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Athletics

Cougar Crew Days
Fall 2013

Cougar Crew Days

In March, alumni and team members of men’s crew, the oldest sport club at WSU, gathered for Cougar Crew Days, as they do each year. But this year’s celebration had special significance: 40 years of rowing competitions.

Rich Stager ’74 and Ken Abbey, vice president of business affairs, formed the crew team in 1969, built the Cougar Shell House on the Snake River, and appointed landscape architecture professor Ken Struckmeyer as the first coach. The team entered competition in 1973.

The Cougar Crew Days included a banquet, auction, and the annual race between team members and alumni. According to Doug Engle ’80, they raised … » More …

Fall 2013

Composing Cougar soccer

A music business graduate from Birmingham-Southern College, Keidane (Kih-Dawn-EE) McAlpine had designs on moving to Atlanta to work in the music industry.

He soon realized his disposition and the music business were discordant. “I’m not mean enough for that,” he says with a laugh.

Fortunately, McAlpine’s time at college had created other, more harmonious, opportunities.

“The doors that kept opening were the soccer doors,” says McAlpine, who is now the Washington State women’s soccer coach.

After his college playing days, BSC women’s coach, Lorrin Etka-Shepherd, offered him a position.

“She said I got a parttime job if I want it,” he remembers. “Next thing … » More …

Stronger may not be better
Fall 2013

Stronger may not be better

A pack of seventh grade soccer players huddles around a makeshift batting cage inside WSU’s Sports Science Laboratory one Friday last March. One by one, they step inside the black netting to stand under bright lights and high-speed cameras.

 

“3 … 2 … 1,” a voice calls out.

An air-pressurized cannon shoots a soccer ball 30 feet across the cage and the 13-year-old tries to head the ball back in the direction from which it came.

The purpose of such madness? Kasee Hildenbrand, associate professor in the College of Education, is exploring the roll the neck plays in the incidence of concussions.

Her … » More …

Marcus Capers, 2012
Fall 2012

Marcus Capers ’12—What it means to be a Coug

Marcus Capers wanted to make his place in the game of basketball. Now, after a four-year career at Washington State University, his workman-like attitude has forever etched his name into the Cougar record book.

In sports circles, Capers is referred to as the iron man, a distinction reserved for those rare players who have played more, or stayed with the game longer, than anyone else. Officially, the Cougar guard appeared in 135 games over his four years, an accomplishment that tops the previous record set by George Hamilton more than 60 years ago. It’s a WSU record enriched by two years of post-season tournaments and … » More …

John E. Olerud speaks at WSU
Summer 2012

John E. Olerud ’65—Science is a lot like baseball

Whether he’s studying how wounds heal or he’s tagging a runner out at home plate, John E. Olerud ’65 knows two techniques to succeed: work hard and stick with it.

Olerud credits those lessons to the man who recruited him to Washington State University’s baseball team, Chuck “Bobo” Brayton. “He was one of those guys who taught you a lot of lessons about life, not just baseball,” he says.

The lessons learned have led to achievements on the diamond—as catcher and captain of the 1965 Cougar baseball team that played in the College World Series, and as a professional player for seven years—and in academia, … » More …

Mikal Thomsen
Summer 2012

Scoring position: A man buys his hometown team

In the 1970s, when Mikal Thomsen ’79 was a budding business student at WSU, he earned his tuition by compiling the stats for the football, basketball, and baseball teams. The job not only let him parlay an interest in numbers and sports into an entertaining occupation, it gave him free admission to all the games. With primo seats. During the football season, he had a bird’s-eye view from the press box. During baseball, he travelled with the team as the official scorer.

Thomsen liked being in the thick of things, following the minutiae of the games, getting a sense of the players. Today, as a … » More …

A pair of Tom Jager's Olympic medals
Spring 2012

Let him swim: The Tom Jager story

On a Friday evening in August 1989, Tom Jager is about to race in a 50-meter freestyle event at the U.S. National Championships in Los Angeles.

The race marks the return of Olympic gold medalist Matt Biondi, who dueled with Jager in the same event at the 1988 Olympic Games less than a year earlier.

The capacity crowd of 2,500 is settling in for what promises to be a memorable race when Jager is called for a false start and disqualified, though TV replays indicate otherwise.

Jager’s reaction is immortalized in a New York Times photo taped to his Gibb Pool office window. His arms … » More …