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Steve Gleason honored by Washington State University

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He is now officially a Distinguished Alumnus.

Windows 10 And Team Gleason Host Fireside Chat With Steve Gleason At SXSW Photo by Sasha Haagensen/Getty Images for Microsoft

The Regents of Washington State University presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award on Thursday to former student athlete Steve Gleason. The award is the highest honor bestowed on alumni of the university and is given out annually to one recipient.

Gleason was a four-year letter winner in football and baseball for WSU from 1996-1999 before playing in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints for seven seasons. He was on hand Thursday at Martin Stadium to accept the award.

Steve Gleason, Regent Ron Sims and President Kirk Schulz with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award. Photo by Robert Hubner, #WSU Photo Services. #GoCougs

Posted by Washington State University on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gleason, who communicates through a synthetic voice that is controlled by eye movements, thanked his parents and President Kirk Schulz before reflecting on his time at WSU.

“It’s always nice to be in town. Although, I have to admit, until a few weeks ago, I thought that ‘regents’ was just a cafeteria where all the athletes used to eat lunch and dinner on campus,” Gleason said. “I have great football and baseball memories, but what makes my experiences at WSU so incredible are the memories that have nothing to do with athletics.”

In 2011, a few years after his football career ended, Gleason was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Since then, he has made it his mission to raise awareness for the disease, inspiring many along the way.

Through Team Gleason, a foundation started after his diagnosis, the former athlete has brought more attention to the disease and helped others in a similar condition. The foundation started the Team Gleason house, which is equipped the newest technology to help those with ALS live the most independent life that they can.

Also among the speakers at the ceremony were Schulz, Regent Ron Sims, former teammate Grady Emmerson, and Mike Leach. Afterwards, the crowd serenaded Gleason fittingly, with a rendition of the Cougar fight song.

An impromptu singing of the #WSU Fight Song. Photo by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services. #GoCougs

Posted by Washington State University on Thursday, August 10, 2017

It was a truly heartwarming event and the award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person. Few people have the strength, courage and dedication to service of Steve Gleason. We couldn’t be more proud to have him in the Washington State family.

The full ceremony is on YouTube and you can watch it here.

*****

Football:

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If they have a good quarterback, which they do this year [6' 4", 225-pound senior Luke Falk], and if they have receivers, which they do [led by junior Tavares Martin Jr., who had 64 catches in 2016] they’re tough to stop

Luke Falk’s game isn’t sexy, but effective - The Phinsider
The senior quarterback enters a crucial year for his draft stock.

Grip on Sports: Our early warning system is working overtime this time of year | The Spokesman-Review
The front page of the S-R this morning took me back to the 1980s, when the Cold War was all the rage. It also got me thinking about early warning systems and all that. They can apply to sports you know.

It’s only been nine days, but Jamire Calvin’s reputation already growing at WSU camp | The Spokesman-Review
The reputation of Jamire Calvin’s fall camp at Washington State has spread almost as rapidly as the vicious wildfires currently smoking out the Pacific Northwest. And just like those nasty blazes, the true freshman wide receiver has been hard to contain.

Mata’afa, Ekuale named to Polynesian watch list | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State defensive line standouts Hercules Mata’afa and Daniel Ekuale were named Thursday morning to the 2017 Polynesian College Player of the Year Award watch list. The award is presented annually to “the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity.”

WSU honors Gleason with top alumni honor | The Spokesman-Review
When Washington State University selects its recipient for the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, the goal is to find someone “who has made significant contributions to society and, through his or her accomplishments, has brought attention to the quality of a WSU education.” It’s an award that has Steve Gleason’s name written all over it.

Volleyball:

College Roundup: Cougars ranked 29th in poll | Sports | dnews.com
WSU went 22-12 last year and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.