Everyone, that is, except a guy he has admired for so many reasons for nearly two decades: Steve Gleason.
That changed today.
Because this afternoon in Pullman, Steve and his family joined Osterhout for the official naming of the recruiting center in the Cougar Football Complex.
Courtesy of a $250,000 donation by Osterhout to WSU athletics, the fifth-floor room is heretofore christened The Steve Gleason Recruiting Suite.
“When Steve played for the Cougars I always marveled that a guy smaller than I am could absolutely dominate on the football field,” Osterhout told Cougfan.com this week.
“His energy, attitude and grit made him one of my favorites on the 1998 Rose Bowl team. Then I learned he also was a standout in the classroom and a mainstay on the Cougar baseball squad and I’m thinking this young man is too good to be true.
“Little did I know he was just getting started,” Osterhout said. “His quest to make things better for those afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease is a profile in courage. Every step of the way in his life, Steve is moving forward. Even with his diagnoses with this horrible disease he has not stopped for a minute. For me, no one captures the Cougar spirit – make that the human spirit – better than Steve Gleason.”
A long-time donor to WSU athletics and the Cougar Athletic Fund, Osterhout (pictured here) said he knew instantly whose name he should put on the recruiting suite when he learned that naming rights came with his latest gift.
“The recruiting room was something I was very interested in because bringing in top-notch student-athletes is key to the success of Cougar athletics and the broader marketing of the entire university.” Osterhout said. “I wanted the room to be about somebody whose story can serve as inspiration to the young people who will come through that room. I want recruits to know the story of Steve Gleason. I want kids to know Steve Gleason is a WSU Cougar.”
Osterhout is a 1983 graduate of WSU and a former recipient of the school's outstanding service award. His volunteer fundraising efforts were instrumental in getting the premium seating expansion at Martin Stadium off the ground.
Gleason of course starred at linebacker for the Cougars from 1996-99, earning some form of all-Pac-10 recognition three times and ranking among the top 10 tacklers in school history. He was also a four year letter winner in baseball for the Cougs. The Spokane native later became an icon with the New Orleans Saints.
A documentary about his battle with ALS – and the quest to give his newborn son something to remember him by – recently came out in theaters and is widely considered an Oscar contender. Osterhout saw the film over the weekend and calls it a "must see" that truly explains how special Steve and his wife Michel truly are.
Since his ALS diagnosis, Steve has been a tireless fundraiser and advocate for ALS awareness. His foundation, Team Gleason, has raised $20 million to help those suffering from ALS with critical, high-tech equipment.