It turns out we're not the first to throw out a "Coug of the Decade" idea. Actually, WSU Football Blog is doing a poll of Coug Nation to find out who the offensive and defensive "Cougs of the Decade" were in football. A cool idea, and a worthwhile argument to have among our football faithful. Cougs of the Decade. See how it's plural? That means I'm not stealing the title as we get set to do our version. Of course, you could also make the argument WSUFB is riding the coattails of our wildly successful Coug of the Year competition last year, won by
Benedict Tony Bennett in a landslide. Oh, if I could only go back in time and find a way to rig it for Kyle Weaver... Anyway, great minds think alike in the blogosphere. I actually do promise I discussed my idea for a CougCenter Coug of the Decade competition with Jeff and Craig long before I found out WSU Football blog was doing a different yet kind of similar thing.
So what's Coug of the Decade? This award ranges through all sports, players, coaches, mascots, humans, animals and maybe even inanimate objects to find the most transcendent and influential Cougar sports figure of the decade.
The setup is very similar to last year's COTY competition, only this time the acronym is COTD, which isn't as cool. A 16-human field whittled down over time to the top 2. Then, we have ourselves a winner. They don't get a reward, other than the intense personal satisfaction that only winning this competition or climbing Mount Everest can provide.
This is a lot more complex than looking at just the previous year. So we need your help. Who do you want to see in the bracket? Where should they be seeded?
We have a lot of coaches potentially vying for the title: Mike Price, Tony Bennett, June Daugherty and my favorite dark horse contender... one Mr. Dick Bennett. And don't forget about the non-revenue sports: Matt Potter and Jane LaRiviere may be worthy contenders, as is our old volleyball coach Cindy Fredrick and the man who is reviving the same program after she left, Andrew Palileo.
Then, the players. Let's start with basketball. Taylor Rochesite is a sure thing in my mind to make the field. As are Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver. And that one big Australian guy. But what about some of the lower profile stars? Is Robbie Cowgill worthy? Thomas Kelati, Jeff Varem or Marcus Moore (if you really want to go back in time)? Klay Thompson? He may very well win this award for the next decade.
Over on the football side, there are a number of worthy contenders. Jason Gesser for sure. How about Heisman candidate Jerome Harrison? (Remember when we had Heisman candidates? Simpler times.) Or oft-maligned but actually really pretty good quarterback Alex Brink? On the defensive side of the ball we have your Marcus Trufants, Will Dertings, Rien Longs and Mkristo Bruces of the world - among others. Are all of those guys worthy? Just a couple? That's what we'll try to sort out in the next few days.
Finally, there's the non-Sport category. AD Jim Sterk has to at least get a nomination for what he's done with basketball (men's and women's), regardless of what you think of his football hires. Butch T. Cougar won a Capital One Mascot of the Year competition, yet again proving our school's dominance in meaningless internet polls (like this one!). Should he get a nod? And then we could even go further away from Pullman: Go 2 Guy Jim Moore and the S-R's Vince Grippi have been valuable assets when it comes to quenching our thirst for Cougar sports information and commentary. How about Keith Gilbertson or Tyrone Willingham, for curbing the enthusiasm of Husky football fans for several glorious years? Actually, not those guys. But the possibilities are endless.
The best thing is - at least in my opinion - that there's no clear cut favorite. And that's what makes it fun. Yes, it is a meaningless internet poll. As meaningless as those internet petitions that, for whatever reason, a large number of people seem to think actually may accomplish something. Even though a surprisingly large number of signatures come from Bart Simpson and George W. Bush.
However, Coug of the Decade is also a fun topic of discussion, and a chance to agree/disagree with your fellow Coug fans. So let's dive in. Comments below.