Washington State University track and field coach John Chaplin ’63 led the most successful sports program in Cougar history.
The Cougars went undefeated in dual meets nine seasons en route to a 202-17 record during his 21-year tenure. WSU won four Pac-10 outdoor championships, was NCAA runner-up four times outdoors, and claimed the 1977 NCAA indoor championship. Chaplin’s athletes earned 105 All-America certificates and 61 conference titles. Below are just a few of the many athletes he mentored and coached over his years with the program.
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.
More than 50 of Washington State University’s top athletes have made it to the Olympics since 1920. Here’s a look at the eight who took home medals:
Paul Enquist ’77, rowing; Los Angeles 1984, gold; USA. Part of the two-man double sculls team that edged out Belgium to become the first U.S. team in two decades to win gold in an Olympic rowing event.
Mike Kinkade ’96, baseball; Sydney 2000, gold; USA. Played third base for Team USA which beat perennial powerhouse Cuba in a three-hit shutout for the gold medal.
Peter Koech ’86, 3,000-meter steeplechase; Seoul 1988, silver; Kenya. Kenya nearly swept this event, taking gold and … » More …
In November under the lights of their newly renovated field, the WSU women’s soccer team competed in their fourth straight NCAA tournament, a first for the Cougars. They played tough against Seattle University in the polar chill, losing by one goal in double overtime.
The debuts of both the rebuilt Lower Soccer Field and head coach Steve Nugent came back in August with a 3-0 win versus Texas Christian University. Nugent and the team went 10–4–4 for the season, led by a group of seniors that boasts 48 victories, the most in school history during a four-year span.
Among them was goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who … » More …
Ask Jason Gesser ’02 about the finest decision he’s made and his answer is as pinpoint as each of the 70 career touchdown passes he threw at Washington State.
“Coming to Washington State was the perfect and best decision I made in my life,” he says. “Besides marrying my wife,” Gesser is quick to add, with a laugh. He married his college girlfriend Kali Surplus ’02, a former WSU volleyball player, and the couple has three children.
In his new role as the assistant director of development with the Cougar Athletic Fund, the fundraising arm of the Washington State University Athletic Department, his … » More …
Some students finish school and never take the time to look back. The same goes, perhaps even more so, for student athletes, who often return to their home states or get caught up in either pursuing pro careers or lives outside of sports.
This year, though, one football player made a special effort to reconnect athletes whose names were once synonymous with WSU.
Wanting to give back to the school that gave him a college career, Derek Sparks ’95 approached the WSU Athletic Department and asked if he could be of use in some way. Someone tossed out the idea of his reaching out … » More …