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Athletics

Mike Utley's Memories of WSU: A Perfect Choice

Jim Walden first saw Mike Utley not on a football field but on a basketball court.

Walden, the WSU Head Football Coach, was putting together his 1985 recruiting class, and his assistant coach Gary Gagnon asked him to take a look at a recruit who was playing for the Kennedy High School basketball team in Seattle.

“He was doing everything 100 miles an hour, full-bore, running up and down the court,” Walden recalls. “I distinctly remember thinking he is not going to lead the league in scoring, but he will lead the league in banging, knocking, and grabbing guys. I really like the way he … » More …

Winter 2010

Living for a cure

At his home on the banks of the Columbia River just north of Wenatchee is one of Mike Utley’s achievements.

A Ford F-350 pickup.

Black with blue flames jutting from front to back, the truck gives off as imposing a presence as the 6-foot-6 Utley must have given opponents during his playing days as an offensive lineman with Washington State University and the Detroit Lions.

“Success comes not in time but in goals achieved,” he says. “I earned this truck.”

On November 17, 1991, Mike Utley was carried off a football field on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to a hospital.

In the ensuing … » More …

Fall 2010

Tools for training

Early one afternoon in June, former head football coach Jim Walden drops by the newly-renovated WSU Athletics weight room to check in on the project.

Just a few students are working out. However, Walden observes, the relative tranquility belies how active the room usually is in the fall when scores of athletes from a variety of sports are in for training.

When he ran the football program between 1978 and 1986, getting his team quality time in the weight room was a regular challenge. “Having coached my entire career, and college especially, time is of the importance to athletes,” said Walden. “They spend so … » More …

Summer 2010

Annie Thiessen ’99—The pacemaker

“I wasn’t always fast,” says Annie Thiessen, a Tacoma veterinarian who in the past 10 years has won well over 30 marathons. “I just don’t know what happened.” But she does know when it happened. It was 2005 and she was competing in a low-key marathon at Birch Bay State Park. The $5 entry fee didn’t cover aid stations or mile markers, so while she was running, she really had no idea of her pace. She only knew there was someone in front of her. “I kept thinking, I can catch that guy.”

She breezed through the finish line at three hours and 14 minutes. … » More …

Summer 2010

Back from the ranch

Sometime before May 1, Bill Moos ‘73 will become athletic director at WSU. So much needs to be done, but with Moos, it all seems possible.

This is because he’s done it before. Moos helped turn Oregon into a Pac-10 and national power before leaving in 2007. He oversaw $160 million in facilities improvements that included the renovation of Autzen Stadium. The Ducks won 13 Pac-10 titles in various sports in his 12 years as AD. You could argue that it was the best era in Oregon history.

“I’m proud of my legacy there,” Moos says. “I had great imagination and I’m competitive as hell. … » More …

Spring 2010

Cougar Links—Palouse Ridge homecoming

A little more than a year after the grand opening of the Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, the 315-acre course has garnered national attention as one of the best new courses in the country. It has also gained a cadre of Cougar alums who have come home to help run the business.

Most recently Tyler Jones ’92 joined as general manager last September. His last job was as general manager at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, and before that he worked at the Poppy Ridge course in Livermore and the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. “It was kind of a perfect … » More …

Spring 2010

Cougar pride

Though they attended Washington State nearly a half century apart, Gary Schneidmiller and Herbert Meeker share an unbreakable bond to a storied tradition.

For the past three decades, Washington State’s mascot, Butch, has been an anonymous student in a costume; however, for students who attended the school between 1927 and 1978, memories of Butch are much different.

“My first memories of our live cougar were when I visited Pullman with my parents. A trip by Butch’s Den was a mandatory stop from the perspective of a little kid,” said Schneidmiller, ‘71 alumnus.

“As a student I remember Butch in his den, the Butchmen who helped … » More …