Asked who he was going to root for this season, the Huskies or Golden Bears, when his dueling grandsons face off, Sweeney didn't hesitate
SWEENEY ALWAYS HAD A WAY OF MAKING COUGARS SMILE, AND HUSKIES GRIMACE. FELLNER (LEFT) AND TUEL.
And then the man whose last season in Pullman was in 1975 looked over at Tuel, and with a grin as wide as the Palouse, said, "Once a Coug, always a Coug."
A year ago, Tuel was the backup at Clovis West behind Beau Sweeney, who was one of the most touted prep QBs in the West in the 2008 recruiting cycle.
This past season, getting his turn at center stage, Tuel didn't disappoint. He led Clovis West to the Central Section championship, racking up 2,379 all-purpose yards and earning All-Valley honors.
SWEENEY CAME TO WSU in 1967 in circumstances similar to current Cougar head man Paul Wulff. Both were highly successful coaches in the Big Sky Conference and both inherited a Cougar program running short on big-time talent.
The Cougar teams of 1969 and '70 won just a single game each. But the foundation was being set for a Top 20 team two years later.
Indeed, the signs began to show in '71. That was the year the Cougars knocked off Rose Bowl juggernaut Stanford in a monumental upset. It was the the first time Wazzu fans had real hope since the Cardiac Kids of '65.
The next year, Sweeney's Cougars went 7-4 and finished No. 17 in the nation following a dramatic win over Washington.
The two players Sweeney says were the most instrumental in the crimson turnaround? One was the incomparable running back Bernard Jackson. The other, like Tuel, was a quarterback -- Ty Paine -- known for his legs and his arm.
JEFF TUEL AND JIM SWEENEY