The Quarterback U Project

AROUND THE SAME TIME Washington State was dubbed Quarterback U by Sports Illustrated nearly a decade ago, former WSU offensive lineman Mark Schuster was organizing his first Tri-Cities Cougar Tailgate. His latest brainchild comes to fruition on Friday following three years of effort and 10,000 travel miles. A truly unique piece of crimson memorabilia -- The Quarterback U print.

Wanting to raise some money for WSU while at the same time creating a piece of crimson history Cougar fans could put up in their homes -- and in particular, their Cougar rooms -- the idea was born.

"I have a Coug room in my house," Schuster said. "A Cougar Room is a phenomenon somewhat unique to the Northwest schools. A lot of people have a Coug Room -- but you don't hear about people with Dawg Rooms, Duck Rooms or Beaver Rooms. I thought this would be something special for people to have in their Cougar room."

After commissioning an artist and getting the go-ahead from Washington State, he had the 20 x 16 prints produced and then personally took them around to all six Cougar quarterbacks -- Jack Thompson, Mark Rypien, Timm Rosenbach, Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, and Jason Gesser.

Each quarterback individually autographed the prints. All 315 of them.

"What we ended up with is really unique but the best part of the project is that 100 percent of the money raised from selling the prints will go towards an endowed football scholarship," says Schuster. "Every penny goes towards the scholarship."

Schuster and his three brothers -- Mike, Dan and Steve -- all Washington State alumni, are absorbing the entire costs of the project. The criteria for which the endowment funds will be directed to are: 1) a quarterback, 2) a football player from the Tri-Cities area, 3) as needed for the football team.

The print, which sells for $400, goes on sale to the general public Friday, July 21, at wsucougars.com.

At this year's Tri-City Tailgate event, the first of the 315 prints with the autographs of six Cougar quarterback legends sold for $2,100 -- the first contribution to The Schuster Family Endowment.

"I am just a loyal fan, Alumni, and supporter of the University," says Schuster. "It has taken three years and 10,000 miles but we are finally reaching the fourth quarter. There is definitely a part of me that is a little disappointed to see the project come to a close because it has been so much fun -- I was able to meet a whole bunch of great Cougs along the way."


For more information, including a look at The Quarterbacks of Quarterback U, click here.


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