|Washington State Cougars football|
|Athletic director||John Johnson (interim)|
|Head coach||Mike Leach
6th season, 35–34 (.507)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Pac-12 (since 1962)|
|Division||North (since 2011)|
|Past conferences||Independent (1894–1915)
|All-time record||503–527–45 (.489)|
|Bowl record||7–5 (.583)|
|Conference titles||4 (1917, 1930, 1997, 2002)|
|Rivalries||Washington Huskies (rivalry)
Idaho Vandals (rivalry)
|Colors||Crimson and Gray
|Fight song||Washington State University Fight Song|
|Mascot||Butch T. Cougar|
|Marching band||Cougar Marching Band|
The Washington State Cougars football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Washington State University, located in the U.S. state of Washington. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the FBS and is a member of the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12). Known as the Cougars, the first football team was fielded in 1894.
The Cougars play home games on campus at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, which opened in 1972; the site dates back to 1892 when it was called Soldier Field. Its present seating capacity is 33,522. Their main rivals are the Washington Huskies. The Cougars and Huskies historically end each regular season with the Apple Cup rivalry game in late November. They are currently coached by Mike Leach.
William Henry Dietz was the Cougars' head football coach from 1915–1917, posting a stellar 17–2–1 record. Dietz's 1915 team defeated Brown in the Rose Bowl, and finished with a 7–0 record. Dietz was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2012.
Babe Hollingbery was the Cougars' head football coach for 17 seasons, posting a 93–53–14 record. His 93 wins are the most by any head football coach in Washington State football history. Hollingbery's 1930 team played in the 1931 Rose Bowl, a game they lost to Alabama. The Cougars didn't lose a single home game from 1926–1935. Among the Cougar greats Holingbery coached were Mel Hein, Turk Edwards and Mel Dressel. The Holingbery Fieldhouse that serves many of Washington State's athletics teams, was named in his honor in 1963. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1979.
The Cougars did not field a football team from 1943 to 1944 because of World War II. After the war ended, Phil Sarboe was hired away from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, to return to his alma mater as the head football coach. Sarboe's Cougars posted a 17–26–3 record in his five seasons.
Forest Evashevski took over the Cougars football program as the head coach in late 1949. His 1951 team finished the season ranked #14 in the Coaches' Poll and #18 in the AP Poll. He posted an 11–6–2 record in his two seasons before leaving to take the Iowa head football coach position. Evashevski was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2000.
Al Kircher, an assistant on Evashevski's staff, was promoted to head coach following Evashevski's departure. Kircher didn't enjoy as much success as his predecessor, going 13–25–2 in his four seasons as head coach. He was not retained after his contract expired.
Bert Clark served as Washington State's head football coach for four seasons, posting a record of 15–24–1. His best season was 1965, when the Cougars went 7–3 and defeated three Big Ten teams on the road. That season was Clark's only winning season, as he failed to win more than three games in his other seasons. Clark was not retained after the end of his fourth season.
Jim Sweeney served as the Cougars head football coach for eight seasons. His final record was 26–59–1. Sweeney's best season was 1972, when the Cougars finished 7–4. That was his only winning season. Sweeney was let go after the 1975 season.
Jackie Sherrill was Washington State's head coach for one season. His team posted a 3–8 record. Sherrill departed after that one season to accept the head football coach position at Pittsburgh.
Jim Walden was promoted to head coach following the departure of Powers. Walden led the Cougars to one bowl appearance, the 1981 Holiday Bowl, a game they lost to BYU. That bowl appearance was Washington State's first in 51 years. Walden won Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1981 and 1983. Walden's final record at Washington State was 44–52–4. Players coached by Walden at Washington State include Jack Thompson, Kerry Porter, Rueben Mayes, Ricy Turner, Ricky Reynolds, Paul Sorensen, Brian Forde, Lee Blakeney, Mark Rypien, Dan Lynch, Pat Beach, Keith Millard, Erik Howard, and Cedrick Brown. Walden left after the 1986 season to accept the head football coach position at Iowa State.
When he was named Washington State's head football coach on January 7, 1987, Dennis Erickson said it was his lifelong dream to become the head football coach of the Cougars. His contract he signed in 1987 was a five-year deal at an annual base salary of $70,000, with up to $30,000 from radio, television, and speaking obligations.
Erickson's Cougars posted a 3–7–1 record in his first season but improved to a 9–3 record in 1988, capped with a victory in the Aloha Bowl, the Cougars' first bowl victory since 1916. Although stating publicly a week earlier that he would not leave Washington State, Erickson accepted the head football coach position at Miami in March 1989, leaving the Cougars after two seasons and a 12–10–1 overall record.
Mike Price came to Washington State from Weber State. Price led the Cougars to unprecedented success, taking his 1997 and 2002 teams to the Rose Bowl, both times losing. The 1997 team was led by star quarterback Ryan Leaf, who would be the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Those teams finished ranked #9 and #10 in the Coaches' and AP Polls, respectively. Price also led the Cougars to victories in the Copper Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and the Sun Bowl. Price's record at Washington State is 83–78. It was during the 2002 season that Washington State received its highest ranking ever in the modern era within the AP Polls at #3. Price resigned following the 2002 season to accept the head football coach position at Alabama, but was fired before ever coaching a game for the Crimson Tide due to an off-the-field incident.
Bill Doba was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach following Price's departure. Things started out well for Doba's Cougars, as they went 10–3 in Doba's first year to finish ranked #9 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls. But, things went downhill. The Cougars slipped to 5–6 in 2004, and posted a 4–7 record in 2005. A 6–6 2006 season followed, and after finishing the 2007 season 5–7, Doba was fired. He finished with a 30–28 record.
Paul Wulff was hired away from Eastern Washington to replace the fired Bill Doba. Wulff struggled mightily as the Cougars head football coach, failing to win more than four games in a single season. His final record at Washington State is 9–40, the lowest winning percentage (.184) of any head coach in Washington State football history. Wulff was fired after the 2011 season.
In November 2011, it was announced that Mike Leach would replace Wulff as head coach. Leach had previously spent 10 seasons as head coach at Texas Tech University. In 2012, Mike Leach's first season, the new coaching staff installed an Air raid offense; an exciting, up-tempo, pass-oriented offensive attack which led the Pac-12 Conference in passing offense. In his second season, Leach led Washington State to the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the first bowl game for the Cougars in a decade. Leach received a 2-year contract extension on November 18, 2013 after leading the Washington State Cougars to their best record since 2006.
In 2015, Mike Leach guided the Washington State Cougars to their first bowl victory since the 2003 season. In that same year, the team also posted a 9–4 winning season and was ranked in the AP Poll, Coach's Poll, and College Football Playoff ranking. Mike Leach was named the Pac-12's co-Coach of the Year as well as the Associated Press Pac-12 Coach of the Year. After the season, Washington State again extended coach Mike Leach's contract, this time through the 2020 season.
|Season||Conference||Coach||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|1917||Pacific Coast Conference||William Henry Dietz||3–0||6–0–1|
|1930||Pacific Coast Conference||O.E. Hollingbery||6–1||9–1|
|1997†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–2|
|2002†||Pacific-10 Conference||Mike Price||7–1||10–3|
Note: † Denotes co-championship.
|Year||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State|
Note: † Denotes unanimous selection in addition to consensus selection.
Four players and two coaches from the Washington State Cougars football program have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
|Year Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State|
Two former Washington State football players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|Year Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State||NFL Team(s)||Years with NFL Team(s)|
|1963||Mel Hein||C||1927–1931||New York Giants||1931–1945|
|1969||Turk Edwards||T||1929–1931||Washington Redskins||1932–1940|
Four former Washington State football players have been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
|Year Inducted||Player||POS||Seasons at Washington State||CFL Team(s)||Years with CFL Team(s)|
|1975||Byron Bailey||RB||1949–1951||B.C. Lions||1954–1964|
|1979||George Reed||RB||1959–1962||Saskatchewan Roughriders||1963–1975|
|1991||Brian Kelly||WR, Coach||1975–1977||Edmonton Eskimos||1979–1987|
|2000||Hugh Campbell||WR, Coach, Executive||1959–1962||Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders||1964–2006|
Washington State University currently has two retired numbers bestowed upon their players.
|Player||No.||Seasons at Washington State|
Five Washington State football head coaches have received the annual award a total of seven times as the conference's Coach of the Year.
Note: † Denotes a shared honor.
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|1896||David A. Brodie||1||2–0–1||1.000|
|1900, 1902||William L. Allen||2||6–3–1||.650|
|1903||James N. Ashmore||1||3–3–2||.500|
|1906–1907, 1912–1914||John R. Bender||5||21–12||.636|
|1915–1917||William Henry Dietz||3||17–2–1||.875|
|1943–1944||World War II – no teams|
|Totals||33 coaches||117 seasons||511–528–45||.492|
|Mike Leach||Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator||5th|
|Jim Mastro||Running Backs||5th|
|JaMarcus Shephard||Inside Receivers||1st|
|Dave Nichol||Outside Receivers||1st|
|Clay McGuire||Offensive Line||5th|
|Jeff Phelps||Defensive Line||1st|
|Alex Grinch||Defensive Coordinator/Secondary||2nd|
|Roy Manning||Outside Linebackers||2nd|
|Eric Mele||Special Teams||2nd|
|Dave Emerick||Chief of Staff||5th|
|Antonio Huffman||Director of Football Operations||5th|
|Jason Loscalzo||Strength and Conditioning||5th|
|Chase Holbrook||Offensive Quality Control||1st|
|Brian Odom||Defensive Quality Control||2nd|
Washington State has made 12 bowl appearances, and has a bowl record of 7–5. The Cougars have played in the Rose Bowl four times (1 win, 3 losses), the Holiday Bowl twice (1 win, 1 loss), the Sun Bowl twice (2 wins), one Aloha Bowl (1 win), one Copper Bowl (1 win), one Alamo Bowl (1 win), and one New Mexico Bowl (1 loss).
|#||Bowl||Score[A 2]||Date||Season[A 3]||Opponent[A 4]||Stadium||Location||Attendance||Head coach|
|1||Rose Bowl||W 14–0||January 1, 1916||1915||Brown Bruins||Tournament Park||Pasadena||7,000||Dietz, William HenryWilliam Henry Dietz|
|2||Rose Bowl||L 24–0||January 1, 1931||1930||Alabama Crimson Tide||Rose Bowl||Pasadena||60,000||Hollingbery, BabeBabe Hollingbery|
|3||Holiday Bowl||L 38–36||December 30, 1981||1980||BYU Cougars||Jack Murphy Stadium[A 5]||San Diego||52,419||Walden, JimJim Walden|
|4||Aloha Bowl||W 24–22||December 25, 1988||1988||Houston Cougars||Aloha Stadium||Honolulu||35,132||Erickson, DennisDennis Erickson|
|5||Copper Bowl||W 31–28||December 29, 1992||1992||Utah Utes||Arizona Stadium||Tucson||40,876||Price, MikeMike Price|
|6||Alamo Bowl||W 10–3||December 31, 1994||1994||Baylor Bears||Alamodome||San Antonio||44,106||Price, MikeMike Price|
|7||Rose Bowl||L 21–16||January 1, 1998||1997||Michigan Wolverines||Rose Bowl||Pasadena||100,635||Price, MikeMike Price|
|8||Sun Bowl||W 33–27||December 31, 2001||2001||Purdue Boilermakers||Sun Bowl||El Paso||47,812||Price, MikeMike Price|
|9||Rose Bowl||L 34–14||January 1, 2003||2002||Oklahoma Sooners||Rose Bowl||Pasadena||86,848||Price, MikeMike Price|
|10||Holiday Bowl||W 28–20||December 30, 2003||2003||Texas Longhorns||Qualcomm Stadium[A 5]||San Diego||61,102||Doba, BillBill Doba|
|11||New Mexico Bowl||L 48–45||December 21, 2013||2013||Colorado State Rams||University Stadium||Albuquerque||27,104||Leach, MikeMike Leach|
|12||Sun Bowl||W 20-14||December 26, 2015||2015||Miami Hurricanes||Sun Bowl Stadium||El Paso||41,180||Leach, MikeMike Leach|
|13||Holiday Bowl||L 17–12||December 27, 2016||2016||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Qualcomm Stadium||San Diego||48,704||Leach, MikeMike Leach|
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Announced schedules as of June 6, 2017.
|vs Montana State||at Wyoming||vs Northern Colorado||at Utah State||vs Utah State||at Wisconsin||vs Wisconsin|
|vs Boise State||vs San Jose State||at Houston||vs Houston|
|vs Nevada||vs Eastern Washington||vs BYU||vs Idaho|
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