WE'RE TURNING THE pages on one of the fascinating stories in all of sports ... the Fighting Cougars of Washington State. From Lone Star Dietz and Ed Goddard to Jack Thompson and Jason Gesser, it's the teams, characters and stories that have made Ol' Wazzu one of the great, colorful tales in the land.

Two-way terror
Clancy Williams gave football fans in the West a ton of thrills during his brilliant collegiate career at Washington State from 1962-64, and for eight seasons after that with the Los Angeles Rams.

Upset for the ages triggered turnaround
Ty Paine is all smiles as he describes how tight end Jim Forrest kept the winning drive alive with a spectacular, one-handed catch -- "a thing of beauty." Ron Mims says he can picture the last, anxious seconds as vividly today as he did in 1971. And offensive lineman Steve Busch was so moved by the feat that he permanently borrowed the game film before graduating.

The Almost Bowl
Almost. There exists no word more heartbreakingly painful in Washington State's football history. For every hallowed Cougar squad that reached that college football Mecca known as a bowl game, there exist scores of Crimson Soldiers who walked off the turf with the haunting word almost ringing in their ears.

Man, Myth and Legend
Lone Star Dietz still captivates the Cougar nation all these years later.

The Lone Star Curse?
War-time cold shoulder and a century of bad karma.

We was robbed!
Dietz' 1917 team also should have been in Pasadena.

The Forgotten Star
Long before the Throwin' Samoan, there was the Escondido Express. His number -- 28 -- remains unretired. His statistics? Mostly unknown. And his legend? Underrated, in some ways unrealized --and like the man himself, understated.

The Fascinating Fifties
Two-way wonders, Suds, sour Sugar,
independence and lots of fancy passing.

The Sobering Sixties
Legendary stars, Cardiac Kids
and a Smilin' Irishman.

The Swingin' Seventies
Reliving the highs, lows
from Sweeney to Walden.

The Energizing Eighties
Bowl games, record setters
and a rivalry's rebirth.

The Bowl-Going Nineties
A fearsome Posse, 2 great QBs and Roses at last.

WSU's Heisman history
Eight Cougars in the 70-year history of the Heisman Trophy have cracked the top 10 in balloting for football's biggest award.

Two Unique Cougs Pass Away
A pair of Hollingbery's finest, each with remarkable claims to fame, are now gone.

College, NFL and CFL Hall of Fames
They were the very best. Here's a quick list of some of the greatest Cougars to grace the gridiron, be it in college, the National Football League or the Canadian Football League.

Braveheart: Chuck Morrell

By JOHN WITTER Senior Editor

An insidious heart disease known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy has stalked Chuck Morrell and his family for three generations, claiming five lives and forever haunting those left behind.


Epic battle sidelined by tragedy
Cougar legend Torgy Torgeson recalls heartbreak surrounding 1950 game against the Huskies.

Real Crimson Soldiers
SPORTSWRITERS OFTEN DESCRIBE athletes with generous amounts of melodrama and grandeur, using (and overusing) terms like "heroic" to describe their feats. But when the big picture makes its way back into our consciousness -- say, when our nation goes to war -- we realize what an inadequate home a basketball court or football field is for a word like "hero."

Apple Cup lore: Grenda's dominating day
On a last minute whim, Jim Sweeney picked forgotten Hank Grenda to start at QB. The move was greeted with shock and followed by awe. When it was done, the tall Canadian had passed for two TDs, run for another and kicked a field goal and three PATs. WSU won 24-0. In one form or another, Grenda scored every point on the board.

Jim Sweeney only won 26 games as head coach of the Cougs, but his winning personality and big victories in 1971 and '72 made him one for the ages.

After the worst season of foot problems on the Palouse in years, one's fancy turns to thoughts of Joe The Toe.

Greatest Apple Cup of Last 20 Years
Unless you were there, the answer may surprise.

Remembering Rogers Field

By RICHARD McCARTAN Correspondent

I REMEMBER IT like yesterday. April 4, 1970. An orange glow in the night sky and wailing sirens drew me across town to the steps leading up to the Union Building. I watched in stunned silence. Rogers Field, home of the Cougar football and track teams for nearly seven decades, was going up in smoke.


Upset of the Century
Remembering 1988: Cougs stun Bruins and nation with unforgettable victory.


Searching for Bernard
Bernard Jackson, WSU's first superstar since Hugh Campbell and Clancy Williams a decade earlier, more than any single player, helped rebuild a then-teetering program. He was optimism, excitement and a reason to cheer. Then, he disappeared. And a fateful quest for one of the brightest Washington State lights turned into an interview of a lifetime.

The Elite Eight: Cougs' fabled wins against USC
Celebrating those rare but glorious victories over Troy including the fabled '86 upset

Spokane's prolific pipeline of talent to the Cougars
YOU'D FIGURE HE would be a slam dunk choice. The guy was a triple-threat star who not only was an all-conference performer during his time in crimson but had the school mascot named in his honor. Yet Herbert "Butch" Meeker, all 5-foot-4, 142 pounds of him, didn't stand a chance when it came to picking the quarterback for CF.C's team of the greatest Cougar footballers to come out of Spokane.

The biggest hit
A real 12th man makes Cougar history vs. Jim Plunkett in 1970.

The Duke

Duke Washington broke barriers at two schools, WSU and Texas, when he ran into history in 1954
He helped break the color line in Cougar football and then brought the University of Texas student body to its feet. Here's the story of how one man, the captain of the Cougs, seared an indelible picture into the minds of teammates, opponents and fans. From humble beginnings that led the family to Pasco and then brought their only son to Pullman, Duke Washington shares his journey.

CF.C Conversation: The real Ryan Leaf

By BARRY BOLTON Managing Editor

RYAN LEAF IS TODAY far removed from the football spotlight. For a long time, he tried to keep an arm's length from the Cougar Nation. In retrospect, that distancing was a mistake, he said. It's not something you run from, Leaf has come to realize, it's something you run to. And Leaf is doing his best to make up for lost time.


Can WSU claim 1915 national crown? The case is made
History check finds that Lone Star Dietz' 1915 Washington State team was the rightful national champion.


Cardiac Kids pushed to the limit
Bigger. Faster. Certainly more sophisticated. Not tougher. College football was rarely if ever a tougher game than it was in their time and place, the Pullman of 1964 and '65, when the Washington State Cougars were pushed to the limits of strength and will.

Jerry Williams: One of WSU's greatest, one of pro game's most innovative
Deemed too small for football, he became an All-Coast back for the Cougars and an All-Pro safety for the Rams before embarking on an esteemed pro coaching career.

Jack Thompson

Fate and the Throwin' Samoan
For the motherlode of fate shining on Ol' Wazzu, you needn't look farther than legendary quarterback Jack Thompson. No less than three times did the gods of destiny change what seemed the likely course of human events to produce the fabled marriage between WSU and the record-shattering Throwin' Samoan. By the time he left, he was the most prolific passer in NCAA history and would become only the second Cougar footballer ever to have his number retired.

'98 Rose Bowl capped fabled season with controversy
The game will be remembered not as a Cougar loss and Michigan national title. It will be remembered for that incomplete ending. The Cougars didn't lose --- the clock simply ran out on them. This clash of champions will be forever colored with controversy and conjecture.

The Forgotten Ten
These Cougar greats deserve WSU Hall of Fame consideration


Don Collins

Cougars and Bruins have been here before
WASHINGTON STATE AND UCLA have waged three classic battles in Pullman over the years that have held major post-season implications. They also set the standard by which the noise level at Beasley always will be measured.

Is still-elusive Don Collins the greatest Cougar ever?
"The only legitimate way to compare people from different eras, I think, is by looking at how they did against the competition they faced on the court. And by that count, there is no Cougar who comes even close to Don Collins ...."

Terry Kelly

Learning from tourney past to shape the now
THE MELTDOWN OF A very good basketball team on a late-winter afternoon 27 years ago in Indiana is hardly unique. It's just part of the collective madness of March. It's personal only when the dream is your dream. When it goes poof it's your team and your career that cease to matter. Terry Kelly co-captained the 1979-80 Cougars, the first team from WSU to reach the NCAA Tournament in 39 seasons.

A vivid walk down WSU's memory lane
HOW TIMES HAVE changed. The basketball coach at Washington State is making $1 million a year and the team itself will be flying on charters more often than not come this winter. Back in 1971, in his last season at WSU, Hall of Fame coach Marv Harshman made a little less than $20,000. And what he remembers about air travel wasn't commercial vs. charter, but the hurdles it presented in recruiting.

Steve Puidokas

The life and times of Steve Puidokas
THE STABLE WAS FULL up and down the coast in the basketball muscle-up of the 1970s. James Edwards loomed at Washington. USC had Gus Williams. Lonnie Shelton was at Oregon State. Oregon, with Greg Ballard and Ron Lee, scrapped over every possession no matter who was on the floor. And there was Bill Walton and John Wooden at UCLA. Laying down a foundation against that intimidating backdrop of college basketball skyscrapers demanded patience. Eventually, George Raveling got it done. And it wouldn't have happened without Steve Puidokas.


1917 Cougars won national hoops title
Led by coach Doc Bohler and his little brother Roy, the star 5-foot-11 center, the team went 25-1, playing 18 games on the road. They were the first-ever basketball champion from the Pac-10, which at the time was called the Pacific Coast Conference.

Gene Conley a world champion in NBA and MLB
IN THE SPACE OF a few short months in 1959, Gene Conley struck out Ted Williams and canned a hook shot over Wilt Chamberlain.

Cougfan Top Stories