Washington State University Cougars
University Washington State University
Conference(s) Pacific-12
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Bill Moos
Location Pullman, WA
Varsity teams 15
Football stadium Martin Stadium
Basketball arena Beasley Coliseum
Baseball stadium Bailey-Brayton Field
Mascot Butch T. Cougar
Nickname Cougars
Fight song
Colors Crimson and Gray



The Washington State Cougars are the athletic teams at Washington State University; the term applies to any of the school's varsity teams. Washington State University is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference, which participates in the NCAA Division I. The athletic program comprises nine women's sports: basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball; and six men's sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, track and field. The school also offers various intramural sports.

Varsity athletics Edit

Washington State University is a member of the Pac-12 athletic conference. The school's mascot is Butch T. Cougar and the school's colors are crimson and gray. Varsity athletics include men's baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and track and field, as well as women's basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

In the past, WSU had varsity programs in boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics. In 1937, Roy Petragallo and Ed McKinnon won the NCAA boxing championship, WSU's first national championship. The men's track and field team won the 1977 NCAA Men's Indoor Track and Field Championship.[1]


During the 2001-2003 seasons, the Cougar football teams were distinguished by three ten-win seasons,[2] three top ten poll rankings, and appearances in the Sun Bowl, Rose Bowl and Holiday Bowl. The Cougars shared the Pac-10 title in 2002.[3] Paul Wulff, WSU's 31st head football coach, was fired on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 after completing his fourth season with a 9-40 overall record. Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has been hired to take over the Cougar's football program after Wulff's departure.

Men's basketballEdit

In 1917, the Cougars won their only basketball National Championship. In the late-1970s when George Raveling was head coach, the Cougars were among the Pac-10 Conference's top teams. Before becoming WSU head coach in 2005, Tony Bennett spent three seasons at WSU as an assistant to his father, Dick Bennett. In both the 2006–2007 and 2007–2008 seasons, his Cougar teams had 26 wins each, tying the Washington State school record set by the 1940–41 team. Ken Bone was tapped as the Cougars' head coach[4] on April 6, 2009, after the younger Bennett accepted the head coaching position at Virginia.


Rivalries Edit


Washington State's biggest rival is the University of Washington (UW) Huskies. One of the most important athletic contests for both schools is the Apple Cup:[5][6] the annual game between the Cougars and the University of Washington Huskies and is traditionally held on the third Saturday of November.

As the two main public universities in the state, WSU and UW have a geographic rivalry.

Strong rivalries also exist between WSU and the other Pac-12 teams of the Pacific Northwest: the University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State University Beavers.[citation needed] Competition between the schools in football has been very competitive over the years, as the Cougars hold a 47-44-3 advantage in the series against OSU and trail UO by a tally of 38-42-7.

WSU’s closest geographic rival is the University of Idaho, another land-grant school only eight miles (13 km) east in Moscow. The Battle of the Palouse, the annual football game, was revived in 1998 for a 10 year run, and is usually held at Martin Stadium in Pullman.[7] The game was not played in 2008; WSU has won the last seven games and holds a 70-18-3 (.786) advantage in the series.

1915 football season Edit

The Washington State Warriors won the 1916 Rose Bowl, finishing 10-0 and outscored its opponents 204-10, was in fact one of three teams that went undefeated that year, the other two being Cornell University (currently recognized as the 1915 champions) and the University of Pittsburgh.[citation needed] In 1915 Washington State College was awarded the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl Game and was set to play Brown University, which had lost only one game, to Harvard University (who in turn lost to Cornell 10-0) by a score of 16-7.[citation needed] Washington State beat Brown in the Rose Bowl 14-0.[8] However a 1915 national championship was never awarded until 1935, when a Princeton University graduate submitted the first national polling of that season.[citation needed] Cornell was awarded the championship twenty years after the 1915 season.[9]

Athletic Directors Edit

Individuals who have served as athletic director for the Cougars, according to WSU Sports Information, include:

  • Bill Moos, 2010–Present
  • Jim Sterk, 2000–2010
  • Rick Dickson, 1994–2000
  • Jim Livengood, 1987-1994[10]
  • Dick Young, 1984–87
  • Sam Jankovich, 1976–84
  • Ray Nagel, 1970–76
  • Stan Bates, 1954–1970
  • Golden Romney, 1951–1954, both AD and Dean of Physical Education
  • Robert Brumblay, 1949–50
  • Lloyd Bury, 1946–1949, AD/Graduate Manager
  • Earl Foster, 1925–1946, AD/Graduate Manager
  • J. Fred (Doc) Bohler, Director of Department of Physical Education and Athletics, 1915-1948[11]

Spirit and traditions Edit

Cougar mascot Edit

The first mascot was a terrier named "Squirt" as someone brought a pet dog to campus.[12] The mascot became the Indians during the decade spanning 1910-1919, known as "Carlisle Connection".[12] Three football coaches came from the famous Carlisle Indian College in Pennsylvania: Frank Shivley, William "Lone Star" Dietz and Gus Welch.

Following the first football game between WSU and California in 1919, an Oakland cartoonist portrayed the Washington State team as fierce Northwest cougars chasing the defeated Golden Bears. A few days later, on October 28, WSU students officially designated "Cougars" as their team mascot.

In 1927 during the Homecoming football game against the University of Idaho, Washington State Governor Roland H. Hartley presented a cougar cub to the WSU students. The cub was originally to be called "Governor Hartley," in honor of its donor. The governor gracefully declined and suggested the name "Butch," in honor of Herbert "Butch" Meeker of Spokane, who was WSU's gridiron football star at the time.[13]

Governor Clarence D. Martin presented Butch II to the student body in 1938. Butch III and IV were twin cubs presented by Governor Arthur B. Langlie in January 1942. Governor Langlie also presented Butch V in 1955. Butch VI, the last live mascot on campus, died in the summer of 1978. Governor Albert Rosellini had presented him to WSU in 1964 from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.[13]

Today, the mascot, named Butch T. Cougar, is a student wearing a cougar costume. The student playing the mascot is anonymous; the student's identity is only revealed after the last sporting event of the school year, usually the last home basketball game of the season.



The Cougar logo was developed in July 1936 by art student Randall Johnson (1915–2007), a graduate of Pullman High, while working as a summer sign painter on campus. Fred Rounds, the head of the buildings and grounds department, suggested to Johnson that Washington State College needed a trademark, and both agreed it needed to be pictoral and include the initials of the school, then WSC.[14]

After a few nights, Johnson came up with a design using the letters WSC to form a cougar head, and Rounds promptly took it to the administration for official approval. With the president on sabbatical, the acting president gave the nod and its first use was on the door of a campus truck. Johnson graduated in 1938 and went to work in Spokane, where he spent his career in advertising at the local electric utility. When the school became a university in 1959, he modified the mouth of the cougar to incorporate the new "U".[15]

Colors Edit

The first school colors were pink and blue, said to be chosen by the first WSU President when he was so in awe of the blue and pink sunsets of the Palouse. Research has not uncovered the exact date when the official colors changed, although Crimson and Gray are thought to have been the colors by 1916, when the then-WSC "Warriors" won the first annual Rose Bowl.[16]

Fight song Edit

Fight, fight, fight for Washington State,
Win the victory!
Win the day for Crimson and Gray,
Best in the West, we know you'll all do your best,
So on, on, on, on fight till the end,
Honor and glory you must win!
So fight, fight, fight for Washington State,
and victory!
W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N S-T-A-T-E C-O-U-G-S Go Cougs!


The ZZU CRU is the official student fan club for WSU Basketball. The $10 membership fee gives students an official club t-shirt, discount card that is good for 15% discounts at various local businesses, exclusive access to prime seating at games, contests, and exclusive member opportunities for player autographs. The lower section of the arena, where the ZZU CRU sits, is called The Cage. ZZU CRU members' events throughout the year include a Pre-Season Party, ZZU CRU @ the COUG, and a Post-Season Party. Members earn prizes based on the number of basketball games they attend. The attendance prizes for attending women's games are the best. At the end of the season, those with the best attendance get better prize packages, including clothing and sports equipment. The top 10 members are entered into a drawing to receive two basketball tickets to the Pac-12 Tournament. Currently, ZZU CRU has a count of 2,750 members for the 2008-2009 season. Members can be anyone from students to alumni, to visitors who just would like a shirt. The ZZU CRU was created by a 2005 Alumni during her time as an intern for Cougar Athletic Marketing. Her vision was to bring the deep Cougar Pride of the student body together to create a homecourt advantage in Beasley Coliseum.

Victory Bell Edit

In the late 19th century the bell was mounted on the ground in the center of campus to start and dismiss class. Later, it was placed on top of Old College Hall when automatic bells were used, and then on Bryan Hall. The bell was first rung in victory after WSU beat the Washington Huskies by the women's basketball team in 1902. Later, the members of the Intercollegiate Knights rang the bell following a football win. It was subsequently moved to the present College Hall, and now rests on the west side of the Alumni Centre where it is rung by the Student Alumni Ambassadors after each football win.

Presence on ESPN College GameDay Edit

The popular ESPN College GameDay program has, as of 2012, never been broadcast from WSU. An unofficial, but well organized effort to place the WSU flag in view of the GameDay cameras for every broadcast[17] has been acknowledged by the GameDay crew, but the show still has no plans to broadcast from Pullman until Washington State is relevant in college football.

The Cougar Cannon Edit

After every touchdown and Cougar win, the WSU ROTC Department fires a blank round from a "Pack-75" 75mm Towed Howitzer. The concussion from the celebratory blast is seen, heard and felt by everyone in and around Martin Stadium. The cannon is property of the Washington Army National Guard and on loan to the university in support of WSU Athletics and the WSU ROTC Department. The ROTC "Cannon Crew" is composed exclusively of ROTC Cadets who are also members of the Washington Army National Guard. The cannon was first brought to WSU in 1993 and was fired from a balcony atop the Compton Union Building (CUB) overlooking Martin Stadium until 2006. Following the 2006 season, due to the CUB remodel, the cannon was absent from WSU Football. The cannon returned for the 2010 and 2011 seasons and now fires from atop the newly remodeled WSU Library, also overlooking Martin Stadium. The Pack-75 Howitzer is of WWII vintage where it saw combat service with units of the Washington Army National Guard in both the Phillipeans and Guadal Canal.[18] Electronic Arts, a major video game studio, picked up on the tradition and features a blast from the cannon after Cougar touchdowns (home games) in its popular EA Sports NCAA Football series.


  1. Pac-10 Conference And The NCAA Championships
  2. Cougars, Doba face pivotal season Retrieved July 21, 2009
  3. 2002-03 Pacific-10 Football Season In Review
  4. Ken Bone Profile Retrieved July 21, 2009
  5. "A day to remember". Spokane Spokesman-Review. 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  6. Glen Kasses (2006-11-18). "Apple Cup never lacks for meaning". Spokane Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  7. "90th "Battle of the Palouse" plays out in Pullman". The Associated Press. 2007-09-15. Archived from the original on 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  8. 1916 Rose Bowl game
  9. Tom Benjey Time for WSU to claim 1915 national title, February 17, 2006
  10. The 1987 Appointment of Jim Livengood in WSU History by Decades
  11. John Frederick Bohler Biography
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Squirt". TicketNest. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Traditions". Washington State University Athletics. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  14. "Cougar logo creator dies at age 91". WSU News. February 22, 2007. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  15. "Trademarks: Cougar logo". Washington State University. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  16. "Colors". Collegeglobe. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  17. Hannelore Sudermann (2005-09-01). "How Coug Are You?". Washington State University. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  18. Josh Pflug, The Daily Evergreen, Vol 117, No 15 "The Touchdown Cannon Returns," September 10, 2010

External linksEdit


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