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Athletics

Spring 2010

Ruggers

On a frosty Saturday morning in early December, Martin Stadium rings with the thud of tackles and calls for a pass. Football season ended two weeks before, so the voices on the field aren’t quarterbacks and safeties. They are the voices of the fly-half and fourteen other players on the WSU women’s rugby team facing off against Eastern Washington University.

In dark crimson jerseys with black letters and striped crimson-and-gray socks, the WSU women quickly take command on the snow-dusted field with strong team play and swift runners. Players pass the ball—roughly the same shape but larger than a football—run or kick as they advance … » More …

Winter 2009

Doubling back

Drew Bledsoe may be best remembered by Washington State fans for what he accomplished on a snowy day in November 1992.

And while visions of Bledsoe, receiver Phillip Bobo, and a snow bank are foremost in their memories, these days, Bledsoe wants Cougar fans to know him not only for great plays but for making great wine.

“It is very important for me that people know that this is a true passion of mine,” he says. “We are very committed to producing only the best wine that we can.”

On a sweltering July day in Walla Walla, Bledsoe’s passion is on display.

This day marks … » More …

Winter 2003

Is there life after basketball?

Donaldson finds it in business and community

James Donaldson would like you to know that he’s fine not playing basketball. Sure, the former Washington State center spent 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association and on the European circuit. And yes, it brought him some nice paychecks and an opportunity to compete at the highest levels of professional basketball. But it’s never been a case of “basketball is life.”

Now don’t get the wrong picture. Donaldson still misses the competition. Still misses the practices–really–and the nightly face-off in games.

But here’s the ugly side of pro sports—it’s cutthroat. Younger players are always brought in to … » More …

Winter 2003

Matt Potter puts positive spin on Cougar soccer

Matt Potter is a disciple of the school of positive thinking. His life’s philosophy and his approach to coaching are interwoven. Teaching and soccer are his passion. “In combining the two, we can learn a lot about life,” says the Mere, England, native. “Really, it’s about becoming the best we can be individually and as a team.”

That is what he seeks for himself and for the women who comprise the Washington State University soccer team. He was promoted from assistant to head coach in June, succeeding Dan Tobias, who moved on to the University of Arizona. Two days before WSU was to make its … » More …

Fall 2003

Brayton has his day in the sun, as WSU retires his number

Dan Wodrich couldn’t attend Bobo Brayton’s banquet. He wanted to be there when Washington State University honored its winningest coach May 24 by retiring baseball jersey  no. 14. He played second base for Brayton in 1977-80, fulfilling a dream he had growing up in Kennewick. But on the day of the banquet, Wodrich, his wife, and three daughters were attending the funeral of a 13-year-old girl, a friend of the family.

Sometimes life throws you a curve.

Not one to let Brayton’s milestone pass without comment, Wodrich (’81 Mech. Engr., ’83 M.S. Mech. Engr.) sent a letter. Brayton shared parts of it with the 225 … » More …

Fall 2003

Richardson era ends with her best

“Someone like her only comes along once a career.” —Rick Sloan

Ellannee Richardson had just run the race of her life: a blistering 800-meter time of 2 minutes, 12.04 seconds, a personal record, in the final event of the heptathlon at June’s NCAA Track and Field Championships in Sacramento.

It should have been enough for Richardson, a redshirt senior at Washington State University, to win her first NCAA title.

But in the world of track and field, you can never fully control what anyone else does. And as Richardson caught her breath, just 13 seconds after she crossed the line, her dream ended.

Needing … » More …

Fall 2003

Dick Bennett's mantra: "Play hard, smart, and together"

In more than three decades of coaching, Dick Bennett has developed a simple philosophy about basketball. It’s a team game.

“Once players understand and embrace that concept, basketball becomes simple-at both ends of the floor,” he says.” Viewed strictly as an individual showcase, it becomes more difficult. There is room for individual play to shine within the team framework, but in Bennett’s scheme of things, “we” takes precedence over “me.”

Listening to Washington State University’s new basketball boss talk about the game, one learns about the sport and the man. He’s as much a student of the game as he is a teacher/coach. He … » More …