Celebrating WSU Veterans, and previewing Cougar Football 2014

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On this Memorial Weekend, we look back at some great Cougars, including some who served in the military and went on to have outstanding careers in WSU Athletics.

Good morning, Coug fans. We hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day weekend, hopefully with some nice weather, good friends, good food, and a cold adult beverage or three. Today we will have a little history lesson (I did major in the subject after all) about the roots of Memorial Day, and how it relates to WSU.

According to History.com, Memorial Day traces its roots to back to the Civil War. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was "designated for the purpose of strewing flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion..." During World War I, the holiday evolved to commemorate all American personnel who died in all wars. Originally celebrated exclusively on 30 May, Congress passed a law in 1968 that changed Memorial Day to the last Friday in May.

While searching for WSU connections to the military for this holiday, I found out that there's actually a veteran's memorial on WSU's campus. From the article, "The memorial displays the names of the Washington State alumni who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and the ongoing Global War on Terrorism." I had no idea this existed, or that it was being built when I was a student. Next time you're in Pullman, I urge you to stop by and check it out. The man behind the memorial's construction, C. James Quann, also wrote a book chronicling WSU military veterans.

WSU even produced a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. James P. Fleming was awarded the nation's highest military decoration during Vietnam. He flew helicopters in the Air Force, and was part Air Force Special Operations Command. This guy was a real-life hero, risking his life in order to rescue men who surely would have been killed otherwise. He is the epitome of our motto in AFSOC: Any Time, Any Place.

There are also several members of WSU's Athletic Hall of Fame who served in the military. Among them was Dorothea Coleman. She arrived at WSU in 1962, and coached EVERY women's team on campus. Before that, she served in the Women's Army Corps, and achieved the highest possible rank for a woman, Lieutenant Colonel. Carl Deitz was the star of WSC's first Rose Bowl team in 1915, which defeated Brown 14-0. He was named the game's MVP. Following his career at WSC, Dietz became a U.S. Marine, earning his officer's commission before returning to WSC to coach in 1919. Coleman and Dietz are just two of many WSU HOF members who served in the military.

Thus concludes your history lesson for the week. So as you crack open that cold beverage, gather with your buddies around the grill, keenly watching those brats and ensuring that they're cooked just right (after boiling them in beer of course), take a few seconds to think about why you (hopefully) get an extra day off to celebrate the start of summer. Happy Memorial Day.

Football

Scout.com: Preview 2014 - Washington State Cougars
The season will be a success if ... Washington State returns to the postseason. Last season was all about breaking through. This season is about proving that the program is here to stay.

Scout.com: 2014 Wash State Preview: What You Must Know
I've been a longtime reader of CFN. Their WSU preview is among the first of the coming season. Here, they look at the top 10 players to know for 2014.

Pac-12 North football forecast (mid-off-season version) | Pac-12 Confidential | Seattle Times
The Cougars are hoping for immediate help at corner from incoming freshmen, which is either a cause for alarm or a sign of confidence in them. Meanwhile, kicker and punter are question marks.

An early look at Rutgers' non-conference opponents | NJ.com
Based on Washington State's strengths and weaknesses, Rutgers could be in store for another season-opening shootout reminiscent of its 52-51 overtime loss to Fresno State last year.

Former Cougar great Jason Gesser ready to call WSU games on the radio | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
Nowhere in Gesser’s Idaho or Wyoming bio is the FSN work, and if McWashington was imperfect doing WSU, so was Gesser back then, more bubbly than analytical.

Deone Bucannon

Deone Bucannon Chases Perfection, Respect
“(Deone has) only got one problem -- He is so much a perfectionist,” coach Bruce Arians said. “It is paralysis by analysis right now because he wants to do everything just perfect."

Baseball

Cougars Outslug Sun Devils - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State pounded out 15 hits and the Cougars knocked off No. 21 Arizona State 10-7, Saturday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Track and Field

Cougars Selected for NCAA Preliminary Round - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State University's track and field programs will have a strong presence at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Preliminary Round, Thur.-Sat., May 29-31, at John McDonnell Field on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

Non-Sports

Missed Connections for A-Holes : The New Yorker
This was probably the best thing I read all week.

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