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|Washington State Cougars|
|University||Washington State University|
|Athletic director||Bill Moos|
|Football stadium||Martin Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Beasley Coliseum|
|Baseball stadium||Bailey-Brayton Field|
|Mascot||Butch T. Cougar|
|Colors||Crimson and Gray
The Washington State Cougars are the athletic teams at Washington State University; the term applies to any of the school's varsity teams. Washington State University is a member of the Pac-12 Conference, which participates in the NCAA Division I, and is located in Pullman, Washington. The athletic program comprises Ten women's sports: basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball; and six men's sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, track and field. The school also offers various intramural sports.
WSU formerly had varsity programs in boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, and rifle. In 1937, boxers Roy Petragallo and Ed McKinnon won individual titles and the Cougar team, under coach Ike Deeter (1902-2003), won the NCAA boxing championship, WSU's first national championship. (The Inland Northwest was a hotbed of the sport as Idaho and Gonzaga also had top programs and won national titles.) Collegiate boxing fell from favor in the 1950s and the Cougar program was dropped 57 years ago in May 1960; the NCAA stopped its sponsorship less than a year later. The WSU wrestling program was discontinued 31 years ago, after the 1986 season, and women's gymnastics the following year. Men's gymnastics was cut earlier, after the 1980 season, rifle in 1987, and men's tennis in 1994. Other former programs include men's swimming and skiing.
During the 2001-2003 seasons, the Cougar football teams were distinguished by three ten-win seasons, three top ten poll rankings, and appearances in the Sun Bowl, Rose Bowl and Holiday Bowl. The Cougars shared the Pac-10 title in 2002. Paul Wulff, WSU's 31st head football coach, was fired on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 after completing his fourth season with a 9-40 overall record. Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has been hired to take over the Cougar's football program after Wulff's departure.
The 1916–17 Washington State Cougars men's basketball team finished the season with a 25–1 record and was retroactively named the national champion by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. In the late-1970s when George Raveling was head coach, the Cougars were among the Pac-10 Conference's top teams. Before becoming WSU head coach in 2005, Tony Bennett spent three seasons at WSU as an assistant to his father, Dick Bennett. In both the 2006–2007 and 2007–2008 seasons, his Cougar teams had 26 wins each, tying the Washington State school record set by the 1940–41 team. Ken Bone was tapped as the Cougars' head coach on April 6, 2009, after the younger Bennett accepted the head coaching position at Virginia. Following a 10-21 (3-15 conference) season, Bone was fired as head coach on March 18, 2014. He had two years of his guaranteed seven-year contract remaining.
NCAA team championships
Washington State has won 2 NCAA team national championships.
- Pac-12 Conference NCAA championships
- List of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships
Other national team championships
Below are 5 national team titles that were not bestowed by the NCAA:
- Men's Rifle (4): 1909, 1910, 1915, 1933
- Men's Skiing (1): 1953
Washington State's biggest rival is the University of Washington (UW) Huskies. One of the most important athletic contests for both schools is the Apple Cup: the annual game between the Cougars and the University of Washington Huskies and is traditionally held on the third Saturday of November.
As the two main public universities in the state, WSU and UW have a geographic rivalry.
Rivalries also exist between WSU and the other Pac-12 teams of the Pacific Northwest: the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. Competition between the schools in football has been very competitive over the years, as the Cougars hold a 47-44-3 advantage in the series against OSU and trail UO by a tally of 38-42-7.
WSU’s closest geographic rival is the University of Idaho, another land-grant school only eight miles (13 km) east in Moscow. The Battle of the Palouse, the annual football game, was revived in 1998 for a 10-year run, and is usually held at Martin Stadium in Pullman. Since 2007, the game has been played only once, in 2013, and the next is scheduled for 2016; WSU has won the last eight and holds a 71-18-3 (.788) advantage in the series.
1915 football season
The Washington State Warriors won the 1916 Rose Bowl, finished the season at 10-0 and outscored its opponents 204-10. They were among three teams that went undefeated that year, the other two being Cornell University (currently recognized as the 1915 champions) and the University of Pittsburgh. In 1915, WSC was awarded the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl Game and was set to play Brown University, which had lost only one game, to Harvard University (who in turn lost to Cornell 10-0) by a score of 16-7. Washington State beat Brown in the Rose Bowl 14-0. However, a 1915 national championship was never awarded until 1935, when a Princeton University graduate submitted the first national polling of that season, and Cornell was awarded the title twenty years after the 1915 season.
Individuals who have served as athletic director for the Cougars, according to WSU Sports Information, include:
- Fred Bohler, Director of Department of Physical Education and Athletics, 1915–1948
- Earl Foster, 1925–1946, AD/Graduate Manager
- Lloyd Bury, 1946–1949, AD/Graduate Manager
- Robert Brumblay, 1949–1950 
- Golden Romney, 1951–1954, both AD and Dean of Physical Education
- Stan Bates, 1954–1971 
- Ray Nagel, 1971–1976 
- Sam Jankovich, 1976–1983 
- Dick Young, 1983–1987 
- Jim Livengood, 1987–1994 
- Rick Dickson, 1994–2000 
- Jim Sterk, 2000–2010 
- Bill Moos, 2010–present 
Spirit and traditions
The first mascot was a terrier named "Squirt" as someone brought a pet dog to campus. The mascot became the Indians during the decade spanning 1910-1919, known as "Carlisle Connection". Three football coaches came from the famous Carlisle Indian College in Pennsylvania: Frank Shivley, William "Lone Star" Dietz and Gus Welch.
Following the first football game between WSU and California in 1919, an Oakland cartoonist portrayed the Washington State team as fierce Northwest cougars chasing the defeated Golden Bears. A few days later, on October 28, WSU students officially designated "Cougars" as their team mascot.
In 1927 during the Homecoming football game against the neighboring University of Idaho, Governor Roland H. Hartley presented a cougar cub to the WSU students. The cub was originally to be called "Governor Hartley," in honor of its donor. The governor gracefully declined and suggested the name "Butch," in honor of Herbert "Butch" Meeker of Spokane, who was WSU's gridiron football star at the time.
Governor Clarence D. Martin presented Butch II to the student body in 1938. Butch III and IV were twin cubs presented by Governor Arthur B. Langlie in January 1942. Governor Langlie also presented Butch V in 1955. Butch VI, the last live mascot on campus, died in the summer of 1978. Governor Albert Rosellini had presented him to WSU in 1964 from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.
Today, the mascot, named Butch T. Cougar, is a student wearing a cougar costume. The student playing the mascot is anonymous; the student's identity is only revealed after the last sporting event of the school year, usually the last home basketball game of the season.
The Cougar logo was developed in July 1936 by art student Randall Johnson (1915–2007), a graduate of Pullman High, while working as a summer sign painter on campus. Fred Rounds, the head of the buildings and grounds department, suggested to Johnson that Washington State College needed a trademark, and both agreed it needed to be pictoral and include the initials of the school, then WSC.
After a few nights, Johnson came up with a design using the letters WSC to form a cougar head, and Rounds promptly took it to the administration for official approval. With the president on sabbatical, the acting president gave the nod and its first use was on the door of a campus truck. Johnson graduated in 1938 and went to work in Spokane, where he spent his career in advertising at the local electric utility. When the school became a university in 1959, he modified the mouth of the cougar to incorporate the new "U".
The first school colors were pink and blue, said to be chosen by the first WSU president's wife when she was so in awe of the blue and pink sunsets of the Palouse. A student election in November 1900 changed the school colors to their current Crimson and Gray.
The ZZU CRU is the official student fan club for WSU Basketball. The $10 membership fee gives students an official club T-shirt, discount card that is good for 15% discounts at various local businesses, exclusive access to prime seating at games, contests, and exclusive member opportunities for player autographs. The lower section of the arena, where the ZZU CRU sits, is called The Cage. ZZU CRU members' events throughout the year include a Pre-Season Party, ZZU CRU @ the COUG, and a Post-Season Party. Members earn prizes based on the number of basketball games they attend. The attendance prizes for attending women's games are the best. At the end of the season, those with the best attendance get better prize packages, including clothing and sports equipment. The top 10 members are entered into a drawing to receive two basketball tickets to the Pac-12 Tournament. Currently, ZZU CRU has a count of 2,750 members for the 2008-2009 season. Members can be anyone from students to alumni, to visitors who just would like a shirt. The ZZU CRU was created by a 2005 Alumni during her time as an intern for Cougar Athletic Marketing. Her vision was to bring the deep Cougar Pride of the student body together to create a homecourt advantage in Beasley Coliseum.
In the late 19th century the bell was mounted on the ground in the center of campus to start and dismiss class. Later, it was placed on top of Old College Hall when automatic bells were used, and then on Bryan Hall. The bell was first rung in victory after WSU beat the Washington Huskies by the women's basketball team in 1902. Later, the members of the Intercollegiate Knights rang the bell following a football win. It was subsequently moved to the present College Hall, and now rests on the west side of the Alumni Centre where it is rung by the Student Alumni Ambassadors after each football win.
Presence on ESPN College GameDay
The popular ESPN College GameDay program has, as of 2015[update], never been broadcast from WSU. An unofficial, but well organized effort to place the WSU flag in view of the GameDay cameras for every broadcast has been acknowledged by the GameDay crew. However, it was widely assumed by Cougars fans that the show would not make plans to broadcast from Pullman until Washington State was relevant again in college football.
The Cougar Cannon
After every touchdown and Cougar win, the WSU ROTC Department fires a blank round from a "Pack-75" 75mm Towed Howitzer. The concussion from the celebratory blast is seen, heard and felt by everyone in and around Martin Stadium. The cannon is property of the Washington Army National Guard and on loan to the university in support of WSU Athletics and the WSU ROTC Department. The ROTC "Cannon Crew" is composed exclusively of ROTC Cadets who are also members of the Washington Army National Guard. The cannon was first brought to WSU in 1993 and was fired from a balcony atop the Compton Union Building (CUB) overlooking Martin Stadium until 2006. Following the 2006 season, due to the CUB remodel, the cannon was absent from WSU Football. The cannon returned for the 2010 and 2011 seasons and now fires from atop the newly remodeled WSU Library, also overlooking Martin Stadium. The Pack-75 Howitzer is of WWII vintage where it saw combat service with units of the Washington Army National Guard in both the Philippines and Guadal Canal. Electronic Arts, a major video game studio, picked up on the tradition and features a blast from the cannon after Cougar touchdowns (home games) in its popular EA Sports NCAA Football series.
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