THE NON-STOP PIPELINE TO PULLMAN
ERIK COLEMAN
ERIK COLEMAN
Cougfan.com Executive Editor
Posted Apr 11, 2011


YOU’D FIGURE HE would be a slam dunk choice. The guy was a triple-threat star who not only was an all-conference performer during his time in crimson but had the school mascot named in his honor. Yet Herbert “Butch” Meeker, all 5-foot-4, 142 pounds of him, didn’t stand a chance when it came to picking the quarterback for CF.C’s team of the greatest Cougar footballers to come out of Spokane.

Mark Rypien, you see, was also an all-conference selection and record setter at WSU. And when it comes to football, there’s just no trumping a stellar Cougar career that's sandwiched by Parade All-American plaudits on one end, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl MVP honors on the other.

Rypien was and remains the most coveted recruit ever signed by WSU. He was the No. 1 high school QB prospect in the nation when he came out of Shadle Park in 1981. And he didn’t disappoint in Pullman. When he moved on to the NFL after the 1985 season he ranked in the top three in WSU history in every major passing category.


MARK RYPIEN: 'GOING TO DISNEYLAND!'

So Butch was passed over at QB on our All-Spokane Team. But we did find a spot for him on the first unit, as the offensive captain.

WSU is turning this week into a Spokane love fest, with an array of events in the Lilac City that will culminate Saturday with the annual Crimson & Gray Game at Joe Albi Stadium.

Picking the All-Spokane Team has been on CF.C’s to-do list for more than five years, so with all the hoopla centered around the city we figured it was time to get moving and turn years of conversation and debate into a definitive summary.

Sitting just 75 miles north of Pullman, Spokane is WSU’s home-away-from-home, and a rock-solid supplier of talent to the football team ever since the program was launched in 1894.

The list of Cougar luminaries who have come from Spokane is a long one that includes three who became first-team All-Americans: Harold Ahlskog, Dan Lynch and Jason Hanson.


JASON HANSON HAS SPENT TWO DECADES WITH THE DETROIT LIONS

Others in the long list of notables include an NFL Rookie of the Year (Gail Cogdill); an All-Pro safety who became and NFL head coach (Jerry Williams); and a linchpin (Erik Coleman) in the greatest-ever run of Cougar football – 30 victories between 2001-03.

Ahlskog, Lynch, Codgill and Coleman are four of the eight LC Tigers picked to the first team. And with another eight spots on the second team taken by Tigers, LC is by far the most prolific producer of great Cougars.

The Spokane pipeline is as strong today as it ever has been. A whopping eight current Cougars -- plus assistant coach Chris Tormey -- hail from Spokane. They are Aaron Dunn and Dan Spitz of Mead, Alex Gauper of LC, Connor Halliday, Elliott Bosch and Jared Karstetter of Ferris, Travis Long of G-Prep and Jake Rodgers of Shadle Park.

Karsetter was picked to the All-Spokane first team. Long was picked to the second team, though at the rate he's going, he’ll no doubt be on the first team if this exercise is undertaken again down the road.

Without further ado, we present CF.C’s salute to the very finest crimson talent to come out of the city that has been steadfast, for 117 years, in helping stock the roster at Ol’ Wazzu ...

THE WSU ALL-SPOKANE TEAM

Offense

QB Mark Rypien (at WSU from 1981-85), Shadle Park
Passed for nearly 5,000 yards in his WSU career and completed 53 percent of his passes. Earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors as a junior and second-team plaudits as a senior. Played in East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl before going on to a long NFL career. A member of the WSU Hall of Fame.

RB Larry Eilmes (1963-65), Rogers
A first-team All-Coast selection as a senior. Pounded out 600-plus tough yards for the 1965 “Cardiac Kids,” who bagged three Big Ten opponents – Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana - in a 7-3 season. Eclipsed legendary Keith Lincoln for most rushing yards in a career (1,597). Also set a single-game rushing mark with 194 yards against Villanova. Chosen for Hula Bowl and then played two seasons in the CFL.

RB Ted Rohwer (1926-28), North Central
Two-way standout on coach Babe Hollingbery’s first three teams at Washington State. Selected for East-West Shrine Game after helping lead Cougars to 7-3 record in 1928. Also played basketball and baseball for WSU. Dubbed by yearbook staff as “a scrapper from the first whistle.” WSU Hall of Fame member.


GAIL COGDILL

RB Dick “Rimrock” Hanley (1915-17, ‘20), North Central
Sixty-minute man on Lone Star Dietz’ three amazing teams that went 17-2-1 between 1915-17 and outscored opponents 497-38. The 1915 club was undefeated and won the first-ever Rose Bowl game, against Brown. He and his brother Roy, also a standout WSU footballer, left school to join the Marines in World War I and ended up playing ball under Dietz for the Mare Island Marines, which went undefeated in 1918 and earned a Rose Bowl berth. After the war, Hanley returned to Pullman to play his senior season. WSU Hall of Fame member. Played one season in NFL. Head coach at Northwestern, with 1930 club playing Notre Dame for national title.

WR Gail Cogdill (1957-59), Lewis and Clark
This Cougar and East-West Shrine Game record-holder went onto to become NFL Rookie of the Year and four-time Pro Bowler with the Lions. Caught 64 balls for 1,256 yards in Cougar career. His 252 receiving yards against Northwestern in 1958 set the NCAA single-game record and stood as the WSU single-game record for 40 years. His 22.8 yards per catch average that season stood atop the record books for 45 years. Played for Colts in 1969 Super Bowl. WSU Hall of Fame member.

WR Don Ellingsen (1956-58), Rogers
First-team all-conference and All-Coast and third-team All-American as a senior. In three seasons he caught 86 passes for 1,166 yards, returned 12 kickoff returns for a remarkable 336 yards, and 18 punts for 118 yards. As a senior, his 45 pass receptions were third-most in the nation. He teamed with quarterback Bob Newman and fellow receiver and Rogers High alum Jack Fanning to install WSU atop the conference in passing and scoring for three seasons. WSU Hall of Fame member, and son of Tuffy Ellingsen,star back from WSU’s 1931 Rose Bowl team.


JARED KARSTETTER

WR Jared Karstetter (2008-present), Ferris
The only active Cougar to make this list, though Travis Long came close. Karstetter, who will be a senior this coming season, has earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors the past two seasons after catching a collective 100 passes for 1,198 yards and 13 TDs. His most memorable catch, however, came as a true freshman in 2008 when he hauled in a 48-yarder from Kevin Lopina in the final minute of regulation to set up the game-tying field goal that sent the Apple Cup into overtime and, ultimately, sent the Cougars to victory lane.

OL Johnny Bley (1933-35), Lewis and Clark
The WSU team captain of 1935 was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball. So tough he once removed his pads and replaced them with sponges to increase his mobility. Played 407 out of a possible 420 minutes in WSC's seven major contests of ‘35. Also handled many of the placekicking duties for the Cougs. Named 1935 Walter Camp first-team All-West Coast (as selected by Grantland Rice) and chosen for 1935 East-West Shrine Game. Turned down professional offers from the Washington Redskins and Chicago Cardinals. . Joined Babe Hollingbery’s staff as a graduate assistant in 1936.

OL Chris Dyko (1986-88), University
This former linemate of Paul Wulff’s was instrumental in helping Steve Broussard and Rich Swinton each rush for more than 1,000 yards in 1988 Aloha Bowl season. No other RB tandem in Cougar history has done it. Played seven seasons in the NFL and CFL.

OL Ford Dunton (1920-22), North Central
Considered big at the time – 175 pounds – he was a devasting two-way tackle who was a first-team All-Coast selection and captain of the 1922 Cougars. Recipient of Bohler Award.


DAN LYNCH, AP ALL-AMERICAN, ON BOB HOPE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1984

OL Dan Lynch (1980-84), Lewis and Clark
Led way for Rueben Mayes as he shattered school and NCAA rushing records. First-team AP All-American, two-time All-Pac-10 pick, Morris Trophy winner, and three-time Pac-10 all-academic choice. Was drafted twice – by Jacksonville of the USFL in 1984 before he was awarded a fifth year of collegiate eligibility, and by the Denver Broncos in 1985. WSU Hall of Fame member.

C Cory Withrow (1994-97), Mead
A “Fat Five” mainstay on WSU’s first Rose Bowl team in 67 years. He started the last 34 games of his college career and was honored as second-team All-Pac-10 in 1997. Had a long career in the NFL.

K Jason Hanson (1988-91), Mead
The single-most decorated player in WSU history, earning first- or second-team All-America honors three successive seasons. Was a consensus choice in 1989. One of only five Cougars named first-team all-conference three straight years. Set NCAA record for longest field goal without a tee (62 yards) and most career treys from 50 yards or farther (18). Long-time Detroit Lions standout. WSU Hall of Fame member.

RS Jerry Williams (1946-48), North Central
A three-way standout for the Cougars, playing halfback, defensive back and returning kicks. In 1948, he was on the field for 497 of a possible 600 minutes of playing time and collected more than 1,500 all-purpose yards. An All-Coast selection who still ranks in WSU’s career top five for punt returns and total return yards. Would go on to become an All-Pro safety with the Los Angeles Rams before embarking on a stellar coaching career in the NFL and CFL. WSU Hall of Fame member.

CAPT. Herbert “Butch” Meeker (1923-25), Lewis and Clark
First-team all-conference quarterback. Cougar mascot Butch named in his honor. The 1925 game at USC, a 17-12 WSC victory, sealed his legend. An LA newspaper called Meeker a “shining light” as he ran, passed, kicked a field goal, returned kicks and played stellar defense. Played professionally with the NFL’s Providence Steamrollers. WSU Hall of Fame member.

Defense


CHRIS RUMBURG

CAPT. Chris Rumburg (1935-37), West Valley
Two-way standout, playing linebacker and center. Captain of the 1937 Cougars and student body president as well. Also a champion wrestler at WSU. Cited posthumously for heroism in World War II for helping others, despite his own wounds, into lifeboats after their troop transport was torpedoed en route to the Battle of the Bulge. He drowned before he could save himself.

DL Harold Ahlskog (1928-30), Lewis and Clark
First-team All-American on coach Babe Hollingbery’s legendary 1930 Cougar squad that went 9-0 in the regular season and earned a trip to the 1931 Rose Bowl against Alabama. His linemates included fellow All-Americans Mel Hein and Turk Edwards. WSU Hall of Fame member.

DL George Yarno (1975-78), Ferris
A three-year starter and two-time UPI All-Coast pick, he concluded his Cougar career ranked fifth on the school’s career tackles list with 232. Starred in WSU’s huge upset of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1977. Played 11 seasons in the NFL and two in the USFL as an offensive lineman. Served two stints as a WSU assistant coach under Mike Price.

DL Shane Doyle (1994-97), Shadle Park
Mainstay end on the Cougars’ 1997 Pac-10 championship team that came with two seconds of knocking off national champion Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Also started as a sophomore and junior.


JEREMEY WILLIAMS

DL Jeremey Williams (2000-2003), Ferris
One of the most prized prep prospects in the West in 1999, he chose to follow footsteps of his dad Wallace to Pullman. Formed run-stopping dynamic duo with Outland Trophy winner Rien Long in 2002 and with Tai Tupai in 2003. One of only five players in conference history to be named to the first unit of the All-Academic team four times.

LB Steve Gleason (1996-99), Gonzaga Prep
A three-year starter and mainstay on the 1997 championship team. Concluded crimson career ranked No. 10 on career tackles list with 282 stops, and No. 10 for most primary tackles in a single season (86). Named second-team All-Pac-10 twice and honorable mention once. Played seven seasons at safety for the New Orleans Saints.

LB Scott Mullennix (1974-75), Shadle Park
Overcame a broken leg as a sophomore to become a starter as a junior and senior for Jim Sweeney. Turned heads at USC in ’75 with 12 total tackles – nine of them solo and four of those worthy of the ESPN highlight show. Son Matt played defensive end for the Cougs from 2004-08.

LB Skip Pixley (1954-55), North Central
A two-way standout for three seasons, playing linebacker and center. Named honorable mention All-Coast as a senior. Childhood idol was Cougar and NFL legend Mel Hein. Earned eight varisty letters at WSU, three in football, three in wrestling and two in track. Drafted by Packers but opted to pursue military flying career instead.

DB Erik Coleman (2000-03), Lewis and Clark
Three-year starter during the winningest stretch of football ever played on the Palouse. His seven career interceptions ranks among the top three in Cougar history. His 10 tackles, two interceptions, two near-interceptions, two forced fumbles and one recoverd fumble against UCLA in 2003 earned him national and Pac-10 defensive player of the week honors. Voted first-team all-Pac-10 as a senior and honorable mention All-America. Was also an honorable mention all-conference choice in 2002 after leading the Pac-10 champions in tackles (86). Also a stellar return man. Last year named by CF.C as WSU's defensive player of the decade. Still going strong in the NFL.


BILL GASKINS OF THE CARDIAC KIDS

DB Bill Gaskins (1963-65), Lewis and Clark
One of the legendary “Cardiac Kids” who led WSU to one comeback win after another in 1965. Earned all-conference, All-Coast and second-team All-America honors at safety that season. His 92-yard kickoff return against Idaho in 1963 was, at the time, the longest such sprint to paydirt by a Cougar in the modern era. WSU Hall of Fame member and long-time Pac-10 football official.

DB Bud Roffler (1949-51), Lewis and Clark
Widely considered the greatest all-around prep athlete from Spokane until Mark Rypien and Ryne Sandberg came along. Was a multi-purpose whiz for the Cougars – he kicked, punted, passed, ran, caught and played big-time defense. Still ranks among school’s career interception leaders. His 132 rushing yards against Washington in 1951 led Cougars to a dramatic 27-25 victory and a 7-3 record for the year. Played in East-West Shrine Game and for one season with the Philadelphia Eagles before career cut short by injuries sustained in auto accident.

DB Jerry Williams (1946-48), North Central
See summary above. And for additional perspective on his legend, click to this 1999 story by Jim Price, Jerry Williams: Star Cougar, pro innnovator .

P Tim Davey (1978-81), Gonzaga Prep
Four-year starter for Jim Walden, averaging more than 41 yards per kick. Ranks in WSU top five for career punts and punting yards. A former prep QB, he tossed a 58-yard TD pass from punt formation against UCLA in 1978. Part of 1981 Holiday Bowl team that broke Cougars’ 51-year bowl drought. Named second-team all-Pac-10 once and honorable mention twice. Also named honorable mention All-Coast as a senior.

THE WSU ALL-SPOKANE SECOND TEAM:

Offense
QB Butch Meeker (1923-25), Lewis and Clark

CHARLES HARRIS

RB Bud Roffler (1949-51), Lewis and Clark
RB Ted Gerela (1965-67), Gonzaga Prep
RB Chuck Beckel ( 1952-54), Gonzaga Prep
WR Bevan Maxey (1975-79), Lewis and Clark
WR Jack Fanning(1956-58), Rogers
WR Mike Peterson (1981-82), University
OL Jerry Sage (1936-37), North Central
OL Hank Bendix (1967-69) Shadle Park
OL Charlie Flager (1980-83), Mead
OL Lyle Maskell (1928-30), Lewis and Clark
OL Charles Harris (2003-06), Mead
C Jack “Brick” Graham (1926-28), North Central
RS Bud Roffler (1949-51), Lewis and Clark
ST Ron Hawkins (1988-90), Gonzaga Prep
K Joe Danelo (1972-74), Gonzaga Prep

Defense
DL Travis Long (2009-present), Gonzaga Prep

TRAVIS LONG

DL Pat Lynch (1979-83), Lewis and Clark
DL Daryl Zanck (1972-73), Ferris
DL Don Olsen (1972-73), Rogers
DL Terry Anderson (1975-77), Gonzaga Prep
DL/LB Andy Mattingly (2006-09), Mead
LB Bob Leslie (1969-71), Lewis and Clark
LB Raleigh Fletcher (1977-78), Lewis & Clark
LB Roy Hanley (1916-17), North Central
LB Forrest "Coop" Curry (1926-28), North Central
LB Stan Colburn (1926-28) North Central
DB Frank Akins (1939-41), Rogers
DB Terry Campbell (1952-53), Rogers
DB Phil Mast (1956-58), Rogers
DB Don Turner (2003-06 ), University
DB Ryan Kensok (2005-07), Gonzaga Prep
ST Bob Gregory (1984-86), Gonzaga Prep
P Jason Hansen (1988-91), Mead


NOTABLE SPOKANE COUGAR NOTES:

  • WSU Athletics is hosting a series of events in Spokane this week that will be culminated with the Crimson & Gray Game at Albi Stadium on Saturday. CLICK HERE for the complete run down of events.

  • The Strongest Man Award that WSU coaches present each year at the season-ending team banquet is named in honor of Tim Petek, a Cougar defensive lineman of the mid 1980s. This Gonzaga Prep graduate died of cancer before his senior season at WSU.

  • One of the most fateful TD catches in WSU history was made by Spokane receiver Mike Peterson of University High. He caught a six-yarder from Clete Casper at the start of the second half to pull the Cougs within three and swing the momentum of the 1982 Apple Cup to the Cougs. In the greatest upset in the series , WSU won, preventing the Dawgs from going to the Rose Bowl, and turning the rivalry into the bitter affair it remains today.

  • No discussion of Spokane and Cougar athletics would be complete without a salute to the legendary sports writer Harry Missildine. Head to the CF.C archives for Sports writing with a Missil: pithy, concise.

  • If you enjoy the Missildine story, you also may get a kick out of this 2001 Cougfan.com column headlined Where have you gone Joe Danelo?

  • Speaking of Danelo, stayed tuned later this week for a feature story on all the great kicking legs Spokane has sent to WSU over the years.

  • Special thanks in researching and selecting the All-Spokane Team go to George Witter, who has been following the Cougars since the 1920s, Stan Witter, a fan since the mid-1930s, CF.C managing editor emeritus John Witter, a Cougar partisan since the win over Oregon in 1971, and walking WSU encyclopedia Steve Witter, who turned crimson in the early 1960s. In addition, Dick Fry's book The Crimson and the Gray: 100 Years with the WSU Cougars was invaluable in this undertaking.


    STEVE GLEASON (CIRCA 1998) ILLUSTRATES THE WRECKLESS ABANDON HE PLAYED WITH AT WSU AND IN THE NFL.



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