One time Husky fan turns Cougar

Ask any Husky fan about the often negative coverage from Seattle newspapers in regards to Washington football and you'll see either puzzlement or outright disgust. It's a movement that's never made much sense to me. Spearheading this anti-Husky movement—at least in recent years—has been the Seattle-PI's Jim Moore.

Moore, known as the "Go-2-Guy" in his byline, has an avowed hatred of Washington football. His inflammatory columns, snickering cheap shots, and sometimes hilarious lampoons of anything purple have raised the hackles of Husky fans from Longview to Bellingham. His periodic potshots at Dawgman.com writer and former Husky coach Dick Baird stir up irritation among readers.

In one unofficial study of Moore's columns in 2006, he made anti-Husky references in 77.8% of them. His compulsion borders on obsessive.

Anyone that obsessed is someone I HAVE to meet, so I arranged to interview him. I wanted to get to the root cause of the darkness in the heart of what is otherwise a decent man. I began by asking him if there was some sort of childhood trauma that we needed to address.

"I had a severe blow to the head," said Moore as he laughed heartily.

"No, actually I grew up being a Husky fan, believe it or not. I went to the games with my Mom in the Sonny Sixkiller era. I loved him, and I loved Calvin Jones and Jim Krieg. I even went to the Rose Bowl in 1978, when Michael Jackson saved the day against Michigan with the interception. We sat in section 7 (at Husky Stadium). I loved the Huskies."

Then Moore had a change of heart. "I don't know what happened. When it was time to go to college, I wanted to get away from home, so I went to Pullman. It was there that I saw the light and have never looked back."

About twenty-five years after graduating from Washington State, Moore found himself with a dream job — trashing the Huskies in print and getting paid for it with the Seattle-PI. His is certainly an unorthodox style.

"I had never written a column before when I started this one four and half years ago," said Moore. "I said to my bosses, `how do you want me to approach this?' I kind of wanted to do something different. They just told me to be myself. So I said, `OK, I'm a guy and a Cougar. I like nice-looking attractive women. I like to golf, drink beer, gamble and --like all Cougars-- I love to trash on the Huskies.' I also love dogs, and write about them every now and then. So that has been the basis of what I do with the column."

Moore was then asked about the worst things yelled at him by Husky fans over the past four and half years.

"There have been a variety of things," he said with another laugh. "Lately, I have gotten a lot of Husky fans telling me that it's a tired shtick and they wonder when I'm going to give it up. And then when I don't trash on the Huskies, I hear from Cougar fans telling me `Hey! You haven't ripped the Huskies in awhile, where is it?' So, you can't please everybody.

"But I've been called every name in the book, in both voice mails and emails," he continued. "I don't get confrontational when I write back to Husky fans. I usually just say `sorry you don't like the column and thanks for writing.' When I get a reply to my reply, they either apologize or tell me that they don't mind it as much as they originally said they did. I do write the column in fun, although it doesn't always come across that way."

The wrath of Husky fans for Moore reached probably its zenith a year ago when he interviewed Bellevue High School star lineman Steve Schilling. At the time, Schilling had narrowed his college choices to Washington, Michigan and USC. Moore went on to write a lightning rod of a column declaring how the youngster would be making a horrible mistake if he went to Washington. Schilling ended up selecting Michigan.

"It's funny you mention the Schilling article," said Moore. "Maybe I'm naïve. I'm forty-nine years old, so you would think that I wouldn't be naïve about anything. But when it comes to recruiting, even with WSU, I don't follow it. With that Schilling article, my boss was uncomfortable and now wants me to steer clear of recruiting articles in the future. I just wrote that one aimed directly at Husky fans. I was surprised at how vicious the reaction from Husky fans was, because I really didn't care if he went to Washington or Michigan. Honest to God and in all honesty, if my fifteen-year old daughter qualifies for Washington (in a couple years), I would be thrilled. I would drive her there myself and drop her off. I would be thrilled if she was a Husky. I think it would be fun to have Apple Cup battles with my own daughter. I think the University of Washington is a fine academic institution.

"I just don't like the football team, and I want nothing but failure for them."

I had further curiosity of the past experiences that had shaped the Go 2 Guy into the embittered middle-aged Husky hater that he is today. I asked him to describe his most excruciating loss to Washington, as well the greatest Cougar victory of the Apple Cups he has witnessed.

"Every loss to the Huskies is excruciating," he said. "This past year's knocked us out of a bowl game, so it was really excruciating. But the one that hurt most was in '81. I haven't forgotten (UW receiver) Paul Skansi's catch in the end zone right before halftime. That seemed to be a turning point in the game. We would have ended up going to the Rose Bowl had we won. What was worse was that Washington got to go to the Rose Bowl instead, so that was devastating.

"The best Cougar win was the '92 `Snow Bowl,'" said Moore. "I hadn't planned on going to the game. I went to the airport to sell my ticket to someone who was going over on a charter flight. A seat opened up on the plane and I ended up going over to Pullman. I thoroughly enjoyed that game! I remember being drunker than a skunk, and I didn't eat that day. I wasn't properly dressed for (bitterly cold) weather. But I remember the snow blowing on the Husky fans, and (WSU receiver) Phillip Bobo skidding through the end zone with a couple of touchdown catches. Everything about that day was great…. But the next morning when I woke up, it wasn't so great…"

Now in his fifth year of annoying Husky fans with his incessant bashing, I asked Moore that if he could control fate, which former Washington coach would he prefer to return to Montlake — Keith Gilbertson or Rick Neuheisel.

"Well, I would love another 1-10 season, so that's one for Gilby," said Moore as he pondered deeply. "But I've got to go with Neuheisel for sure. He provided all kinds of copy on the field and off. Geez, I still miss him! I can't believe Husky fans don't miss him, too. He did a lot of great things for your team and university. He had good records and lots of success. And he was a beauty in Kent in the courtroom during the trial. I thought he brought the University to its knees (with the lawsuit). And when his cell phone went off while he was on the witness stand, it was an all-timer that will never be topped! I was biting my tongue and had to wait until I got outside to laugh my head off."

I next wanted to know about his periodic public spat with my fellow Dawgman writer Dick Baird. I asked Moore the point of his perpetual beef with Baird.

"I actually like Dick a lot," said Moore. "I know that if I ever went out with him for some beers that I would have a good time. But you know -- he once played for the Cougars. He recently told me how he had wanted to go back to WSU to coach and they didn't want him and then the UW hired him. So there's some stuff I have learned recently that lessen the fact that Baird is a big-time traitor. But having said that, the worse thing a Cougar can do is come back to Seattle and openly root for the Huskies. And he says ‘we" in reference to the Huskies. And I sit there thinking, `No! You went to WSU, and you're a Cougar!' To change sides like that is the worse thing a Cougar can do."

Our discussion was coming to an end, but I wanted to elicit Moore's thoughts on former Husky players. If he was drafting a new Husky football team from scratch, and could pick one former Dawg for offense and one for defense, who would he select?

"I would probably have Casey Paus at quarterback with my first-round pick," said Moore with poorly-restrained glee. "And for defense, I would pick one of those crummy defensive backs you guys have had the past few years. It would be hard to pick one, because you've had so many and they were all so crummy. But the main thing is, let's make my hand-picked Husky team as lousy as possible."
Derek Johnson can be reached at derekjohnson1@verizon.net


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