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Coach

The most prolific scorJeanne (Eggart) Helfer. Photo Bruce Andre
Spring 2017

How you play the game

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.

That girl can shoot. And pass. And rebound.

» More …

Ernie Kent
Spring 2015

A winning style

While most reporters covering Ernie Kent focus on his affinity for fast-paced basketball and his ability to recruit, inevitably the subject of his sartorial splendor arises. He’s the “man of a million clothes,” according to The Seattle Times and in the Oregonian’s view, a “clothes horse,” with “tight ties,” and “sharp collars.”

Whether he’s coordinating plays or coordinating outfits, Ernie Kent is a man with a brand.

“In this day and age, your brand is huge,” says Kent. “If you don’t understand that at a young age, it’s going to be a shock to your system as you go from the bright lights of college … » 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 …

Mike Leach coaching WSU football players in 2012
Fall 2012

A talk with Mike Leach about life, animals…and Cougar football

I understand how the interview with Washington State University’s new head football coach Mike Leach drifts from Cougar football to life in Pullman and pirates in Key West (I asked that one), but bulls in ancient Rome? The Tokyo fish market?

It starts out on track, as I meet with Leach at his office in Bohler Gym looking onto the practice field and the south side of Martin Stadium. As workers on scaffolds rush to complete the new addition to the stadium before fall, Leach points out proudly how the project is on time and under budget.

He grabs several posters of the proposed football … » 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 …

Winter 2011

LaToya Harris ’03—Standing out

When coach LaToya Harris stands with her team on the volleyball court at Lewis-Clark State College, here’s the remarkable thing: She doesn’t stand out.

Sure, she is the only one wearing black crop pants instead of blue shorts and a white tee, but, suddenly it hits you—this is the woman who tallied 1,459 kills during her WSU career and still holds the record for service aces.

Her Cougar teammates voted her the team’s most valuable player in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and she remains the only WSU player to ever earn that award three times. In 1999, as a freshman, she was an honorable … » 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 …