clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cougars hire new baseball coach

WSU reached to the WCC for a new head man.


Happy Father’s Day to all you Coug dads out there. One new Coug dad who is probably celebrating today is Nathan Choate. WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun has tabbed Choate, father to Kamdyn, Chance, Kyla and Kacey to lead WSU Baseball following the departure of Brian Green. From here, it would seem that anyone who can manage a household with four kids should have success managing personalities a plethora of differing personalities.

Choate has a lengthy coaching history on the west coast, particularly in California, and has definitely had a pitching-centric career. Choate played collegiately at Santa Ana JC and Cal Poly, serving primarily as a relief pitcher. Once his playing career finished, he began to work his way up the coaching ranks. First up were stops at UC-Irvine (pitching coordinator) and UC-Riverside (pitching coach and recruiting coordinator).

He then moved on to Grand Canyon University, and played a key role GCU’s transition from Division II to Division I, where he helped lead GCU to a D-II championship and WAC title. After five years in Arizona, Choate moved back to California to assume the role of pitching coach with the USD Toreros, and then on to Loyola Marymount in 2018. When head coach Jason Gill left to take over USC’s program a year later, LMU elevated Choate to the head position.

In a rather auspicious debut for someone who will soon lead the Cougs, Choate’s first two games as head coach were both wins over the Washington Huskies. Never a bad thing! LMU finished 8-8 in the COVID-truncated first season. The next three seasons were a mixed bag, as the Lions finished about .500 in-conference and well below .500 overall in 2021 and 2022. 2023 was a bit of a breakout season, as Choate led LMU to a WCC title. However, the Lions went 0-2 in the WCC Tournament and missed out on the postseason.

So welcome to Pullman, coach Choate and family. As Tom Fornelli is fond of saying, I think this is a good hire. I have no idea if it’ll work out.

WSU Baseball Past

In addition to reporting on the new WSU head coach, the Spokesman Review’s Colton Clark took a look back at one of college baseball’s all-time greatest players, former Coug John Olerud. For those of you who are too young to remember, Olerud was to college baseball what Shohei Ohtani is to Major League Baseball.

In Olerud’s sophomore season of 1988, the Cougs went a remarkable 52-14, and were almost certainly one of the best teams in the nation. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the College World Series. So how good was Olerud at the plate?

Olerud, who played at Interlake High in Bellevue, batted .464 with 23 homers, 81 RBIs and 21 doubles. A first baseman, he had five times as many hits as strikeouts.


Ok, but there are lots of great college hitters. How good could he have been on the mound?

Olerud was also a dominant pitcher, going 15-0 – with five complete games – and recording a 2.49 earned-run average. He struck out 113 batters against just 39 walks.

My god.

Olerud was just a freak of nature. I mean, in the last 40 years, nine players have gone from MLB Draft straight to the big leagues, never playing in the minors. Olerud is one of them. And he wasn’t taken until the third round!

The article is a fun look down memory lane, but is also kind of a bummer, because there’s definitely a sense of “what might have been” with the Cougar baseball team of that era, especially given the medical malady that nearly ended Olerud’s life prematurely. Hopefully WSU gets back to that level sooner than later.

This Week in Parenting

Not much to report, as yours truly spent most of the week schlepping through a large, five-sided building in Northern Virginia. We celebrated Father’s Day on Saturday evening, because the teenager headed off to Boy Scout camp in Georgia this morning. Have your Scout at the departure point at 0630! Happy Father’s Day! They had to drop off their gear Saturday evening in order to pack the trailer, so I drove the kiddo over to the drop point. We arrived at 5:50 p.m.

40 minutes later, I was still waiting, as the adults stood in a circle chatting and the scouts sat around chatting. Finally, I got out of the car and told the kid it was time to go. I mean, was I the only person who was aware that it was Saturday night, and there were probably 68,834 better things to do than stand around in the rain? Like I told him in the car, I’m thrilled that he loves scouting, and the people in his troop. But my god, none of those good people have any concept of time. Meetings chronically run late. The “Scout Master Minute” almost always runs 500% long. I told him that when he’s in a leadership position (which will happen sooner than later), his #1 job will be sticking to the schedule. Time management is chronically underrated.

Back to Father’s Day. The kids got old dad a baseball glove, and I think it’s because the older boy got tired of me using his, but it was a pretty good idea! This came on the heels of a purchase I made a couple weeks ago, when I ordered one of those plastic contraptions that enables a person to throw fly balls without ruining their arm. Well, it enables most people to do that. When you’re old like me, everything is pretty much already ruined. For real, I must have used several muscles for the first time in forever, because everything from the waist to the neck was sore for nearly a week. The calendar remains unbeaten.

On the 11 year-old front, the summer of golf continued with his first chance to play on an actual course. The format was fun, as the kids would tee off, then move the ball 25 yards from the hole and play it out. Driving and putting were a struggle, but the kiddo was a chipping savant, only missing two of nine greens. He even made a legit four on one of the par 3’s! Not bad for a first timer. Of course, the whole thing was another exercise in dad failure, as I didn’t remind him to look the part. Every other kid had a polo shirt and nice shorts, while he rolled up in Under Armour gym gear. That won’t happen again!

Finally, I couldn’t resist responding to this tweet.

In true dad fashion, the kids’ effort to properly edge the yard always falls far short of my expectations, so I end up doing it anyway. Chalk up another “L.”

Tales From the Road

Moving back to the US meant a significant slowdown in travel, so it was nice to get back out, first to New York and then to D.C. Then again, traveling means interacting with other travelers, the vast majority of whom suck. To wit:

  • Gate lice. My god, the gate lice. Gets worse and worse.
  • The guy on the flight who had his shoes off before pushback, then decided to up the ante by pushing his socks half way off for the flight. If that’s you, you suck.
  • The people who put their suitcase sideways in the overhead bin. If that’s you, you suck.
  • The lady who brought her guitar to her airplane seat. Ma’am, I assume this isn’t your first time on a plane. What the hell did you think you were gonna do with that thing? Lay it across the tray tables?
  • The a**hole in the lounge watching a baseball game on his phone, at full volume. Hey bud, the rest of us came here for some free booze and quiet time, not to listen to every pitch of the super regional. The kid and I moved to a different room, and we could still hear it. I mean, even the jerk’s wife had earphones on!
  • People who take their seatbelts off with like 10 feet to go before the aircraft parks. What exactly do you think you’re accomplishing with that move? I’ll tell you - nothing. So stop it!
  • The guy next to me in the middle seat who decided 830 a.m. was the perfect time to open a fresh bag pf pickle-flavored pretzels. Those don’t stink at all!
  • The guy in the hotel bar who, when the topic of conversation between him and another patron somehow ended up on volcanoes, said “Yeah, that big Mount St. Helens eruption was a couple years ago.” A couple years. Nearly half a century. Same difference.
  • The Admirals Lounge which had “to go” coffee cups, but no lid or cardboard ring holder thingie. The walk from the coffee pot, down the elevator, then to the gate was one of the more pressure-packed journeys of my life. Feels like there should be cup lids available to a group of time-constrained travelers, but maybe that’s just me.
  • The flight attendant who, upon me telling her that I’d like a Bloody Mary while we waited to push back, said, “Are you sure you’ll finish it? I have to collect everything before we push back.” Challenge: Accepted.


C.I.A. Admits to Losing Informants - The New York Times
Counterintelligence officials said in a top secret cable to all stations and bases around the world that too many of the people it recruits from other countries to spy for the U.S. are being lost.

The Binge Purge
TV’s streaming model is broken. It’s also not going away. For Hollywood, figuring that out will be a horror show.