Washington State Cougars football
The Washington State Cougars football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Washington State University, located in the U.S. state of Washington. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the FBS and is a member of the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12). Known as the Cougars, the first football team was fielded in 1894.
|Washington State Cougars football|
|Athletic director||Patrick Chun|
|Head coach||Mike Leach|
7th season, 49–40 (.551)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Pac-12 (since 1962)|
|Division||North (since 2011)|
|Past conferences||Independent (1894–1916)|
|All-time record||550–553–45 (.499)|
|Bowl record||8–7 (.533)|
|Conference titles||4 (1917, 1930, 1997, 2002)|
|Division titles||1 (2018)|
|Colors||Crimson and Gray|
|Fight song||Washington State University Fight Song|
|Mascot||Butch T. Cougar|
|Marching band||Cougar Marching Band|
The Cougars play home games on campus at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, which opened in 1972; the site dates back to 1892 when it was called Soldier Field. Its present seating capacity is 33,522. Their main rivals are the Washington Huskies. The Cougars and Huskies historically end each regular season with the Apple Cup rivalry game in late November. They are currently coached by Mike Leach.
Early history (1894–1977)Edit
Washington State's first head football coach was William Goodyear. That team played only two games in its inaugural season in 1894, posting a 1–1 record. The team's first win was over Idaho. The first paid head football coach was William L. Allen, who served as head coach in 1900 and 1902, posting an overall record of 6–3–1.
John R. Bender served as head football coach from 1906–1907 and 1912–1914, compiling a record of 21–12. William Henry Dietz was the Cougars' head football coach from 1915–1917, posting a stellar 17–2–1 record. Dietz's 1915 team defeated Brown in the Rose Bowl, and finished with a 7–0 record. Dietz was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2012. Albert Exendine served as Washington State's head football coach from 1923–1925, posting a 6–13–4 overall record.
Babe Hollingbery was the Cougars' head football coach for 17 seasons, posting a 93–53–14 record. His 93 wins are the most by any head football coach in Washington State football history. Hollingbery's 1930 team played in the 1931 Rose Bowl, a game they lost to Alabama. The Cougars didn't lose a single home game from 1926–1935. Among the Cougar greats Hollingbery coached were Mel Hein, Turk Edwards and Mel Dressel. The Hollingbery Fieldhouse that serves many of Washington State's athletics teams, was named in his honor in 1963. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1979. The Cougars did not field a football team from 1943 to 1944 because of World War II. After the war ended, Phil Sarboe was hired away from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, to return to his alma mater as the head football coach. Sarboe's Cougars posted a 17–26–3 record in his five seasons.
Forest Evashevski took over the Cougars football program as the head coach in late 1949. His 1951 team finished the season ranked #14 in the Coaches' Poll and #18 in the AP Poll. He posted an 11–6–2 record in his two seasons before leaving to take the Iowa head football coach position. Evashevski was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2000. Al Kircher, an assistant on Evashevski's staff, was promoted to head coach following Evashevski's departure. Kircher didn't enjoy as much success as his predecessor, going 13–25–2 in his four seasons as head coach. He was not retained after his contract expired. Jim Sutherland was Washington State's 21st head football coach. He held the Cougars head coach position for eight seasons. His overall record with the Cougars was 37–39–4.
Bert Clark served as Washington State's head football coach for four seasons, posting a record of 15–24–1. His best season was 1965, when the Cougars went 7–3 and defeated three Big Ten teams on the road. That season was Clark's only winning season, as he failed to win more than three games in his other seasons. Clark was not retained after the end of his fourth season. Jim Sweeney served as the Cougars head football coach for eight seasons. His final record was 26–59–1. Sweeney's best season was 1972, when the Cougars finished 7–4. That was his only winning season. Sweeney was let go after the 1975 season. Jackie Sherrill was Washington State's head coach for one season. His team posted a 3–8 record. Sherrill departed after that one season to accept the head football coach position at Pittsburgh. Warren Powers served as head coach for one season before accepting the head football coach position at Missouri.
Jim Walden era (1978–1986)Edit
Jim Walden was promoted to head coach following the departure of Powers. Walden led the Cougars to one bowl appearance, the 1981 Holiday Bowl, a game they lost to BYU. That bowl appearance was Washington State's first in 51 years. Walden won Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1981 and 1983. Walden's final record at Washington State was 44–52–4. Players coached by Walden at Washington State include Jack Thompson, Kerry Porter, Rueben Mayes, Ricy Turner, Ricky Reynolds, Paul Sorensen, Brian Forde, Lee Blakeney, Mark Rypien, Dan Lynch, Pat Beach, Keith Millard, Erik Howard, and Cedrick Brown. Walden left after the 1986 season to accept the head football coach position at Iowa State.
Dennis Erickson era (1987–1988)Edit
When he was named Washington State's head football coach on January 7, 1987, Dennis Erickson said it was his lifelong dream to become the head football coach of the Cougars. His contract he signed in 1987 was a five-year deal at an annual base salary of $70,000, with up to $30,000 from radio, television, and speaking obligations.
Erickson's Cougars posted a 3–7–1 record in his first season but improved to a 9–3 record in 1988, capped with a victory in the Aloha Bowl, the Cougars' first bowl victory since 1916. Although stating publicly a week earlier that he would not leave Washington State, Erickson accepted the head football coach position at Miami in March 1989, leaving the Cougars after two seasons and a 12–10–1 overall record.
Mike Price era (1989–2002)Edit
Mike Price came to Washington State from Weber State. Price led the Cougars to unprecedented success, taking his 1997 and 2002 teams to the Rose Bowl, both times losing. The 1997 team was led by star quarterback Ryan Leaf, who would be the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Those teams finished ranked #9 and #10 in the Coaches' and AP Polls, respectively. Price also led the Cougars to victories in the Copper Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and the Sun Bowl. Price's record at Washington State is 83–78. It was during the 2002 season that Washington State received its highest ranking ever in the modern era within the AP Polls at #3. Price resigned following the 2002 season to accept the head football coach position at Alabama, but was fired before ever coaching a game for the Crimson Tide due to an off-the-field incident.
Bill Doba era (2003–2007)Edit
Bill Doba was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach following Price's departure. Things started out well for Doba's Cougars, as they went 10–3 in Doba's first year to finish ranked #9 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls. But, things went downhill. The Cougars slipped to 5–6 in 2004, and posted a 4–7 record in 2005. A 6–6 2006 season followed, and after finishing the 2007 season 5–7, Doba was fired. He finished with a 30–28 record.
Paul Wulff era (2008–2011)Edit
Paul Wulff was hired away from Eastern Washington to replace the fired Bill Doba. Wulff struggled mightily as the Cougars head football coach, failing to win more than four games in a single season. His final record at Washington State is 9–40, the lowest winning percentage (.184) of any head coach in Washington State football history. Wulff was fired after the 2011 season.
Mike Leach era (2012–present)Edit
In November 2011, it was announced that Mike Leach would replace Wulff as head coach. Leach had previously spent 10 seasons as head coach at Texas Tech Red Raiders football. In 2012, Mike Leach's first season, the new coaching staff installed an Air raid offense; an exciting, up-tempo, pass-oriented offensive attack which led the Pac-12 Conference in passing offense. In his second season, Leach led Washington State to the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the first bowl game for the Cougars in a decade. Leach received a 2-year contract extension on November 18, 2013 after leading the Washington State Cougars to their best record since 2006.
In 2015, Mike Leach guided the Washington State Cougars to their first bowl victory since the 2003 season. In that same year, the team also posted a 9–4 winning season and was ranked in the AP Poll, Coach's Poll, and College Football Playoff ranking. Mike Leach was named the Pac-12's co-Coach of the Year as well as the Associated Press Pac-12 Coach of the Year. After the season, Washington State again extended coach Mike Leach's contract, this time through the 2020 season.
In 2016, sandwiched between a two game losing streak to begin and three game losing streak to end the season, the Cougars rode an eight game winning streak to a place in the Holiday Bowl where they lost to Minnesota by a score of 17-12. They finished with a 7-2 Pac-12 record and overall record of 8-5 for 2016. Huge wins over Oregon and #15 Stanford contributed to the Cougars best finish in Pac-12 conference play since the 2003 team went 6-2.
After the dead of the team's quarterback - Tyler Hilinski (which was later ruled a suicide) in January 2018 , graduate transfer Gardner Minshew from East Carolina was recruited by Leach to fill the void. Minshew and other veteran players such as Peyton Pelluer rallied the team in honor of their former teammate Hilinski and led Washington State to a memorable season for Cougar football fans. With a 28-26 win over #24 Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl, Washington State won 11 games for the first time in school history and finished the season 11-2.
Washington State has been a member of the following conferences.:74–78
- Independent (1894–1916)
- Pacific Coast Conference (1917)
- Independent (1918)
- Pacific Coast Conference (1919–1958)
- Independent (1959–1961)
- Pac-12 Conference (1962–present)
- Athletic Association of Western Universities (1962–1967)
- Pacific-8 Conference (1968–1977)
- Pacific-10 Conference (1978–2010)
- Pac-12 Conference (2011–present)
|Season||Conference||Coach||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|1917||Pacific Coast Conference||William Henry Dietz||3–0||6–0–1|
|1930||Pacific Coast Conference||O.E. Hollingbery||6–1||9–1|
|1997†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–2|
|2002†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–3|
|2018†||Pac-12 North||Mike Leach||N/A lost tiebreaker to Washington|
Washington State has made 15 bowl appearances, and has a bowl record of 8–7.:88-94 The Cougars have played in four Rose Bowls (1 win, 3 losses), three Holiday Bowls (1 win, 2 losses), the Sun Bowl (2 wins), Alamo Bowl (2 wins), Aloha Bowl (1 win), Copper Bowl (1 win), and New Mexico Bowl (1 loss). Prior to the 1975 season, the Pac-8 allowed only bowl team, to the Rose Bowl.
From 2015 through 2018, the Cougars made four consecutive bowl appearances for the first time in program history, all under under current head coach Mike Leach. He is currently tied with Mike Price for overall bowl appearances at five; the other five head coaches with bowl appearances made one each.
|1915||William Henry Dietz||Rose||Brown||W 14–0|
|1930||Babe Hollingbery||Rose||Alabama||L 0–24|
|1980||Jim Walden||Holiday||BYU||L 36–38|
|1988||Dennis Erickson||Aloha||Houston||W 24–22|
|1992||Mike Price||Copper||Utah||W 31–28|
|1994||Mike Price||Alamo||Baylor||W 10–3|
|1997||Mike Price||Rose||Michigan||L 16–21|
|2001||Mike Price||Sun||Purdue||W 33–27|
|2002||Mike Price (5)||Rose||Oklahoma||L 14–34|
|2003||Bill Doba||Holiday||Texas||W 28–20|
|2013||Mike Leach||New Mexico||Colorado State||L 45–48|
|2015||Mike Leach||Sun||Miami||W 20-14|
|2016||Mike Leach||Holiday||Minnesota||L 12–17|
|2017||Mike Leach||Holiday||Michigan State||L 17–42|
|2018||Mike Leach (5)||Alamo||Iowa State||W 28-26|
|1896||David A. Brodie||1||2–0–1||1.000|
|1900, 1902||William L. Allen||2||6–3–1||.650|
|1903||James N. Ashmore||1||3–3–2||.500|
|1906–1907, 1912–1914||John R. Bender||5||21–12||.636|
|1915–1917||William Henry Dietz||3||17–2–1||.875|
|1943–1944||World War II – no teams|
Washington State has had a rivalry with Washington since first playing 118 years ago in 1900. The series is 73–32–6 in favor of Washington, with the Huskies winning the last six games as of 2018. The teams played for the "Governor's Trophy" from 1934 to 1961. The game was renamed the Apple Cup in 1962 because of Washington's national reputation as a major producer of apples. Since 2011, the game is commonly played on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The two land-grant universities are less than eight miles (13 km) apart on the rural Palouse in the Inland Northwest; Idaho's campus in Moscow is nearly on the Idaho–Washington border, and Washington State's campus is directly west in Pullman, linked by Washington State Route 270 and the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail. The first game was played 125 years ago in November 1894 and resulted in a win for Washington State. The series was played intermittently since the 2007 season. However, with Idaho's move down to FCS in 2018, the future of the rivalry is uncertain.
Heisman Trophy votingEdit
|1984||Reuben Mayes||Running back||32||10th|
|2005||Jerome Harrison||Running back||20||9th|
Consensus All-America selectionsEdit
There have been seven Washington State players named consensus All-America through the 2017 season. Cody O'Connell was named twice. Jason Hanson (1989) and Cody O'Connell (2016) were unanimous selections. Additionally, Washington State has had 39 First Team All-America selections through the 2017 season.:120
|Reuben Mayes||Running back||1982–1985||1984|
|Rien Long||Defensive tackle||2000–2002||2002|
|Jerome Harrison||Running back||2004–2005||2005|
|Cody O'Connell||Offensive tackle||2013–2017||2016†, 2017|
|Hercules Mata'afa||Defensive end||2015–2017||2017|
† Unanimous selection
College Football Hall of FameEdit
|Reuben Mayes||Running back||1982–1985||2008|||
Pro Football Hall of FameEdit
|Player||Position||Seasons||NFL Team(s)||Years with NFL Team(s)||Inducted|
|Mel Hein||Center||1927–1931||New York Giants||1931–1945||1963|
|Turk Edwards||Tackle||1929–1931||Washington Redskins||1932–1940||1969|
Canadian Football Hall of FameEdit
Four former Washington State football players have been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
|Player||Position||Seasons||CFL Team(s)||Years with CFL Team(s)||Inducted||Ref.|
|Byron Bailey||Running back||1949–1951||B.C. Lions||1954–1964||1975|||
|George Reed||Running back||1959–1962||Saskatchewan Roughriders||1963–1975||1979|||
|Brian Kelly||Wide receiver, coach||1975–1977||Edmonton Eskimos||1979–1987||1991|||
|Hugh Campbell||Wide receiver, coach, executive||1959–1962||Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders||1964–2006||2000|||
AFCA National Coach of the YearEdit
The AFCA Coach of the Year Award is given annually to a college football coach by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Mike Leach is the first and only coach in the Washington State football program history to have received this distinguished award.
Pac-12 Coach of the YearEdit
Five Washington State football head coaches have received the annual award a total of eight times as the conference's Coach of the Year.
† Shared honor
Current coaching staffEdit
|Name||Position||Season at |
|Mike Leach||Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator||6th|
|Tracy Claeys||Defensive Coordinator||1st|
|Steve Spurrier Jr.||Outside Receivers||1st|
|Dave Nichol||Inside Receivers||2nd|
|Mason Miller||Offensive Line||1st|
|Jeff Phelps||Defensive Line||2nd|
|Matt Brock||Outside Linebackers||1st|
|Eric Mele||Running backs||3rd|
|Dave Emerick||Chief of Staff||6th|
|Antonio Huffman||Director of Football Operations||6th|
|Tyson Brown||Strength and Conditioning||1st|
|Price Ferguson||Offensive Quality Control||3rd|
|Darcel McBath||Defensive backs||2nd|
Future non-conference opponentsEdit
Announced schedules as of June 6, 2017.
|vs Northern Colorado||at Utah State||vs Utah State||at Wisconsin||vs Wisconsin|
|at Houston||vs Houston||vs Portland State||vs Colorado State||at Colorado State|
|vs New Mexico State||vs Idaho||vs BYU|
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