May 25, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - Seniors Steve Gleason and Nian Taylor will serve as captains for the 1999 Washington State football squad as voted by their teammates, head coach Mike Price announced today.
According to Price, "Our captains serve an integral role on the team by acting as a conduit between the players and coaches while also leading summer workouts and off-season conditioning."
Gleason, a linebacker from Spokane, Wash., returns to captain the team for the second straight season. The 1998 Pac-10 All-Academic team member finished last season with 70 tackles, 50 unassisted and nine for a loss of 48 yards. He also led the Cougars with four sacks for a loss of 34 yards. Gleason, who splits his time between the gridiron and the WSU baseball diamond as a centerfielder, is majoring in management information systems.
"Steve is one of a very few players in WSU history to be captain for two seasons," Price said. "That is an accomplishment in itself."
Defensive coordinator Bill Doba, who has worked with Gleason for the past four years, speaks highly of his abilities on and off the field. "Steve is one of the best competitors I have ever coached," Doba said. "He has great leadership abilities and is a very positive leader. He runs fast and hits hard. When he is on the field it is like having a coach on the field.
Taylor, an All-America candidate, returns for his final year as a Cougar after graduating this spring with a general studies degree. While not academically eligible as a freshman, Taylor was granted a fourth year of eligibility by the NCAA because he graduated at the end of four years. The wide receiver from Riverside, Calif., caught 45 passes for 847 yards and scored eight touchdowns last season earning him All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors. Taylor's best game in 1998 was a three touchdown performance, including a 97 yard passing play from quarterback Steve Birnbaum, against Idaho.
"The fact that Nian has chosen to come back for his final year after graduating is a credit to him," Price said. "He doesn't have to do that. He has graduated."
"Nian set a long-range goal when the opportunity allowed him to get his freshman year back and now he has achieved that goal," wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller said. "We will benefit greatly from his return. He has an infectious personality and makes the game fun for those around him, including me."
The Cougars open their season in Martin Stadium against Utah, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. WSU players will begin fall drills Aug. 12.