Jeshua Anderson did it – he’s now the NCAA champion in the men’s 400m hurdles. This is huge news for the Cougar faithful and yet another confidence builder for Jeshua going into the Olympic Trials which take place in Eugene starting June 27th.
Pre-emptive Damage Control – Remember the Seattle Times’ massive expose on the Huskies’ last Rose Bowl team? Well, in an effort to be more fair and balanced, they may be out to do the same for the Cougars. The evidence is this e-mail from AD Jim Sterk that is making the rounds:
Dear Cougar Family,
First, let me apologize if any of you receive this email in duplicate. We have tried to hit as many Cougar supporters as possible with this and some of you may appear on duplicate lists.
The purpose of this email is to alert you to a Seattle Times story that is scheduled to appear either later this week or early next week. From our understanding the story is an in-depth look at the WSU football program, perhaps focusing on negative issues that have occurred over the past few years. My belief is they may combine the off-field incidents of some of our players with the recent APR news as the focus of the story.
I, along with the entire coaching staff and athletic administration, evaluate each and every incident involving our football program in a very serious manner. Although the attitude and behavior of our football student-athletes is not in a crisis situation, there is room for improvement. I believe Paul Wulff has put in place a process to positively impact the culture surrounding Cougar football and that change is already noticeable. While there are no quick fixes, the program is heading in the right direction.
I appreciate your continued support of Cougar Athletics and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue.
Director of Athletics
The fact that this e-mail came out says two things:
1. The Times told WSU about the article before it was even published, perhaps to allow such a response from Sterk
2. The article likely contains some damaging information about WSU athletic programs – most likely football.
The big question is, can the Seattle Times reveal anything we don’t already know? The APR mess has opened up all sorts of discussion already regarding academic issues and most disciplinary issues have already been covered in detail by a variety of sources.
Is it an appeal to the Washington fans that threatened to cancel their subscriptions after the Times tore apart their program under Neuheisal? Possibly. A newspaper is still a business, and an article or series of articles surrounding the Cougars might appeal to some of Seattle’s unhappy customers. Still, from a PR standpoint, this seems to come at an advantageous time for WSU, with the Sonics’ trial dominating local sports news in Seattle and the NBA draft coming up to give Cougar fans a chance to swell with pride over Weaver and Low.
There’s a new Cougar football commitment from linebaker Darren Markle – a position where depth is always welcome. It is the second verbal for Wulff’s class of 2009, with the first being DE Geoff Meinken from Lynnwood. Markle is highly touted as well. Scout.com has him as the 32nd ranked MLB in the nation and lists him as a 3-star player. A huge get for the Cougs and another early victory for Paul Wulff, who already seems to be outworking his predecessor on the recruiting trail.