Thanks to SW WA Coug for being our correspondent at the Little Creek Casino event! - Nuss
Date of the event: February 5, 2009.
It was pretty awesome. Bob Robertson was Master of Ceremonies. Tom Pounds, Founder of the ESPN Game Day Cougar Flag, spoke to the crowd of well over 200 Cougs. Athletic Director Jim Sterk was ill with the flu and unable to attend so John Johnson, Sr. Associate Director of Athletics spoke to us on his behalf. There was a silent auction with tons of Coug goodies that was held during the social hour from 5:30 to 6:30. After that we had an awesome dinner, buffet style, and then a live auction of some really great Coug stuff. I won't go through all the specifics of that, but let's just say there was some great deals to be had. Sorry to be so long-winded, but it all deserves mention to give everyone an idea of what this great event was really all about. I'm leaving out a bunch of it, by design, because I can't actually remember it all to a 'T.'
During the social hour that kicked the whole thing off, I introduced myself to Coug great Alex Brink while I was checking in. He is one really super nice fella. I was nervous. The last time I rubbed elbows with someone like that was back in the early 70's when Ty Paine was in one of my classes, so it's been quite some time for me. Way too long.
After getting my auction number and finding a table to sit at, I walked up to Coach Wulff and introduced myself. You have no idea how nervous and excited I was all at the same time. I think he picked up on that, but he was really gracious and after a few seconds I calmed down a bit. I don't even remember exactly what I said but it was something along the lines of, "You are doing a great job and you make me very proud to be a Coug." It probably sounded pretty cheesy. I was in heaven.
I put in a few bids on the silent auction, eventually garnering a new baseball cap and right before dinner started, I had my picture taken with Coach Wulff with the Apple Cup Trophy between us. How cool is that?
Right before dinner I introduced myself to Todd Sturdy, he's kind of a smaller guy. I wasn't quite as nervous with him but just the same, I was excited to be shaking hands with one of the architects of our new recruiting class and building a great Cougar football program. Steve Broussard was there but I didn't get a chance to meet him. He was always busy talking to someone and I didn't want to be rude and interrupt. I regret not at least shaking his hand though.
When dinner began I was at a table of Coug fans I had yet to meet, but it only took a couple of seconds before Diana, my soon to be wife, and I were introduced. All super people and great Cougs of course. One of them happened to be the Jeff McQuarrie, creator of the 'Legends of the Palouse.' I bought it when it first came out and there was one or more sets available during the silent auction.
Sitting right behind me at another table was Rich Rasmussen, Coach Wulff's recruiting coordinator. I certainly didn't miss the opportunity to shake his hand and chat with him either.
Right after dinner, Coach Wulff was introduced to a standing ovation, well deserved in my opinion. Before he spoke he introduced Rich, who talked about recruiting efforts past, present, and going forward.
I should probably have taken notes but didn't because I didn't want to miss one word anyone said. I knew I was going to be writing this post and wanted to get it all exactly right but instead, you are going to have to settle for me just 'winging' it. I apologize for that. I was caught up in the moment and having such a great time. You have no idea what this meant to me, none whatsoever! I hope heaven is this much fun.
After Rich was finished speaking to us, and this is after listening to Bob Robertson, John Johnson, and Tom Pounds, it was time for Coach Wulff.
This post seems to be getting a little wordy and I want to cover a little of what each of them had to say, especially Tom Pounds, Rich Rasmussen and Coach Wulff. I don't think I can include all of it in just this post. There will have be a second one.
Tom Pounds - One of my Coug buddies, who I met and worked with while living in Denver, had the privelege of waving the Cougar Flag on ESPN Game Day a couple of years ago in Eugene. I hope I get a chance one day myself if the opportunity ever presents itself. Tom presented a signed '2004 Crimson with White Logo' flag to the athletic department that he hopes will eventually be hung in Bohler Gym. I didn't get the whole story, the mic was cutting in and out a bit, but the signed 2003 flag had already been 'spoken for' by another department. Two versions of the flag are present at every ESPN Game Day show. It's a tradition that has been going on since the early 2000's, but I can't remember the exact year, and it all began at the University of Texas. I hope I have my facts straight. Someone feel free to correct any mistakes I make. It's quite a tradition and last night they even showed an ESPN film clip with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit commenting on it. Cool stuff.
Tom Pounds started the tradition and makes sure the flag gets to the proper destination, into the proper hands, each weekend of the season. Kudos to Tom. On a sad side note, his wife passed away about 10 days before this event, I'm sorry to say. I feel for you Tom and you have my sincere condolences.
I am going to end this post at this time, because I'd like to start a new one that centers completely on what Coach Wulff and Rich Rasmussen had to say about the football program. I think you will like what you hear. I certainly got a new appreciation for the direction of the program, the thinking behind what they are trying to accomplish, and what to look forward to in the future. I will also talk about some very specific stuff on each of the recruits. Please have patience. This is probably a one-time-only thing for me. I will leave the professional writing up to guys like Nuss, Grady, and Jim Moore.