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Athletes

Gene Conley (Photo Boston Globe)
Winter 2017

Gene Conley x’50

Washington State baseball and basketball standout Gene Conley x’50, the only professional athlete to win both a World Series and NBA championship, died July 4, 2017. He was 86.

Conley was a pitcher with the Milwaukee Braves when the team won the World Series in 1957 and he helped the Boston Celtics to three NBA titles from 1959 to 1961. He played against sports legends such as Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Wilt Chamberlain during an 18-year dual-sport career that also included four All-Star appearances.

At Washington State, where he anchored both the baseball and basketball teams for two seasons before going … » More …

Winter 2017

Steve Gleason ’00

Former Cougar football and NFL standout Steve Gleason ’00, whose battle with ALS has become an international symbol of perseverance and determination, has been named the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus for 2017.

“Steve Gleason epitomizes the essence of ‘Cougar Spirit,’” said Washington State University President Kirk Schulz at the August 10 ceremony. “His passion to persevere and succeed despite life’s challenges has inspired thousands, not only in the United States, but around the world.”

Gleason helped take WSU to the Rose Bowl in 1997 and in 2006 had a punt-blocking dive for the New Orleans Saints that rallied the hurricane-ravaged city’s down-but-not-out spirit. Five … » More …

The most prolific scorJeanne (Eggart) Helfer. Photo Bruce Andre
Spring 2017

How you play the game

It took a while for the guys to start passing her the ball during pickup games at the gym.

Jeanne (Eggart) Helfer ’82 stuck with it, spending much of her free time back in 1977 simply running the length of the basketball court waiting for a chance to show she knew her way around the paint. It was her first semester at Washington State, a few months before she would start setting school records, and Helfer patiently waited for the guys to discover what her older brother and his friends already had learned back in Walla Walla.

That girl can shoot. And pass. And rebound.

» More …

Fall 2016

Cougs behind the Seahawks

Nearly two weeks before the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, Cindy Kelley was arriving in New York to set up a temporary team headquarters that would become like a cross between a satellite office and a MASH unit.

Kelley ’81 and the rest of the advance crew scrambled to keep up with a schedule measured in hours, not days. Telephones, computers, office space, accommodations, meals, air and ground transportation, special events, family activities—all needing to be arranged immediately.

“The whole goal is to make sure there are no distractions for the players and coaches,” says Kelley, vice president for human resources for the » More …

Fall 2016

Staying a jump ahead

Long before he was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, served as immigration minister, and held other national cabinet positions, Tuariki “John” Delamere ’74 was a long jumper with an attention-grabbing technique.

Delamere, a fixture on Washington State’s track team in the early 1970s, didn’t invent The Flip. But he so excelled at the leaping mid-air forward somersault it sometimes seemed as if he had.

His style was so gravity-defyingly smooth that when Sports Illustrated wanted to learn more about The Flip, and the debate that would eventually lead to the technique’s prohibition, the magazine sent a crew to the 1974 national qualifiers to … » More …

Pioneer 10/11 Mission Patch
Fall 2016

Talkback for Fall 2016

 

Another close encounter with outer space

Fifty years ago, 1966, I graduated from WSU and then went to work for NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. I spent the next 40 years exploring our solar system. WSU gave me the “right stuff” to be a part of sending a “spacecraft where no spacecraft had gone before.” I was in the Pioneer Project and we sent the first spacecraft to the outer planets, Pioneer-10, to fly beyond the orbit of Mars through the asteroid belt and encounter Jupiter in 1973. After the flyby of Jupiter, Pioneer-10, on an escape trajectory from the Sun … » More …

Olympics rings
Summer 2016

WSU Olympic competitors

More than 50 Washington State University athletes have competed in the Olympic Games over the past eight decades, representing 16 nations and winning medals in nine events. Most competed in track and field but Cougars also have boxed, swam, wrestled, rowed, ridden horses and played ball.

Dawn Allinger ’91; handball. 1996. USA.

John Avognan ’83; track. 1976. Ivory Coast.

Laslo Babits ’83; javelin. 1984. Canada.

Aron Baynes ’09; basketball. 2012. Australia.

Don Bertoia ’63; 800-meter run. 1964. Canada.

Chantal Brunner ’93; long jump. 1996, 2000. New Zealand.

Ian Campbell ’90; triple jump. 1980. Australia.

Gerald Conine x’62; wrestling. 1964. USA.

Francis Dodoo ’83, ’86 MA; … » More …

Olympian and WSU Hall of Famer Lee Orr
Summer 2016

Racing into history

The Olympic moment of WSU Hall of Famer Lee Orr

As rain fell in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in 1936, Lee Orr, a Washington State College student not yet 20 years old, didn’t realize the magnitude of the events surrounding him.

“I was pretty young and didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

It had been over seven decades since Orr raced against Jesse Owens at the ’36 Olympic Games when, in 2008, the soft-spoken Orr recalled his Olympic experience in Germany.

A year after the interview, Orr passed away; however, the story he told lives in sports lore.

Owens’s four gold medals and his … » More …

WSC Olympic boxing gold medal winner Pete Rademacher '53 carries the U.S. flag in the closing ceremony of the 1956 Summer Games
Summer 2016

Pete Rademacher

Long before the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s Miracle on Ice, there was Pete Rademacher ’53.

The tenacious 6-foot-1 boxing heavyweight stunned the world during the 1956 summer games with his one-round knockout of previously undefeated Soviet champion Lev Moukhine for the gold medal.

The decisive, triple-knockdown bout in Melbourne, Australia transformed Rademacher into a Cold War hero and international inspiration. Hungarian athletes, still reeling from the Soviet invasion of Budapest just a few weeks earlier, joined the U.S. team in hoisting Rademacher onto their shoulders in celebration.

“It was very emotional,” recalls Rademacher, 87, now a retired business executive living in Ohio and the … » More …

Chance for Glory book cover
Summer 2016

Chance for Glory

The Innovation and Triumph of the 1916 Washington State Rose Bowl Team

Chance for Glory book cover

Darin Watkins ’84

Aviva: 2015

“I have decided to put my fate in your hands,” said Washington State College football coach William “Lone Star” Dietz to his players, as they prepared to take on Brown University in the 1916 Rose Bowl after an astounding 1915 season. Dietz promised to return as coach if WSC won.

The team fought hard, using Dietz’s … » More …