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Summer 2004

WSU Hall of Fame adds 5 who excelled

Carol Gordon

On February 21, the day of her induction into Washington State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Carol Gordon offered a silent prayer. That evening she shared her petition with 180 guests at the induction banquet in the Compton Union Building.

“Please let me speak before George [Raveling],” the longtime WSU professor, coach, and administrator said. Her comment drew a rousing ovation from the audience, including Raveling himself. The charismatic Cougar basketball coach from 1972-83 would speak later. Olympic gold medallist Julius Korir; Linda Williams Sheridan, Spokane prep coaching legend; and football All-America Mike Utley were the other honorees.

Gordon championed women’s athletics at … » More …

Spring 2004

Seeing the floor, making the plays: Basketball's Marcus Moore

Very little ever got in Marcus Moore’s way.

Faced with an obstacle, Washington State University’s senior point guard could usually flash that Crest-friendly smile or whip around it with an ankle-buckling crossover dribble.

But last summer nothing, not the movie star smile, not the Mach 3 quickness, could get Moore where he wanted to be-into the first round of the National Basketball Association draft.

So after taking trips to predraft camps in Chicago and Portsmouth, Virginia, and not being assured a spot in the first round–guaranteeing a contract–Moore thought it over. He talked to his family in Inglewood, California, and decided to return for his … » More …

Spring 2004

Long-Hitting Kim Welch Puts WSU on the Golf Map

Kim Welch has a surprising knack for hitting a golf ball long and straight. The rest of her game isn’t bad either. She finished fifth in the 2003 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship, two strokes back of the winner in a field of 140 golfers. And she was only a sophomore in her first national tournament.

Welch’s ability to distance the ball from the tee seems to defy the law of physics. She carries 135 pounds on a lean five-foot-six frame. Not the imposing physical stature of a power hitter. Still she can drive a ball 300 yards on occasion. Her average is 290 yards, according … » More …

Winter 2005

Going with the Floe

Chris Floe has worked hard to prove himself in a world of student athletes who rank their particular sports above the others, especially above cheerleading.

Chris Floe’s arms are covered with tattoos. The bearded senior criminal justice major towers six feet, three inches, and has biceps like cantaloupes. A pigskin jock in high school, he works nights as a bouncer at The Coug.

He’s also a member of the Washington State University Cheer Team.

When asked what drew him into cheerleading, his response is simple: “Girls.”

“I got into it because of one specific girl,” he says. “But really, I didn’t have anything else to … » More …

Fall 2005

Cougars abroad

With more and more Europeans on the roster of NBA teams, Americans like Jan-Michael Thomas ’01 have to look outside the United States if they want to continue their hoop careers.

As a Cougar basketball player, Jan-Michael Thomas (’01 Bus. Mgt.) was one of the top long-range shooters in the country. Now he’s a lot farther than a three-point shot from his American roots.

Thomas spent this past basketball season playing for a pro team in Szolnok, Hungary, about an hour southeast of the capital, Budapest.

“It is a great country, in terms of basketball, for someone who wants to get the opportunity to play,” … » More …

Fall 2005

I never said thank you.

May 2005

Inside the First Samoan Congregational Church in Oceanside, California, the Rev. Junior Tupuola is addressing his congregation, when he notices a figure in white moving across the back of the sanctuary. To Tupuola, it resembles an angel.

As the figure reaches the end of the aisle, Tupuola can see that it’s clad in jeans, the blue color of which stands out against the brightly colored clothing of the islanders sitting in the pews.

The figure stops and turns toward Tupuola. The white resolves into a Washington State University jersey. Crimson numerals take shape.

No. 19. Rod Retherford’s jersey number.

From the pulpit, Tupuola … » More …

Summer 2005

Jim McKean makes poetry of a powerful time

In his new book, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports, Jim McKean weaves together a series of essays about growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Poetry in motion he wasn’t. At least not on the basketball court, even though 6’9″ Jim McKean, his fadeaway jump shot, and his rebounding (he still holds the single-game Far West Classic rebounding record of 27, set against Princeton in 1967) were anchors of the rebirth of Washington State University men’s hoops in the mid-’60s.

“He didn’t have real good feet and was not a great athlete,” Marv Harshman, WSU’s head coach at … » More …

Spring 2005

Channel Swimmer

Pushing back the age barrier

The young swimmers at the YMCA pool in Wilton, Connecticut, call him “Grandpa.”

They even ask their seasoned coach, “Are you the oldest person in the world?”

No. But lean and fit George Brunstad is the oldest person ever to swim the English Channel.

On August 28, 2004, three days after his 70th birthday, Brunstad swam from Dover, England to Sangatte, France, a feat no one older than 67 had ever tried. But just swimming the channel wasn’t enough for the retired pilot from Ridegefield, Connecticut. He also raised more than $11,000 for a project to benefit children … » More …