose to the occasion.  It was, to say the least, a great win for our program and all of Cougar Nation.

My most satisfying game in an Apple Cup. We went to Seattle with the better team and then we proved it on the field. After having had to listen all week long to the media telling us the Huskies would be out for revenge (the Huskies were, just like the year before, playing for the Pac-10 title and a Rose Bowl berth). We took it to them and won 17-6. Don James after the game proclaimed that we were the best team in the Pac-10.

We won 21-20 and it greatly helped me get over a most disappointing season. The RPM year will always be one where me and my staff would say we just didn't do a good enough job of coaching a great group of players.

Two side notes:

-We finished 7-4 in 1983 but didn’t get a bowl bid. Back then, one conference team went to the Rose Bowl and then maybe – maybe – one other Pac-10 team might get an invite somewhere to another bowl.

-Secondly, Washington was ranked coming into four of these Apple Cups, 16-17-5-15, which is a tribute to Don James and how hard it was to beat the guy. 

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