Jim Walden Joins Bob Robertson

Jan. 6, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. -- - Jim Walden, who guided the Washington State University Cougars to the 1981 Holiday Bowl in the school's first post-season appearance in 51 years, and later coached at Iowa State, will join veteran Cougar announcer Bob Robertson in the radio booth next fall.

Jim Walden
WSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk, in conjunction with Learfield Communications' Cougar Sports Properties General Manager Steve Gowan, made the announcement today. Walden will replace former Cougar player Scott Pelluer, who has returned to the coaching profession at the University of Arizona. Learfield Communications owns the rights to Cougar radio broadcasts.

'Bringing Jim Walden and Bob Robertson together is the perfect fit for Cougar football broadcasts,' offered Sterk. 'Jim Walden was my first choice. He has great knowledge of the game and love for the Cougars, our fans and alumni. I can't tell you how excited I am he has agreed to return to WSU in this capacity.'

'We (Cougar Sports Properties) are extremely excited to have Jim Walden joining our Cougar Sports Radio Network team,' Gowan commented. 'In addition, we are confident that Cougar fans will find his on-air presentation both entertaining and insightful.'

Since ending his coaching career after Iowa State's 1994 season, Walden has been behind the microphone. He currently serves as color commentator for the Iowa Barnstormers' arena football team and has been co-host of a weekly call-in show, 'Two Guys Named Jim,' which airs each fall in Des Moines, Iowa.

Walden also produced and hosted a weekly Big 12 Conference highlight and preview show, 'First and 12 - Football Time,' and is a regular in the fall on the call-in show 'Sound Off.' The popular speaker also has produced and hosted 'The Jim Walden Good Sport Show' since 1995.

'I am honored the people thought enough of me to offer me this opportunity,' Walden said from his home in Des Moines, Iowa. 'To work with Bob Robertson is a special thrill for me because I've always thought he is the best. I would say the same thing about Bob as (baseball pitcher) Dizzy Dean once said about himself. 'If he's not the best in the business, he's in the top two. I hope we make Cougar football broadcasts fun for all the people listening.'

During his Cougar tenure his teams defeated every team in the Pacific-10 Conference at least once and took WSU to the 1981 Holiday Bowl, the school's first bowl appearance since the 1931 Rose Bowl. Walden's 44 victories at WSU were the second most in school history when he departed for Iowa State after the 1986 season. He currently ranks third in all-time wins at WSU behind Babe Hollingbery's 93 victories and 63 by current Cougar coach Mike Price.

'I am excited to have Jim joining the broadcast team and working with Bob Robertson,' Price said. 'I may have to tape the broadcasts now and listen to his anecdotes. I don't know if they could have picked a better person. It is another example of Jim Sterk linking the traditions of Cougar pasts to the present. Jim Walden is experienced, knowledgeable, witty, and a Cougar.'

Walden's verbal prowess was perhaps best defined by long-time Washington head coach Don James, who once said prior to a mid-1980's Apple Cup game he was a 'one-thousand word underdog to Jim Walden.'

In 1999 Walden received the lifetime achievement award from the All-America Football Foundation and last fall was inducted into the Itawamba Community College Athletic Hall of Fame. The Aberdeen, Mississippi, native earned All-America honors at Itawamba CC in 1957, then went on to quarterback the Wyoming Cowboys for two seasons, 1959 and 1960, under the tutelage of Bob Devaney

After a four-year playing career in the Canadian Football League with the British Columbia Lions and Calgary Stampeders, Walden entered the coaching ranks in 1964 at Amory High in Mississippi. He also was the school's athletic director.

In 1969 Walden received a call from Devaney, who had taken over the Nebraska program. Following four highly successful seasons with the Cornhuskers, Walden spent four years as a member of the Miami Hurricane staff, including two seasons as the defensive coordinator.

When Warren Powers was named WSU's head football coach in 1977, Powers picked Walden to be his offensive backfield coach. A year later when Powers left WSU for Missouri, Walden was named the Cougars' head coach.

While at Iowa State, Walden's Cyclones defeated each Big 8 opponent except Colorado at least once and twice finished in the top half of the league standings, their only top four finishes in more than 20 years.

Comments on Walden's addition to the Cougar broadcast crew:

Cougar Broadcaster Bob Robertson: 'It is a great package. Nobody knows the game better than Jim and he has such great passion for football and especially for the Cougars. We should have a fun time as a team. He is a real human being. There is nothing phony about Jim, he's the same 24 hours a day. That's Jim Walden.' [Robertson, who lives in Tacoma, has been the voice of Cougar football for 34 years.]

Cougar Assistant Coach Mike Walker: 'Jim Walden has an awesome presence. He lights up a room. He was very inspirational for me, a real motivator. It is great seeing him back in Cougarville.' [Walker was recruited by Walden out of junior college and played two seasons for the Cougars, 1979 and 1981, the last as a member of WSU's Holiday Bowl team.]

Cougar Assistant Mike Levenseller: 'Once a Coug, Always a Coug. It will be a pleasure to have Jim back with us.' [Levenseller's senior season as a wide receiver in 1977 was Walden's first year at WSU, serving as the Cougar backfield coach while tutoring Jack Thompson.]

Cougar All-American Jack Thompson: 'Jim Walden is the perfect guy. That is a great addition. I'm grateful to him. He was the fourth coach I had and we needed stability, which he provided. He was good to his word and he did a great job as WSU's football coach. [Thompson, who still holds the WSU career passing record, was tutored by Walden as a junior and senior in 1977 and 1978. Thompson currently works in Seattle for the Java Trading Company.]

Long-time Cougar Booster Jim Lowery: 'All right. That's great. When he was named our coach, I was so worried Walden was going to leave after one year like Jackie Sherrill and Warren Powers, but (wife) Janice Walden assured me they would stay. It was a great nine years and I'm delighted he is coming back. Walden and Robertson will be a great Cougar team. I may start taking my radio to the games just to listen to them. [Lowery is a CPA in Pullman, past president of the Pullman Cougar Club, and a life-long Cougar booster.]

Cougar All-American Running Back and Cougar Athletic Foundation Director Rueben Mayes: 'That is exciting. I don't think they could have found a better person who represents Cougar Football with enthusiasm. He will be a voice to connect the past with the future. I loved Jim. He was a great coach and a great mentor for me. He taught me a lot about life after football.' [Mayes, recruited by Walden from North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1982, holds the WSU single season (1,632 yards) and career (3,519) rushing records and set an NCAA record with 357 yards rushing against Oregon in 1984.]

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