Deron Pointer, circa 1993
FOR A GUY WHO provided Cougar fans with so many thrills, it’s ironic that he found a career in which he offers people safety, security and certainty. Deron Pointer, a “Curtis Connection” standard-bearer whose name still dots the Cougar record book for receiving and returning, is now with American Family Insurance.
“I chose the insurance route because it’s a good base for me and my family right now and it’s an opportunity to meet a lot of great people,” Pointer, 42, told CF.C in a recent interview near his home in Kent.
The right now part of that sentence isn’t a throwaway. Always thinking, the personable Pointer has contemplated getting back into football as a referee. And he knows full well what that entails because his dad Aaron was a Pac-10 referee for 10 seasons and an NFL head linesman for 16.
“It would be great to continue in my father’s legacy and become an NFL referee,” Pointer said. “It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to and something I know I can be passionate about.”
For now, however, family calls, he said. His priorities are with his wife Melissa and sons Marcus (9) and Jaden (2).
The Pointer File
Receiver and kickoff return specialist
Years in Crimson:
First-team all-Pac-10, 1993.
Still ranks in the WSU career top 10 for receiving yards (2,098), touchdowns (18), kickoff return yards (898), number of kickoff returns (38), and all-purpose yards (2,960).
Took a kickoff 98 yards for a TD in WSU’s 30-17 win over UCLA in 1992.
1992 Copper Bowl in Tucson. Cougs defeated Utah 31-28, with Deron catching five passes for 73 yards.
Deron is the nephew of The Pointer Sisters, the chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning singing group of the 1980s.
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His road to regular dad in the neighborhood was far from standard.
After assaulting the Cougar record books with the likes of Drew Bledsoe, C.J. Davis and Phillip Bobo, Pointer signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts in 1994. He didn’t stick and subsequent tryouts with the Chargers and Browns, as well as the Argonauts of the CFL, went the same way.
A year later, in 1995, he landed a spot with the Rhein Fire of the World Football League, the NFL’s version of the NBA’s development league. He caught 23 passes and averaged a glossy 17.2 yards per catch that season but no NFL clubs came calling with a contract.
So he headed in a different direction. He decided to pursue another sport he loved, and starred in, at Curtis High in Tacoma: baseball. The Cleveland Indians gave him a chance. “A variety of injuries at the worst times and taking a fastball to the ribs were enough for me to hang up my cleats,” he says.
He returned to WSU to finish his degree and graduated in 1998. Mike Price floated the notion of Pointer becoming a graduate assistant with the Cougs.
Healthy and still young, he decided to eschew the long hours and low pay of coaching for one last shot in the NFL, this time with the Broncos. It wasn’t meant to be.
Undaunted, and wanting an outlet for his love of sports, he turned to golf.
“You can’t get hit in golf and I was a natural because I had good hand-to-eye coordination from baseball,” Pointer says enthusiastically.
He became so good and so committed that he moved to Arizona to become a certified pro and went on to work as an assistant pro at courses in the Scottsdale area before returning to the Pacific Northwest.
Though he still golfs for fun, he hung up his pro spikes in 2007 to become a counselor for the state working with kids in juvenile detention centers before finding the ideal landing spot – insurance – for a personable guy with a young family counting on him.
As for the Cougs, Pointer is devout in the crimson faith. He periodically sends notes to Marquess Wilson and other WSU receivers wishing them well in upcoming games. Though with Wilson, Pointer jokes that the junior record-setter better leave one record standing: Pointer’s 19-year-old mark for most-receiving yards in a single game.
In 1993 against Arizona State, Pointer caught 10 passes for a whopping 255 yards, breaking Gail Cogdill’s 35-year-old WSU record for most receiving yards in one game. “Coach (Mike) Levenseller and (Mike) Price told me to get back in there because I was so close to the record and it caught me off-guard because we already had the game in hand,” remembers Pointer.
Between 1988-92, WSU landed a gold mine of talent out of Tacoma’s Curtis High School. In addition to Pointer, there was C.J. Davis, Jay Dumas, Torey Hunter and Singor Mobley. Thus the birth of the moniker "The Curtis Connection." (For an interesting look at the WSU careers of Hunter and Mobley, click to Legendary Posse still loves the game.)
“I wanted to go there (WSU) because it was the farthest away from home I could get while still being within a reasonable traveling distance. I didn’t want to be too close so my parents could show up for a surprise visit,” Pointer recalls.
POINTER WAS PART OF THE LEGENDARY SNOW BOWL -- THE 1992 APPLE CUP -- THAT HAS BECOME THE ICONIC IMAGE OF DREW BLEDSOE'S CAREER IN CRIMSON.