WSU media guide full of unique insights

PULLMAN -- The college football media guide as we know it appears to be a dying breed. For that, sports writers bow their heads in silence. Or maybe they're just nodding off at their laptops. Regardless, there are tons of nuggets in the Cougs' media guide, and we've unearthed more than a few.

Budget cutbacks threaten the future of media guides at Washington State and other schools. Most of the information will be made available online, but the glossy color covers, wire binding and -- worst of all -- The Look will never be the same if media guides are reduced to sheets of paper run off the copy machine.

The 2009 WSU football media guide is, as usual, a thing of beauty. The front cover features action shots of seniors Kenny Alfred, Dwight Tardy, Andy Mattingly, Tony Thompson and Kevin Kooyman. Their photos are transposed in front of historical Cougar football photos and a photo of the massive cougar sculpture that now graces Martin Stadium on Stadium Way.

Inside the media guide, readers will find anything and everything about Cougar football history -- all 115 years of it. Every score of every game. Every letterman. All-Americans. School records. Recaps of bowl games. All the Cougars who ever played a minute of pro football, from arenafootball2 to the NFL.

The coach and player bios serve as a veritable feeding frenzy for trivia junkies.

For example, who knew that freshman linebacker Darren Markle was a class president, homecoming prince and national powerlifting champion in high school? And that his father won an NCAA powerlifting championship at BYU? And that his mother played golf at BYU? And that his sister competes in gymnastics at Utah State? And that his grandfather played basketball at San Jose State?

Not surprisingly, many Cougars had family members who played college or pro sports.

Three players are the sons of retired NFL players: running back Logwone Mitz (Alonzo), cornerback Brandon Jones (Lyndall) and tight end Tony Thompson (Jack). Safety Casey Locker is a cousin of Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker. Center Kenny Alfred's brother, Matt, played for current Cougar coach Paul Wulff at Eastern Washington. Tight end Andrei Lintz' grandfather played pro soccer in Russia, where Andrei was born.

Did you know that wide receiver Jeshua Anderson set a national high school record in the 300 hurdles? Or that offensive tackle Joe Eppele was ranked No. 1 in Canada in his age group in the hammer throw? Or that punter Reid Forrest played in a Babe Ruth League World Series in baseball?

Junior safety Chima Nwachukwu registered a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the 2008-09 school year. Offensive tackle Micah Hannam, a civil engineering major, was a 3.97 student in high school. Defensive end Travis Long had a 3.89 GPA and made the National Honor Society at Gonzaga Prep. Wide receiver Daniel Blackledge posted a 3.75 prep GPA and participated in the wind ensemble.

Washington State's linebackers are an interesting group. Louis Bland, a top college wrestling prospect, was featured in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd. Alex Hoffman-Ellis won a gold medal in basketball with a U.S. youth team at the Maccabi International Games (the "Jewish Olympics"). Jason Stripling likes to play checkers. Andy Mattingly has eight siblings. Hallston Higgins was president of his high school's chapter of the Business Professionals of America.

Running back Dwight Tardy scored nine touchdowns in one California state playoff game. Another running back, Marcus Richmond, ran for 200-plus yards in five straight games during his prep glory days. Josh Luapo, a 6-foot, 311-pound defensive tackle at WSU, averaged more than 7 yards per carry as a senior fullback in high school.

Assistant coaches Jody Sears, Harold Etheridge and Travis Niekamp coached together at Army. Niekamp was a National Strength and Conditioning All-American when he played football at Illinois State. Diminutive offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy starred at quarterback at little St. Ambrose (Iowa) University after earning 14 varsity letters in four sports in high school.

YOU MIGHT WANT TO steer Cougar coaches away from the pages that list WSU's all-time records against opponents. The rugged schedule facing the Cougars this year is a far cry from early day schedules that included the likes of Whitman, Willamette and Blair Business College. Not to mention the Spokane YMCA, Spokane Athletic Club and Spokane High School.

Actually, Spokane High (now called Lewis and Clark) wasn't all that bad. Spokane thumped the Cougars 18-0 in 1894 in the second and final game of the inaugural season of football at Washington State. All was not lost -- literally or figuratively -- that season, since the Cougars opened with a 10-0 win over Idaho.

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