Posts Tagged ‘Washington State College’

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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New Year’s Day Opponents Set

February 10, 2011

Two days later, on November 12, Samuel Avery, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, reported that he had received a telegram the previous evening from C. R. Weldon, President of the Southern California University of Nebraska Club and acting for an unnamed Pasadena committee, inviting the University’s football team to play a representative of the Pacific coast for a game on New Year’s Day. The University of Washington was suggested as the probably coast team. For Nebraska to attend, permission was needed not only from the University but from the Missouri Valley Conference as well. According to a report published on the 16th, the University of Nebraska athletic board had met on the evening of the 15th and had approved the trip. The Cornhuskers “…would probably be pitted against the Washington state university team.” In addition to getting permission from the Conference, before formal acceptance could be made, they must receive “…assurance that the Washington state abides by Missouri Valley rules of playing. Coach Stiehm said this evening that the players and himself were in favor of making the trip….”

On November 17th, the following news report came out of Pasadena:

“Washington State College and Brown University football teams will meet here on New Year’s Day. This was announced today by A. J. Bortonneau, manager for the Rose Tournament Association, who said that these football elevens definitely had been decided upon. Telegrams were sent to the representatives of the schools today Mr. Bortonneau said, in which tentative plans were completed.”

A November 21 dispatch from Providence, Rhode Island, announced that Brown University had been selected by the Tournament Association after negotiations with Harvard, Yale and Cornell had broken down. Their opponent would be the University of Washington. Seward A. Simons of Los Angeles, 1st Vice-President of the AAU, came east to arrange the details.

Although the final matching had been set, there was still plenty of confusion. More research is necessary to sort out the reasons for the confusion.

Pacific Northwest Trip Canceled

January 26, 2010

The October 24, 1908 edition of The Anaconda Standard reported, in an article titled “Carlisle Cancels Northwestern Trip,” on a wire sent from Portland, Ore. on October 20. The wire began, “The games between the Carlisle Indians and W. S. C. and Multnomah A. C. are off, a letter from the Indians to Manager Martin Pratt of Multnomah yesterday announcing that the proposed expedition had been canceled. The news was badly received at Multnomah, where the clubmen were counting on the Carlisle game as the big attraction of the year from an attendance standpoint.”

W. S. C. stands for Washington State College, which is known today as Washington State University. A strong tie with Carlisle Indian School and the Warner System was established in 1915 when Lone Star Dietz left Carlisle to turn around W. S. C.’s football team and lead them to an undefeated season and a victory on New Year’s Day in Pasadena to establish the Rose Bowl tradition. Dietz was followed as head football coach first by Gus Welch and later by Albert Exendine. Multnomah Athletic Club was founded in 1891 and still operates in Portland, Oregon. At that time, they fielded one of the better football teams on the West Coast.

Carlisle Indian School publications made no mention of this. In fact, the November 6 issue of The Carlisle Arrow made no mention of any games, real or imagined, after the Thanksgiving Day game with St. Louis University. The November 20 issue included this little item:

Our Varsity team will leave for the west on Wednesday, with our coach and the substitutes, to play with Minnesota University, St. Louis University, Nebraska University, and Denver University.

No mention was ever made of a possible extension of the trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Indians lost to Minnesota, 11-6, and athletic relations between the schools were severed for reasons left unstated. The Indians then won the remaining 3 games on their long schedule to finish the 1908 season 10-2-1. The other loss was a 17-0 defeat by Harvard. The other blemish on their record was a 6-6 tie with Penn.