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The Inaugural Homecoming Letterwinners' Reunion
(October 16, 2004)
This event was held on Homecoming, Saturday, October 16, 2004 prior to the Cougars taking on Stanford in Martin Stadium. It took place on Rogers Field (football practice field) and offered several enjoyable benefits: food and beverages were served, a Gray "W" T-shirt was given to every former letterwinner who attended, and Cougars from all sports and years were at the reunion. Here is a quick list of some of the notable Cougs in attendance:
- The Voice of the Cougars, Bob Robertson
- WSU baseball icon, Bobo Brayton
- 1986 NFL Rookie of the Year, running back Reuben Mayes
- Legendary tennis and gymnastics coach, Rex Davis
- 5-time track & field All-American, 3-time Pac-10 Champion, Ellannee Richardson
- Third all-time football receptions leader, Doug Flansburg
- 1988 All-American and Aloha Bowl participant, Tim Stallworth
- All Pac-10 volleyball player and member of the 1996 Elite Eight team, Jennifer Stinson Greeny
All who attended were very pleased with the success of the turnout and the enjoyable and exciting atmosphere of being reunited with former teammates and meeting other WSU varsity student-athletes spanning several generations. "I had so much fun coming back to Pullman and being with my former teammates," said 2003 soccer captain, Kim Morgan. "I saw many familiar faces and met several former athletes from previous years. Having that one location for former letterwinners to meet before the game was the perfect way to spend Homecoming."
Rex Davis, who competed on the Cougar gymnastics team and coached both gymnastics and tennis at WSU, commented, "It was great because we had Cougs from all cross sections of letterwinners from long ago and today. It was fun to reminisce and see former Cougars that I haven't seen in a long while. It was well received and I look forward to another one."
WSU vs. UCLA Football Pregame Event in Pasadena, California
(November 6, 2004)
In conjunction with the WSU Alumni Association and Athletic Foundation, the Gray "W" Varsity Club invited former letterwinners to attend the official pre-game event prior to the WSU versus UCLA football game. This alumni function was held on November 6, 2004 at the Brookside Country Club, which is adjacent to the Rose Bowl. Former WSU varsity student-athletes received free admission (with one guest) and a discount on lunch and beverages. It was a great success.
Tom Kelley, who is a 1966 graduate of WSU, played wide receiver for the Cougs, and currently lives in the Los Angeles area said, "It was great to see old friends and former football players I played with as a student-athlete. It is always fun when you don't live in the state of Washington like me to feel the Cougar Spirit close to my home." Former Cougar pitcher and major league baseball player Aaron Sele was one of many other former WSU letterwinners who showed up from all over the country to support the Crimson and Gray.
WSU Letterwomen's Day
(February 12, 2005)
February 12, 2005 marked the inaugural WSU Letterwomen's Day, honoring former WSU women student-athletes and coaches. The day began with a Coaches Corner Lunch, where Cougar fans listened to a pregame talk from WSU Head Women's Basketball Coach Sherri Murrell, former WSU basketball standout and Oregon State University Head Coach Judy Spoelstra, and WSU Senior Associate Director of Athletics/ SWA Marcia Saneholtz.
After the lunch, all former WSU women student-athletes and coaches enjoyed watching the Cougar women basketball team top the OSU Beavers by a score of 68-63. "I think our women felt the energy and support from the former letterwomen who were in attendance," Coach Murrell said. "They played hard, and we really wanted that last home win for our seniors. It was great seeing Cougar alumnae come back--they deserved being recognized." All former letterwomen and coaches received a warm welcome from Cougar fans during a ceremony at halftime.
The special day was capped by an evening social at the beautiful Lewis Alumni Centre. Food and beverages were served while former women athletes and coaches were joined by current WSU staff and coaches of women's teams. Memories were shared, and a good time was had by all who attended. "It felt so good to come back, be a part of such a special event, and interact with Cougar female athletes and coaches spanning over 30 years," said former Cougar volleyball and basketball player Holly (Harris) Rohrbacher. "I am so thankful for benefiting from the struggles and hard work that women athletes before me had to make. I'm looking forward to coming back next year."
The WSU Athletic Department and the Gray "W" Varsity Club are researching varsity women's athletic teams before 1982 (when the women's and men's athletic departments merged into one) in an attempt to identify and contact women student-athletes who were not awarded an official "letter-award." The information collected will be entered into a database and maintained by the Athletic Department in preparation to the 25th Anniversary (in 2007) of the "Blair Decision," which made athletics for women more equitable across the country.
Former WSU female student-athletes are asked to submit their contact information by clicking the "Gray W" link found at www.wsucougars.com, calling (509) 335-7156, or e-mailing email@example.com. The WSU Athletic Department also encourages those who know former female student-athletes to submit their contact information as well. "It was a good beginning to get in touch with former athletes prior to 1980," said former women's volleyball and basketball coach and Letterwomen's Day attendee, Sue Durrant. "I thought it was a nice representation of athletes from several decades and sports."
Cougar Baseball Spring Alumni Weekend
(April 1-3, 2005)
Head Coach Donny Marbut, the Cougar Baseball team, and the Gray "W" Varsity Club hosted the Spring Alumni Weekend, April 1-3, 2005 versus the Stanford Cardinal. This three day event was well received amongst WSU Baseball alumni who were honored and recognized throughout the weekend. Garrett Alwert (2004 Captain, Pac-10 pitcher of the week of April 11-18, 2004, and member of the Cleveland Indian's Organization) threw out the first pitch on Friday night. The legendary Joe McIntosh (first in WSU career wins and single season complete games) threw out the first pitch on Saturday. Finally, one of the most celebrated and renowned of all Cougar legends, Chuck "Bobo" Brayton, threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday.
Saturday night all baseball alumni, friends, and family attended a social hour and dinner at the Hilltop Restaurant in Pullman. The speakers included Head Coach Donny Marbut, 2005 Captain Zach Kosturos, Gray "W" Coordinator Collin Henderson, and Coach Bobo Brayton. Many other baseball alumni told stories and spoke of fond memories they experienced being a part of Cougar Baseball. Sunday morning all alumni were invited to have a pancake breakfast with the team and coaching staff in the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. It was the first Spring Alumni Weekend, which Coach Marbut and the program look to have as an annual event.
Cougar Football Preseason Reunion: Past Meets Present
(August 12-14, 2005)
Over sixty years of alumni returned to Pullman the weekend of August 12-14, 2005 for the Cougar Football Preseason Reunion: Past Meets Present. It was wonderful to see former teammates being reconnected with one another after decades of being apart. All who attended agreed that it was the highlight of the summer. The weekend events started Friday night with the Welcome Back Social in the Bohler Galleria followed by the Legends Film Party in the Camp Room. Saturday, all alumni had the opportunity to sit in on position meetings, see a walk-through practice, take a tour of the WSU facilities, enjoy a tent party lunch on Rogers Field, watch the first scrimmage of the season, and then wound down the evening with a dinner in the new Cougar Fitness Cafe as they visited with current players and staff. The weekend concluded Sunday morning with a nine-hole golf tournament on the Pullman Golf Course. We hope to make this an annual affair, so football alums, keep August open for next year's Past Meets Present event.
Cardiac Kids 40th Anniversary Celebration
(October 7-8, 2005)
The Gray "W" Varsity Club and WSU Athletics honored the 1965 Cougar football team during the Cardiac Kids 40th Anniversary Celebration, October 7-8, 2005. This historic Cougar football team received the name "Cardiac Kids" because of the excitement and thrills they created every time they stepped on the gridiron. Nearly every game was decided in the final minutes of play during that unforgettable season. While defeating three Big Ten opponents by a combined margin of nine points, their season record of 7-3 was the best WSU football record since 1958 and not topped until the 1981 Holiday Bowl team. A total of 34 players and coaches returned to the Palouse traveling all over the country to be honored as one of the most beloved teams in Cougar history!
The weekend started at the Friday Evening Social hosted by the West Coast Ridpath Hotel in Spokane. The guest speakers included the "Voice of the Cougars," Bob Robertson; coaches Red Smith and Joe Marvin; and Cardiac Kids players Bob Trygstad (defensive tackle) and Wayne Foster (defensive tackle). Several of the Cardiac Kids Celebration participants hadn't seen each other in nearly 40 years! The West Coast Ridpath was gracious enough to offer a complimentary room to all Cardiac Kids who came back for the reunion.
Saturday's pregame festivities included an interactive luncheon in Bohler Gym for the Cardiac Kids players, coaches, family, friends, and fans. Close to 140 people in attendance enjoyed moving speeches by Coach Jim Shanley, Mark Wicks (linebacker), and Tom Roth (quarterback) who talked about that memorable season. All in attendance enjoyed a highlight video from that 1965 season narrated by Bob Robertson and a tribute Cardiac Kids 40th Anniversary Celebration booklet including game summaries, action photos, and player profiles. During the end of the luncheon there was a live auction of three football helmets signed by all Cardiac Kids players and coaches who returned. Each helmet sold for an astonishing $2,000 each!
During the WSU vs. Stanford football game, all Cardiac Kids who returned for the Celebration were introduced and honored during a field ceremony presentation. The Cardiac Kids 40th Anniversary Celebration was an event for the ages.
2nd Annual Homecoming Letterwinners' Reunion
(October 15, 2005)
A total of 160 Gray "W' Varsity Club members gathered on Rogers Field to enjoy the 2nd Annual Homecoming Letterwinners' Reunion. Former Cougar student-athletes and coaches from all generations and sports came together to share their love for WSU Athletics. There were former letterwinners dating back to 1936, such as track & field competitor Roy Carriker from Kennewick, and young alums such as 2005 track & field captain and school of business graduate Rachel Bertholf. "It was a great opportunity for Cougar athletes to unite," said Bertholf. "While eating great food, seeing former teammates, meeting new Cougs, and getting fired up before the football game; I can't image a better way to spend Homecoming." All 2005-06 dues paying members of the Gray "W" Varsity Club receive a complimentary pass to the Homecoming Reunion.
The Homecoming Letterwinners Pregame Reunion will be held annually, so remember to mark your calendars for next year (October 14, 2006 versus California).
WSU vs. USC Football Pre-Game Event
(October 29, 2005)
In conjunction with the WSU Alumni Association and Athletic Foundation, the Gray "W" Varsity Club invited former letterwinners to attend the official pre-game event prior to the WSU just outside the Los Angeles Coliseum. Former WSU varsity student-athletes received free admission (with one guest) and a discount on lunch and beverages. We had a tremendous turnout and a large number of local letterwinners attended the pregame event to get "fired up" before the football game. Former WSU swimmer Eric Bell volunteered and helped the Varsity Club sign up new members. He commented, "The feeling of being a WSU student-athlete is very special. It is such a great opportunity to share the Cougar Spirit with Cougs who live outside of Pullman and who do not get the chance to come together as often as we would like. I can't wait for next year's pregame event."
Four Fathers of Cougar Basketball Celebration: Friel, Harshman, Heathcote, Raveling
(January 21, 2006)
Saturday, January 21, 2006 marked a historic day in WSU Basketball history. Jack Friel (represented at the event by son Wally), Marv Harshman, Jud Heathcote, and George Raveling left their mark as four influential basketball coaches who helped shape the proud tradition and history of Cougar Basketball. What a great opportunity to have these four Cougar coaching legends come together in Pullman to share the love of WSU basketball and the spirit of Cougar Pride! All who took part in the Four-Fathers' festivities agreed that honoring these coaches was very deserving and having the opportunity to interact with them again was a truly extraordinary experience. The Gray "W" Varsity Club was honored and privileged to host this historical event.
Twenty-five basketball alums brought their families and friends together in the Bohler Athletic Complex to re-connect with each other and the Four-Fathers during the Gray "W" Social Hour. Following the Gray "W" Social Hour, over 250 Cougar fans gathered in Bohler Gymnasium to enjoy a delicious dinner and program featuring the Four-Fathers. Here are a few quotes from the Four-Fathers of Cougar Basketball banquet:
"The universities are all different. Living in Pullman and raising a family was better for us, better than a big city." - Marv Harshman
"Of all the schools I coached at, WSU was a place I fell in love with and loved the most." - George Raveling
"He was the greatest man in the world. He was a wonderful father and there's not much more to say." - Wallis Friel commenting on his father Coach Jack Friel
"I want to thank Marv not only for giving me my first job and teaching me the game of basketball, but for teaching me the game of people. If I had to pick one place that was the best, I would pick here. They say once a Coug, always a Coug, and I'm proud of that." - Jud Heathcote