DAY 1 After nearly two days of relaxation at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, the Cougar football team embarked on the one-hour bus ride to the Spokane Airport, while at approximately the same time many staff and support personnel left Pullman for the same destination.
Both groups arrived at the Cougar charter about 11:30 a.m. and by shortly after noon, the huge DC-10 was air-born for LAX in Los Angeles. The flight was uneventful and smooth, with many players opting to watch an in-flight movie, listen to their personal CD players, or take a nap. Or for some a little of all three.
Touching down about 2:30 p.m., the Cougar football team took five buses and headed across town to the Los Angeles Coliseum, their practice home until the Jan. 1 meeting with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. The rest of the travel party bused to WSU's home for 10 days, the Regent Beverly Wilshire (RBW) on Wilshire Blvd. and near Rodeo Drive in the Beverly Hills area.
The Tournament of Roses made hotel arrangements for all Rose Bowl participants, placing WSU in the RBW and sending Oklahoma to the Park Hyatt hotel in Century City, about a mile from the Cougar hotel. The media covering the Rose Bowl is housed in the Century Plaza Hotel, also located at Century City, which was the site in 1997 of a huge Cougar Rally.
The Cougar coached drilled the football team for about 30 minutes, with most of the work spent on small unit drills or special team work. At the end, 10 50-yard sprints were in order, just to get the kinks out after a two-plus hour flight and then bus ride through the traditional traffic of LA.
Then back on the buses and off to check in at the RBW. After being issued room keys and storing their belongings, the Cougar players and coaches gathered in a large ballroom and were introduced to the Rose Bowl queen and her court. Marcus Trufant and Jason Gesser represented the Cougars on stage, with the queen presenting Gesser with a banqet of roses prepared in the form of Hawaiian lei.
Once the festivities and numerous media interviews were finished, the players were free of team duties and headed out for a look around the hotel and the many tourist attractions of Beverly Hills. Walking around the hotel, you just knew many of the players were looking for Julia Roberts, who filmed Pretty Woman in the same hotel. A week earlier Larry King was observed eating breakfast at the RBW during the Cougars' Rose Bowl advance. The odds are good, according to locals, you can see someone famous in the hotel just about every day of the week.