Out here, among the rolling hills of the Palouse, generations of rowers have pulled hard.
They’ve learned life lessons on the Snake River, where conditions can change instantaneously and team work is essential. They’ve forged lifelong friendships. They’ve made memories.
Here, a few former WSU oarsmen share theirs.
The Idea Man
Rich Stager (‘74, Civ. Eng.) started his freshman year at WSU Pullman in fall 1970. His parents had recently moved to Pullman; his father had taken a job as a project manager for the construction of Lower Granite Dam.
They came from behind—counting their strokes, catching the Belgian boat, and gliding to gold on California’s Lake Casitas.
Theirs was the first Olympic gold medal in men’s double sculls for the U.S. since 1932. To date, it remains the last medal of any kind for America in that event.
While they took first place, neither had been selected by U.S. Olympic coaches.
Rowing partners Paul Enquist (’77 Mech. Eng.) and Brad Lewis earned their spot at the 1984 Summer Olympics by challenging—and besting—the national team.
“We didn’t take no for an answer,” says Enquist, who—along with Lewis—was cut from the Olympic selection camp.
About three … » More …
A little history but a lot determination of WSU’s Varsity club rowing: Cougar Crew
Read about half a century of the scrappy rowers in “Quite a crew.”