Coach's Corner

I am so happy for the BEAST. He is a great human being and has worked extremely hard to get to the position he is now in. He is one of the toughest and most feared competitors in the world. And now the Beast has been unleashed in the east.

The BEAST is the champion and hottest combative warrior in one of the new "no-holds-barred" fighting sports. Called K-1, which I interpret to mean, "Kick the face first," actually allows the combatants to box, wrestle, kick, or otherwise blast, smash, and pulverize each other.

Blood is part of the show and tremendous collisions of face meeting fist highlights, a true cross between the ancient gladiators and street brawlers. It is not a sport for the light of heart. It is a true knock down, drag out, head slamming event.

Sure, they use light gloves and frequently break bones in their knuckles and face, but otherwise they just fight to annihilate each other. It is gross and spectacularly violent in nature.

I liked it.

I liked it because the BEAST is Bob Sapp. The same Bob Sapp I had recruited during 1991, the year of our national championship season at Washington. The same Bob Sapp that I picked him up at the airport and became immediate friends with, and will always think of as one of my favorite Huskies.

During my recruiting of Bob, I hadn't done a home visit yet with him. So I didn't have any idea what to expect as he was to get off of the plane. We had talked on the phone and I knew he had a great sense of humor and a laugh that was both great and frequent. I just waited at the arrival gate for the plane coming from Colorado and tried to look friendly.

Suddenly I was staring at man with a huge frame, in a three-piece suit with wing-tipped, polished shoes, and spectacle glasses. He looked like an undercover cop.

Knowing that Bob's dad was police officer, I went up and introduced myself and immediately thanked him for coming along with his son on the visit.

The gentleman laughed and said, "Coach, I am Bob, my dad couldn't make it."

We both laughed and our relationship has remained that way as long as I could remember.

Bob has a smile and laugh that simply warms you. He has gentleness and caring about him that is infectious. But when you see what he does on the field or in the fighting arena, you realize that he is a complete dichotomy of a man.

He is the BEAST.

He always helped me in recruiting and was one of my favorite players to use to host kids that were visiting us. Bob loved the free meals that came with recruiting and believe me, Bob loved to eat.

You want statistics? I personally witnessed him devour a FORTY-EIGHT ounce steak. He then finished with dessert.

He was totally into eating right, bodybuilding, and becoming a good ball player. He had the work ethic that made him a madman when it came to work time.

The NFL didn't work out for him, but he has paid his dues to become the toughest man in the world. He is currently one of the biggest names in all of Japan. Right up there with Ichiro.

In K-1 fighting, he is like Demitrius of the Gladiators. He roars, and it's awesome. He is powerful. He is enormous. He flattens his opponents.

And most importantly to Bob and his family, he now has over $3 million in endorsements. His aspiration is to do voice-overs for cartoons. If you've ever heard Bob talk, he'll remind you of the late great Barry White.

Ex-Husky Bob "the Beast" Sapp came to Washington as a 250-pound defensive lineman with quick feet. He grew to over 300 by his senior year and was a dominating offensive tackle that could run a 4.9 40.

He has now grown further and turned into a muscular and proportionate, almost freakish 6 feet 5 inches, and 440 pounds.

He once competed for the NFL arm wrestling championship and has been in the weight room for over 15 straight years. I'm not talking about just being in the weight room. I'm talking about living in the weight room.

At Husky practices, it was fun watching Bob get into fierce battles with D'marco Farr.

As I mentioned earlier, I recruited Bob to Washington as defensive tackle. He had watched Steve Emtman and knew of Washington's commitment to defense and weight training. But Bob was simply too powerful not to put on the offensive line where he could use his massive strength. That move got him drafted and gave him a shot at the NFL.

Everything seems to be working out great for Bob now. He was one of the most unique individuals that the University of Washington has ever educated. He was one of the few guys to live in the dormitories almost all the way thru school.

Somehow he always got a private room and bath and somehow knew how to get a deal on just about anything.

Bob knew where and when all the "All-you-can-eat nights" were and ended up actually being a residence advisor getting other special considerations for living. He had come out of high school with a 3.5 GPA and was serious about his studies and graduated on time with his degree at Washington.

He took care of business, and the major business was feeding Bob. That is why we get along so well. He and I could entertain a whole table of recruits, and I promise you Bob could make them have a good time. Along the way, I regularly fed the BEAST. We always made each other laugh and smile, and to watch him hit the world stage and have the success he is having just makes me smile.

Bob Sapp was simply awesome in the one fight of his that I watched. His highlights are stunning displays of power and force. He knows that his days as a gladiator are numbered so he is marketing himself for the future.

Heck, Hulk Hogan is still doing his shtick, and he's my age. Bob is smart enough to capitalize on the present and set himself up for movies, TV, advertising, or marketing in the future. He is a true success story of Husky football. He has got to where he is now because of hard work and planning. It didn't happen by accident.

He is one of the out of state kids we got because we won the national title. He embodied the toughness and work ethic of being a Husky. He has successfully marketed himself into one of the biggest sports stars in the world, complete with cereal box endorsements and action figures made in his likeness.

He is wonderful with children so his ambition of doing voices only seems to be a natural. I hope he doesn't get seriously hurt, but in his sport it's not a matter of whether you will get injured or not. It's just a question of how often and how serious.

Bob Sapp is one of the good guys you root for. It's not hard to see why he is so popular with the fans. He is a genuine gentle giant. He's not phony about what he is doing. He trains hard and fierce. He attacks his opponents in a non-stop barrage of haymakers, connecting with solid and thunderous crunches.

There is nothing nice about what he does. He is trying to end the fight quickly with his awesome power. He is so strong that he can crush a normal person with his grip alone. I can't even imagine surviving a bear hug by Bob.

He benefits from a protective layer of skin on his head. In fact, he looks a lot like those chinese police dog puppies with all of the loose skin and rolls.

It now just adds to his mystique – the one they call THE BEAST. columnist and KJR 950 Sports Radio personality, Dick Baird.
Dick Baird was an Assistant Coach (Linebackers) and Recruiting Coordinator at the UW from 1985-1998. He has joined the staff as a featured columnist for both the web site and Sports Washington magazine. In addition to his regular editorial columns, Coach Baird will try to provide some of his unique perspective by answering a few of your selected questions online. If you would like to send in your questions, please CLICK HERE.

| Click here to read more articles from Coach Baird | Top Stories