WSU Celebrates 20th Reunion Of 1981 Holiday Bowl Team

Sept. 6, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. - The setting was early September in Spokane. The Washington State football team was about to kickoff the season against Montana State in Joe Albi Stadium in what would turn out to be one of the most memorable gridiron seasons in Cougar history.

Following the season-opening victory over Montana State in Spokane, WSU went on to complete a historic 8-2-1 regular season that earned the Cougars their first bowl appearance in 51 years.

Now, 20 years later, members and coaches of the 1981 Cougar football team that met Brigham Young in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego will be honored at this year's WSU-Colorado football game Sept. 15. Sterling Savings Bank, WSU Athletics, the Cougar Athletic Foundation and the Gray W Club will host the anniversary reunion.

'It is appropriate to show our appreciation and pride in honoring this football team that opened the gates to bowl games for the Cougars,' offered WSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk. 'The 1981 team, coached by Jim Walden, showed the collegiate football world that WSU was back as a major player in bowl circles. That was a huge step for WSU and made a statement to players and fans alike.'

Team and staff members gathering for the anniversary will return to the WSU campus Friday, Sept. 14, for a tour of the renovated Bohler Gym and the four-year old Bohler Addition, then attend a barbecue on Rogers Field at 5:00 p.m. that is open to the public.

Fans wishing to attend the barbecue are urged to make reservations with the WSU Athletic Foundation, 509-335-0218, by Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 5:00 p.m. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-877-Im-A-Coug (1-877-462-2684). The cost of the 5:00-7:00 p.m. barbecue is $12.00 for adults and $7.00 for youth.

Also attending the Friday barbecue will be Sterk, Cougar head coach Mike Price, former All-American running back and current director of annual giving for WSU Athletics Rueben Mayes, and former NBA all-star James Donaldson.

Saturday the team will be honored at halftime of the WSU-Colorado football game, set to kick off at 12:30 p.m.

Among the coaching staff attending the reunion will be Walden, who now serves as the color commentator for WSU Football radio broadcasts. Three players from the 1981 team are currently associated with WSU, Clete Casper (Fox broadcaster), Milford Hodge (athletic academic counselor) and Mike Walker (assistant football coach).

Players who have indicated they plan to attend include:

Beasley, Mike (dl)
Blakeney, Lee (lb)
Bowens, Al (rb)
Casper, Clete (qb)
Davey, Tim (p)
Davis, Nathan (se)
Elisara, Mataio (ng)
Emmil, Ken (lb)
Emsky, Peter (ot)
Files, Jeff (cb)
Flager, Charlie (ot)
Gribble, Bill (cb)
Harris, Tim (rb)
Haub, Steve (cb)
Hodge, Milford (ng)
Killiam, Wade (lb)
Leland, Ward (pk)
Lynch, Pat (ng)
Martin, Mike (rb)
McKay, Mark (og)
Mitchell, Cameron (se)
Morris, Kevin (pk)
Olesen, Jaimie (te)
Patrick, Gary (og)
Pleis, Mark (lb)
Poppe, Jeff (se)
Pritchard, David (c)
Rutherford, Rod (cb)
Samuelson, Kirk (og)
Sebahar, Steve (c)
Shaw, Pete (ss)
Sloan, Kevin (ot)
Spencer, Tom (te)
Talley, Darren (fl)
Teague, Gary (fs)
Tipton, Rico (lb)
Treece, Rob (db)
Walker, Mike (dt)
West, John (ss)
White, Brent (lb)
Williams, Eric (dt)
Williams, Robert (fb)
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