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Football

Winter 2008

Unstoppable Rueben Mayes

On a raw, wet fall afternoon in Eugene, Oregon, in late October 1984, Rueben Mayes’ feet carried him to what was at the time the greatest accomplishment of any NCAA running back.

Just a week earlier, Mayes ran for 216 yards at Stanford in a rally that brought Washington State University from a 28-point third quarter deficit to a 49-42 win.

“The game against Stanford was one of his greatest efforts as a college player,” says Mark Rypien, quarterback of the ’84 team. But then he did one better. “The numbers that he had against Oregon were unbelievable.”

It’s a performance that can be relived … » More …

Summer 2008

Signing Day Central

During the early morning hours of Wednesday, February 6, Rich Rasmussen enters the Washington State University football office carrying two boxes, each containing a dozen donuts, and places them on the front counter.

Rasmussen opens the door to his office, where, taped on its outer side, is a piece of paper:

Core Values for WSU Football 2008:
Compete – Compete to win
Execution – Attention to detail
Effort – Relentless on every rep
Encouragement – Positive response to all situations

Rasmussen turns on his computer, checks his e-mail, and waits for the future of WSU football to commence.

Today … » More …

Fall 2008

ROD: A True Story

Rod Retherford ’84 triumphed as an undersized athlete, but his plucky comeback tale has always been told in spaces that were too small to fully contain it. There were plenty of headlines in 1980 after a bullet ripped through the football player’s shoulder and lodged permanently in his neck, nearly killing him. Media interest soared after Retherford mounted a miraculous comeback and terrorized opposing offenses. When he left Martin Stadium behind, the story surfaced now and then, including a segment in the Legends of the Palouse film series by Jeff McQuarrie ’98. That in turn spurred a Washington State Magazine story» More …

Fall 2008

Stadium on the rise

In 1978, Sam Jankovich knew something had to be done about the football stadium.

With just 27,600 seats, Martin Stadium was much smaller than its counterparts in the Pacific-10 Conference. Because of a Pac-10 rule requiring guarantees of $25,000 to visiting teams, the Cougars had to truck up to Spokane to play certain opponents, namely USC, UCLA, and Washington, at the larger Joe Albi Stadium.

“If you could not bring in USC, UCLA, and Washington to Pullman, you could not bring the biggest attractions to where you get the biggest crowds,” said WSU’s former athletic director this spring when he stopped by Bohler Athletic Complex … » More …

Summer 2007

Keep A-Goin'

It’s hard to imagine Washington State drawing three straight coaches from the premier football school in the country, being the toast of football fans in the West, and winning the Rose Bowl. One of those three men coached the only victory Washington State ever took in the New Year’s Day classic. He counted the legendary Jim Thorpe, Pop Warner, and Knute Rockne among his friends. This man also coached the NFL team that became the Washington Redskins. In fact, the controversial nickname is said to honor him. He was also an artist and an entrepreneur. Keep A-Goin’, by Dr. Tom Benjey, sometime software developer, college … » More …

Fall 2002

"D" is for Doba

“I missed those butterflies.” – Coach Bill Doba

Bill Doba doesn’t think the football turf is greener elsewhere. He likes his coaching job at Washington State University and living in Pullman, where “the only traffic congestion is on football weekends.”

When his cell phone rang, Doba was fighting the late afternoon I-5 freeway traffic. He explained to Washington State Magazine that he was en route to Seattle after a recruiting visit to Everett.

“Good recruits make good coaches,” he said.

Doba was the last addition to the Cougar staff when Mike Price was hired as head football coach in 1989. Now, 14 years later, he’s … » More …

Spring 2002

The Cougars win their place in the sun

Forget the adage, “Nice guys finish last.” Coach Mike Price and his Washington State football team are proof to the contrary. The Cougars overcame a 20-17 halftime deficit to defeat Purdue 33-27 December 31 in the Sun Bowl at El Paso. The crowd of 47,812 included more than 5,000 diehard Cougar fans.

WSU surprised nearly everyone, except possibly the Cougar players themselves and their coaches, after the media picked WSU to finish in the Pac-10 cellar. The Sun Bowl win improved the Cougars’ record to 10-2. Only the 1929 and 1997 teams have fared as well since football became a fall pastime in Pullman in … » More …