Young Tyees ready to make their voices heard

Last Wednesday, on the shores of Lake Union, a gathering of young Husky alumni mingled together on a deck that looked out directly toward Gasworks Park and as the setting sun that was just about to go behind Queen Anne, a quiet but aggressive tone was struck, one of youth and looking forward, not backward.

Husky fans have struggled since the 2000 season to enjoy going to football games. Men and women who just graduated this past June have never experienced winning football while at enrolled at Washington, but it appears as if "the worm is about to turn" now that Steve Sarkisian is at the helm of the good ship Husky.

An informal committee headed by Nick Glant and Brad Cahill (along with Jamie Kezner, Andrew Greene, Beth Jacobsen, Karl Hessler, Scott Wallace, and Garret Fliflet) has worked with the University Tyee to build a concept around "emerging Tyee members" under the age of 45. This is a group they know will impact the University athletic department for generations to come – a missing element in the University's current outreach.

So they gathered together 80 of their closest friends and associates, along with Husky legends like Don James, Jim Lambright, Greg Lewis, Sonny Sixkiller and Jason Chorak and KJR Radio personality Dave "Softy" Mahler to kickoff what promises to be a thriving group within the next few years.

Glant (the organizer of the group) spoke briefly about the concept behind "getting Dawgs together in a dynamic setting" and having a sense of ownership in what the athletic department achieves. He expressed that the group in attendance for the event are effectively the founding members of a core group that will help the University's Tyee effort.

Roy Shick, the Associate AD for Advancement, also was in attendance and spoke with those gathered about how "this is not your father's Huskies" and how they are trying to reach out to the younger alumni to bring Washington back into the forefront of the younger fans' minds who haven't enjoyed good football since they were on campus or have moved on to start their lives.

Shick went into how the Washington athletic department wants to embrace this demographic of fans and show them they are welcome around the program and they are encouraging their involvement.

One other note he touched on was their goal to grow the Tyee memberships in the coming years. Schools like Ohio State bring in twice the revenues from boosters than what Washington brings in, but Shick noted that it's a testament to the Husky fan base that after the past six years and the team going 0-12 in 2008, they still have over 40,000 season ticket holders and they expect a full house for the LSU game this weekend, an atmosphere that appears ready to bring the Huskies back to the forefront of national attention.

Coach James, who came to support the launch of this young group, agreed with the necessity for such a movement. "This is group that the University will be greatly benefited by reaching out to. This group is on to something special" said James.

To end the evening, Mahler auctioned off two sideline passes to the LSU game on September 5th, but not before he introduced who and what people like James, Lambright, Lewis, Sixkiller and Chorak mean to the Husky football program and how the style of football they played is what the new coaching staff is getting back to – aggressive defense, physical players that pound their opponents into submission and an explosive offense that utilizes their players to their fullest capacity.

Some talked recruiting, some talked about the upcoming season, old and new stories were shared, networking was in full force and a fun time was had by all, but in the end it was the Husky Athletic Department that was the winner as over $18,000 was raised to support Washington athletics.

Over 80 people attended the kickoff event:

James, Chorak and Lewis mingled with attendees:

Dave "Softy" Mahler and Jim Lambright were two more celebrities on hand:

Glant speaks to the gathering about things to come: Top Stories