Time to Get Dirty with WSU Basketball

William Mancebo

As coaching speculation swirls around the Men's Basketball team, it's time for fans to exam what part they can play for a better future with WSU basketball, no matter who is at the helm next season.

Many of us have become familiar with WSU's ongoing commercial campaign played between breaks of Cougar Athletic events. These commercials usually feature two people talking about cutting edge research taking place in a certain field. In each commercial, one person inevitably asks, "Where is this research being done?" to which the another person replies, "Washington State University," and a third overhearing party yells, "Go Cougs!"

Earlier this week, I was in a somewhat similar situation as I took a break away from life on the Palouse to explore Neah Bay, located in the far Northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula. For those not familiar with Neah Bay, it is home to the Makah Nation, whose history in the region goes back millenniums.

In the 1950s, a research team from WSU led by Dr. Richard Daugherty, who just passed away a few short weeks ago at the age of 91, assisted the Makah in uncovering the Ozette site, where their ancestors had previously inhabited before being forced to head North to Neah Bay by catastrophic mudslides. The artifacts collected during this dig now make up much of what is the Makah Museum.

I had to ask the museum curator why researchers from WSU picked up the project when, geographically, UW is much closer to the site. The reply I received was interesting and got me thinking. The curator stated, "In the 1950s, if you wanted to study archaeology and work behind a desk, you went to UW. But, if you wanted to get your hands dirty and do some digging in the field, you went to WSU."

As I drove off entirely impressed by what I had seen in the region and learned in the museum about the Makah Nation and their intimate relationship with the land, that statement stuck with me, because it seems to be true in many aspects today, including WSU Basketball.

As we consider this lesson looking ahead to seemingly inevitable changes with our Men's Basketball team, it's time to get our hands dirty and dig as a fan base. Everybody wants to get that big name coach to return our program to the "Promise Land" of the NCAA tournament, but how well our we positioned to fork out that money?

That answer, unfortunately, is not very. Bill Moos has done wonders to promote the Cougar Athletic Fund and get more people involved, but we are still coming up short, really short. As of a speech I heard him give a few weeks ago, the program is running at an annual 3 million dollar deficit to pay for the scholarships of its student athletes. As Moos pointed out, he will not cut sports, but he has to get the money from somewhere.

That somewhere just happens to be from funds that could go to make good on Bone's existing contract (if Moos decides to go that route), attract a possible future coach with more name recognition, and improve our basketball facilities. We all want to win, but how do we make that happen?

We all have to dig and get our hands dirty.

So what is digging and getting our hand dirty? It's giving a few extra dollars to CAF. It's attending games during the rebuilding process and creating an atmosphere that recruits want to play in. It's getting behind whoever the Head Coach is next season to support the program and generate a little more buzz than we have seen over the past two years. We are not helpless bystanders to bad basketball outcomes.We can play a role.

If you have never visited Neah Bay and nearby Cape Flattery, make it a point to do so in the not too distant future. The region's natural beauty and the gracious hospitality of its residents made for a spectacular day that I will never forget. But the lesson learned about our University's small, but important, part of local history still carries some truth to it today. If Cougar Basketball is to be what we want it to be, we have to get our hands dirty and start digging.

BASEBALL

The WSU Baseball team played its first Pac-12 conference game against Arizona Friday in Tucson and lost by a score of 12-1. Jason Monda logged a quality start in the Cougar effort. The defense committed three errors and the offense failed to plate a single run until the 9th inning with the game already well out of hand.

Cougar Lose Series Opener in Tucson - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State continues series with Arizona, Saturday.

Washington St. vs. Arizona final score: James Farris shuts down Cougars - Arizona Desert Swarm
Friday marked the start of a whole new season for Arizona baseball. It's Pac-12 time, and man did James Farris get the Wildcats off to a great start in a 12-1 win over Washington State.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

With the Men's season coming to an end Wednesday in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament, headlines have taken a predictable course and focused on the possible changes at the Head Coach position.

Once happy together, Romar, Bone, Dollar now on hot seats | Larry Stone | The Seattle Times
Once, they were a Montlake dream team, a coaching trifecta that lifted the Huskies to heights the program had rarely seen.

WSU's Ken Bone: Behind the scenes with a coach on the hot seat | Take 2 | Seattle Times
Equipped with a glazed donut and a cup of coffee, Ken Bone powered on his laptop and absorbed film. Again. On long drives, plane rides, even in the middle of the night when sleep evaded him, Bone rarely passed up a chance to improve his struggling Washington State men's basketball team.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

The next 3 days for WSU's Women's Basketball team will be anxious days as they await to season which postseason tournament they will be playing in. A carryover segment from last week features the family of Cougar standout and All Pac-12 guard Lia Galdeira. The Galdeiras made the trip last week from their home in Hawaii to watch their daughter play in the Pac-12 tournament. The Pac-12 Network and WSU's Athletic Department picked up on the story.

Hoops and Hawai'i: Pac-12 Networks connects Cougars fans, family | Pac-12
It’s more than 3,000 miles from the Galdeira home in Kamuela, Hawai'i to Washington State, sophomore guard Lia Galdeira’s new home in Pullman, Washington. Thanks to Pac-12 Networks, parents Kunia and Momi Galdeira don’t have to travel all that way to see their daughter play basketball. The Galdeira parents are seeing their daughter play in person for the first time this weekend at the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in Seattle, but they follow the Cougs' women’s basketball team very closely.

TRACK AND FIELD

Jorgensen Advances to NCAA Indoor T&F Final - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Jesse Jorgensen qualified Friday night for the men's 800m final at the NCAA DI Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

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