Posts Tagged ‘University of Washington’

Huskies Were Cougars First

July 11, 2012

A combination of beastly hot weather that drained my energy coupled with being overwhelmed with work to get out has kept me away from my blog recently. I hope things let up for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday, I received a question regarding when the Washington State teams were first called Cougars. That person wanted to know if the 1918 Spalding’s Guide referred to the 1917 WSC as Cougars. It didn’t, but didn’t call most teams by their nicknames, either.

Washington State lore places the origin of the use of that name for their teams to an unnamed Bay Area sportswriter who wrote that the WSC team “played like Cougars” in their October 25, 1919 game with Cal, the second game played under Gus Welch’s leadership. A quick scan of newspapers of that time uncovered a short article in the October 25, 1919 Oakland Tribune stated “Washington State College, the Cougars, meets the University of California here today….” The post-game coverage written by Doug Montell did not use Cougars or any other nickname for the WSC team although it did refer to the California team as the Bears. Even if Montell had called them Cougars, the WSC team couldn’t have been dubbed with that name for its play against Cal because some unnamed person at the Oakland Tribune called them that before the game was played. Regardless, this wasn’t the first time a college team in the state of Washington took that name.

The March 17, 1918 edition of the Oakland Tribune (yes, it was that same paper again) included an anonymous piece stating that the University of Washington had officially named its teams Cougars. So, a year and a half before the Tribune called the WSC team Cougars, it claimed that Washington had claimed the name. Perhaps someone in the Tribune’s sports department had a feline fetish.

 

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Was Washington Offered Rose Bowl First?

February 7, 2011

In a discussion on Amazon.com of his biography of “Gloomy” Gil Dobie, William L. Borland, states that the University of Washington was offered the opportunity to defend the honor of the West and turned it down prior to it being offered to Washington State. UW’s account differs with that told by WSC. When asked where he found the information to support the claim, Borland responded that he found it in Seattle newspapers of the day. I have seen letters on Tournament of Roses letterhead to Washington State and to Brown University confirming that they would be playing each other on January 1, 1916, but I haven’t seen anything from the Tournament to UW. Research in Tournament of Roses and UW archives will be necessary to determine the truth. However, not finding anything in either archive does not mean that documents never existed, just that the institutions didn’t save them or that someone stole them from the archives. The latter happens more often than we’d like to admit.

It will be some time before I have the opportunity to do research at either institution, so basic newspaper searches will have to do for now. I do recall that an early report out of Providence stated that Brown would be playing the University of Washington. Prior to this, I thought that a reporter was confused. A quick search of an on-line newspaper archive found a November 10, 1915 article in The Bakersfield Californian that included the following:

“The undefeated University of Washington football eleven probably will be seen in action at Pasadena New Year’s Day, according to plans learned in Los Angeles yesterday. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has invited Coach Gilmour Dobie’s aggregation to meet one of the strongest eastern varsities at Pasadena January 1, and Washington is expected to accept the offer….Faculty permission is all that is needed, according to [Graduate Manager Arthur] Younger….Pasadena may bring Michigan out for the contest with Washington. However, as Michigan has been losing steadily it is believed that another school will be selected.”

To be continued…