Washington State Cougars football
|Washington State Cougars football|
|Athletic director||Patrick Chun|
8th season, 38–38 (.500)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Pac-12 (since 1962)|
|Division||North (since 2011)|
|All-time record||503–527–45 (.489)|
|Bowl record||7–7 (.500)|
|Conference titles||4 (1917, 1930, 1997, 2002)|
Washington Huskies (rivalry)|
Idaho Vandals (rivalry)
Crimson and Gray|
|Fight song||Washington State University Fight Song|
|Mascot||Butch T. Cougar|
|Marching band||Cougar Marching Band|
The Washington State Cougars football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Washington State University, located in the U.S. state of Washington. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the FBS and is a member of the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12). Known as the Cougars, the first football team was fielded in 1894.
The Cougars play home games on campus at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, which opened in 1972; the site dates back to 1892 when it was called Soldier Field. Its present seating capacity is 33,522. Their main rivals are the Washington Huskies. The Cougars and Huskies historically end each regular season with the Apple Cup rivalry game in late November. They are currently coached by Mike Leach.
Early history (1894–1977)
Washington State's first head football coach was William Goodyear. That team played only two games in its inaugural season in 1894, posting a 1–1 record. The team's first win was over Idaho. The first paid head football coach was William L. Allen, who served as head coach in 1900 and 1902, posting an overall record of 6–3–1. John R. Bender served as head football coach from 1906–1907 and 1912–1914, compiling a record of 21–12. William Henry Dietz was the Cougars' head football coach from 1915–1917, posting a stellar 17–2–1 record. Dietz's 1915 team defeated Brown in the Rose Bowl, and finished with a 7–0 record. Dietz was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2012. Albert Exendine served as Washington State's head football coach from 1923–1925, posting a 6–13–4 overall record.
Babe Hollingbery was the Cougars' head football coach for 17 seasons, posting a 93–53–14 record. His 93 wins are the most by any head football coach in Washington State football history. Hollingbery's 1930 team played in the 1931 Rose Bowl, a game they lost to Alabama. The Cougars didn't lose a single home game from 1926–1935. Among the Cougar greats Hollingbery coached were Mel Hein, Turk Edwards and Mel Dressel. The Hollingbery Fieldhouse that serves many of Washington State's athletics teams, was named in his honor in 1963. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1979. The Cougars did not field a football team from 1943 to 1944 because of World War II. After the war ended, Phil Sarboe was hired away from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, to return to his alma mater as the head football coach. Sarboe's Cougars posted a 17–26–3 record in his five seasons.
Forest Evashevski took over the Cougars football program as the head coach in late 1949. His 1951 team finished the season ranked #14 in the Coaches' Poll and #18 in the AP Poll. He posted an 11–6–2 record in his two seasons before leaving to take the Iowa head football coach position. Evashevski was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2000. Al Kircher, an assistant on Evashevski's staff, was promoted to head coach following Evashevski's departure. Kircher didn't enjoy as much success as his predecessor, going 13–25–2 in his four seasons as head coach. He was not retained after his contract expired. Jim Sutherland was Washington State's 21st head football coach. He held the Cougars head coach position for eight seasons. His overall record with the Cougars was 37–39–4.
Bert Clark served as Washington State's head football coach for four seasons, posting a record of 15–24–1. His best season was 1965, when the Cougars went 7–3 and defeated three Big Ten teams on the road. That season was Clark's only winning season, as he failed to win more than three games in his other seasons. Clark was not retained after the end of his fourth season. Jim Sweeney served as the Cougars head football coach for eight seasons. His final record was 26–59–1. Sweeney's best season was 1972, when the Cougars finished 7–4. That was his only winning season. Sweeney was let go after the 1975 season. Jackie Sherrill was Washington State's head coach for one season. His team posted a 3–8 record. Sherrill departed after that one season to accept the head football coach position at Pittsburgh. Warren Powers served as head coach for one season before accepting the head football coach position at Missouri.
Jim Walden era (1978–1986)
Jim Walden was promoted to head coach following the departure of Powers. Walden led the Cougars to one bowl appearance, the 1981 Holiday Bowl, a game they lost to BYU. That bowl appearance was Washington State's first in 51 years. Walden won Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1981 and 1983. Walden's final record at Washington State was 44–52–4. Players coached by Walden at Washington State include Jack Thompson, Kerry Porter, Rueben Mayes, Ricy Turner, Ricky Reynolds, Paul Sorensen, Brian Forde, Lee Blakeney, Mark Rypien, Dan Lynch, Pat Beach, Keith Millard, Erik Howard, and Cedrick Brown. Walden left after the 1986 season to accept the head football coach position at Iowa State.
Dennis Erickson era (1987–1988)
When he was named Washington State's head football coach on January 7, 1987, Dennis Erickson said it was his lifelong dream to become the head football coach of the Cougars. His contract he signed in 1987 was a five-year deal at an annual base salary of $70,000, with up to $30,000 from radio, television, and speaking obligations.
Erickson's Cougars posted a 3–7–1 record in his first season but improved to a 9–3 record in 1988, capped with a victory in the Aloha Bowl, the Cougars' first bowl victory since 1916. Although stating publicly a week earlier that he would not leave Washington State, Erickson accepted the head football coach position at Miami in March 1989, leaving the Cougars after two seasons and a 12–10–1 overall record.
Mike Price era (1989–2002)
Mike Price came to Washington State from Weber State. Price led the Cougars to unprecedented success, taking his 1997 and 2002 teams to the Rose Bowl, both times losing. The 1997 team was led by star quarterback Ryan Leaf, who would be the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Those teams finished ranked #9 and #10 in the Coaches' and AP Polls, respectively. Price also led the Cougars to victories in the Copper Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and the Sun Bowl. Price's record at Washington State is 83–78. It was during the 2002 season that Washington State received its highest ranking ever in the modern era within the AP Polls at #3. Price resigned following the 2002 season to accept the head football coach position at Alabama, but was fired before ever coaching a game for the Crimson Tide due to an off-the-field incident.
Bill Doba era (2003–2007)
Bill Doba was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach following Price's departure. Things started out well for Doba's Cougars, as they went 10–3 in Doba's first year to finish ranked #9 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls. But, things went downhill. The Cougars slipped to 5–6 in 2004, and posted a 4–7 record in 2005. A 6–6 2006 season followed, and after finishing the 2007 season 5–7, Doba was fired. He finished with a 30–28 record.
Paul Wulff era (2008–2011)
Paul Wulff was hired away from Eastern Washington to replace the fired Bill Doba. Wulff struggled mightily as the Cougars head football coach, failing to win more than four games in a single season. His final record at Washington State is 9–40, the lowest winning percentage (.184) of any head coach in Washington State football history. Wulff was fired after the 2011 season.
Mike Leach era (2012–present)
In November 2011, it was announced that Mike Leach would replace Wulff as head coach. Leach had previously spent 10 seasons as head coach at Texas Tech Red Raiders football. In 2012, Mike Leach's first season, the new coaching staff installed an Air raid offense; an exciting, up-tempo, pass-oriented offensive attack which led the Pac-12 Conference in passing offense. In his second season, Leach led Washington State to the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the first bowl game for the Cougars in a decade. Leach received a 2-year contract extension on November 18, 2013 after leading the Washington State Cougars to their best record since 2006.
In 2015, Mike Leach guided the Washington State Cougars to their first bowl victory since the 2003 season. In that same year, the team also posted a 9–4 winning season and was ranked in the AP Poll, Coach's Poll, and College Football Playoff ranking. Mike Leach was named the Pac-12's co-Coach of the Year as well as the Associated Press Pac-12 Coach of the Year. After the season, Washington State again extended coach Mike Leach's contract, this time through the 2020 season.
In 2016, sandwiched between a two game losing streak to begin and three game losing streak to end the season, the Cougars rode an eight game winning streak to a place in the Holiday Bowl where they lost to Minnesota by a score of 17-12. They finished with a 7-2 Pac-12 record and overall record of 8-5 for 2016. Huge wins over Oregon and #15 Stanford contributed to the Cougars best finish in Pac-12 conference play since the 2003 team went 6-2.
|1896||David A. Brodie||1||2–0–1||1.000|
|1900, 1902||William L. Allen||2||6–3–1||.650|
|1903||James N. Ashmore||1||3–3–2||.500|
|1906–1907, 1912–1914||John R. Bender||5||21–12||.636|
|1915–1917||William Henry Dietz||3||17–2–1||.875|
|1943–1944||World War II – no teams|
|Totals||33 coaches||117 seasons||511–528–45||.492|
Washington State has made 14 bowl appearances, and has a bowl record of 7–7. The Cougars have played in the Rose Bowl four times (1 win, 3 losses), the Holiday Bowl three times (1 win, 2 losses), the Sun Bowl twice (2 wins), one Aloha Bowl (1 win), one Copper Bowl (1 win), one Alamo Bowl (1 win), and one New Mexico Bowl (1 loss).
|1915||William Henry Dietz||Rose Bowl||Brown||W 14–0|
|1930||Babe Hollingbery||Rose Bowl||Alabama||L 24–0|
|1980||Jim Walden||Holiday Bowl||BYU||L 38–36|
|1988||Dennis Erickson||Aloha Bowl||Houston||W 24–22|
|1992||Mike Price||Copper Bowl||Utah||W 31–28|
|1994||Mike Price||Alamo Bowl||Baylor||W 10–3|
|1997||Mike Price||Rose Bowl||Michigan||L 21–16|
|2001||Mike Price||Sun Bowl||Purdue||W 33–27|
|2002||Mike Price||Rose Bowl||Oklahoma||L 34–14|
|2003||Bill Doba||Holiday Bowl||Texas||W 28–20|
|2013||Mike Leach||New Mexico Bowl||Colorado State||L 48–45|
|2015||Mike Leach||Sun Bowl||Miami||W 20-14|
|2016||Mike Leach||Holiday Bowl||Minnesota||L 17–12|
|2017||Mike Leach||Holiday Bowl||Michigan State||L 17–42|
|Season||Conference||Coach||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|1917||Pacific Coast Conference||William Henry Dietz||3–0||6–0–1|
|1930||Pacific Coast Conference||O.E. Hollingbery||6–1||9–1|
|1997†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–2|
|2002†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–3|
Heisman Trophy voting
First Team All-America
Since 1894, the Washington State Cougars football program has had 33 players honored a total of 36 times as First Team All-America. Included in these selections are six consensus selections.
|Year||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State|
Note: † Denotes unanimous selection in addition to consensus selection.
College Football Hall of Fame
Four players and two coaches from the Washington State Cougars football program have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
|Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State||Ref.|
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Two former Washington State football players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|Year Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State||NFL Team(s)||Years with NFL Team(s)|
|1963||Mel Hein||C||1927–1931||New York Giants||1931–1945|
|1969||Turk Edwards||T||1929–1931||Washington Redskins||1932–1940|
Canadian Football Hall of Fame
Four former Washington State football players have been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
|Year Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State||CFL Team(s)||Years with CFL Team(s)||Ref.|
|1975||Byron Bailey||RB||1949–1951||B.C. Lions||1954–1964|
|1979||George Reed||RB||1959–1962||Saskatchewan Roughriders||1963–1975|
|1991||Brian Kelly||WR, Coach||1975–1977||Edmonton Eskimos||1979–1987|
|2000||Hugh Campbell||WR, Coach, Executive||1959–1962||Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders||1964–2006|
The Cougars have retired two numbers.
Pac-12 Coach of the Year
Note: † Denotes a shared honor.
Current coaching staff
|Name||Position||Season at |
|Mike Leach||Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator||6th|
|Tracy Claeys||Defensive Coordinator||1st|
|Steve Spurrier Jr.||Outside Receivers||1st|
|Dave Nichol||Inside Receivers||2nd|
|Mason Miller||Offensive Line||1st|
|Jeff Phelps||Defensive Line||2nd|
|Matt Brock||Outside Linebackers||1st|
|Eric Mele||Running backs||3rd|
|Dave Emerick||Chief of Staff||6th|
|Antonio Huffman||Director of Football Operations||6th|
|Tyson Brown||Strength and Conditioning||1st|
|Price Ferguson||Offensive Quality Control||3rd|
|Darcel McBath||Defensive backs||2nd|
Future non-conference opponents
|vs Montana State||at Wyoming||vs Northern Colorado||at Utah State||vs Utah State||at Wisconsin||vs Wisconsin|
|vs Boise State||vs San Jose State||at Houston||vs Houston||vs Portland State||vs Colorado State||at Colorado State|
|vs Nevada||vs Eastern Washington||vs New Mexico State||vs Idaho||vs BYU|
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