Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WSU Football Blog Exclusive: Kaddy Reports From the Columbia River Dinner

A HUGE hat-tip to our own Kaddy, who had the privilege of attending the Friday night Columbia River Cougar Club dinner. Among the attendees were both head coaches, Paul Wulff and rockstar-Tony Bennett. Read on for the full deal (great job Kaddy!):

The Columbia River Cougar Club dinner & auction has a history of being the single biggest annual fundraiser for WSU Athletics, and this year was no different. I had the privilege of attending this event for the third straight year, and it might have been the best one so far. Last year, the highlight of the evening came during the live auction, when honorary guest Drew Bledsoe was auctioned off to the higher bidder as a gold partner the following day. When his price tag reaced $6000, I didn't think anything could top that this year. Well, I was wrong.

This year, someone in the crowd paid $9,000 to golf with Bennett the next day. (That someone happens to be the same person that donated the $2.4 million scoreboard to Martin Stadium, and the same someone that financed the entire construction of our indoor practice facility.)

As you might have guessed, this year's highlight quickly turned into the Tony Bennett show, as he got the party started with a few comments to the crowd. The questions came up surrounding his decision to stay at WSU, naturally. Tony said he felt obligated to interview with LSU, since his wife was from there, but he had zero interest. He also told President Floyd that he wanted to stay at WSU, but ONLY if Jim Sterk was still there - more on that later. He even ended his time on stage with the punchline of a joke aimed squarely at Ty Willingham! This really warmed up the crowd for Paul Wulff, who spoke next. Wulff started out explaining how the APR system worked, and how the end-result is a little misleading. He pointedly stated that it was by no means a death sentence, and that he and his staff have already addressed it and moved on. You can tell how far CPW has come...he was very comfortable in front of the crowd. He brought all the coaches to the event, and lined them up on stage - Bruiser is still the shortest, but coach Todd Sturdy isn't much taller.

As usual, I got caught up in the Cougar love fest, and went home the proud owner of some nice Cougar memorabilia, including (but not limited to) a football helmet, an autographed Bledsoe jersey, and yes, a much lighter checkbook.

A note of interest: KJR's Ian Furness, the MC for the evening, went through a Q&A session with Jim Sterk on stage, and it quickly became apparent that Sterk is now a hot commodity amongst the Athletic Director community. Furness asked him straight up if he planned to stick around Pullman, since it was clear that he had suitors after him, and Sterk said he wasn’t going anywhere. I personally believe that we have one of the best AD’s around.

The Cougar Celebrity Classic was the next day, with somewhat crummy weather. I golfed with one of the Grad Assistants who works with the linebackers. He said that Cory Evans helps with all the other linebackers with their assignments....he's a really sharp kid. Stripling is the first substitute, and while he doesn't know many of the plays, he's such a great playmaker that he always seems to find the ball.

There were a couple of updated photos of the stadium remodel - the north side in particular (I don't believe you can see these anywhere else??):

(Editor note - let me just say, BEAUTIFUL renderings. That north side of the stadium is going to be something we can be proud of. I wish the interior shot would have included the new scoreboard rendering, but man, when this little stadium renovation is done, we are going to have a very cool, intimate, on-campus gameday experience that will be nothing but an asset to the university!)

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the organizer of the event, Todd Thrasher, who did a wonderful job. He was hung over as hell the next day at the golf course, but managed to keep a smile on his face in between trips to the can!

Last but not least, a picture of our table guests with the most handsome coach our wives have ever seen (note the positioning of the female guests in regards to coach handsome?).


Great job Kaddy!

21 comments:

kaddy said...

By the way, forgot to mention how well the dinner/auction/tournament did for WSU Athletics. Word is that it brought in over $150,000.

atlantacoug said...

Kadlec, I could take a sh*t, tell you that Ryan Leaf signed it, and you would buy it for $1000 and put it on your mantle.

You are a true Coug Supporter. Your wife must have been drunk or busy ogling Coach Handsome to have noticed what you were paying.

kaddy said...

She started drinking heavily when she realized I won the Bledsoe jersey...yes.

treynolds said...

Sedihawk please check your e-mail. You have some explaining to do.

treynolds said...

Sedihawk,never mind. I figured it out. No need to respond. I will do what needs to be done.

Hooty McBoob said...

Hey Atl, what's the probability on Kaddy making the missus wear that helmet and jersey the next time they knock boots?

Rooster said...

Hey Atl, what's the probability of Hooty's scenario PLUS he goes to work with hybrid finger pistols/shock-hers while belting out the "Pew Pew" battle cry. (Sorry everyone else for slipping in a private joke)

By the way Kaddy you are way sexier than coach TB.

Sedihawk said...

Treynolds....NO idea what you are talking about, but ok.

Roost, I think kaddy left "pew pew" behind....but you never know! We all have to do what we have to do to spice things up, right?

kaddy said...

You all make me sick.

BUSHDOCTOR said...

That is hilarious, remember all of this ATL coug? Oh wait, you were a double poop, nevermind.

'03CouveCoug said...

Well done on the write-up, Kaddy. I too was at the Columbia River Auction and I think you covered just about everything that went down. Unbeknownst to me, I met your wife and her friend shortly after my wife, my son and I got our picture taken with Coach McSteamy (as my wife calls him). Nice gals! I'm sure your better half will look great in the Bledsoe jersey.

At any rate, I wanted to share some of my experiences from the event, if anyone cares. I had the good fortune to sit with one of the coaches during dinner, and although he made it very clear that he wasn’t making excuses, it really seems like our kids have an uphill climb back to respectability. According to this coach, there was ZERO discipline, very little emphasis on fundamentals and quite a bit of in-fighting under the last regime. Hardly revelations, I know, but still pretty shocking to hear some of the specifics. The coach also said that we could be decent this season, but '09 and '10 could be pretty lean unless they're able to land some recruits that can help immediately. It was pretty discouraging information, to say the least.

On a brighter note, this coach was singing the praises of Gary Rogers. Said that he's very much like Drew Bledsoe (in terms of arm strength) and has better footwork and speed than many give him credit for. He also said that Rogers is quickly grasping the offense and working to improve his understanding daily. He sounded really impressed with the effort and results from Rogers thus far. Not surprisingly, there were also hints that this particular coach thought that Rogers should have been given more of a shot to compete for the starting job the last couple of years…thought I’d throw you a bone, Brinkhater.

Additionally, this coach said that we should expect big things from Mattingly at DE, and to not be surprised when the Pac-10 finds out he’s more than just a pass-rusher. He also had good things to say about the starting linebackers, although, if any one of them goes down for an extended period of time, the defense is in BIG trouble.

As for the secondary, if the technique improves, this coach felt pretty good about what they’ve got. He also mentioned that they moved Nwachukwu to safety because they liked Alfonso Jackson’s speed at the corner better. Giles made grades, so he’ll be the other corner. Mentioned also was how impressed the entire staff is with the two walk-on safeties (Myron Beck and Easton Johnson)…doesn’t sound like Hicks will be missed much during his suspension.

The most exciting news defensively is that we’re going to roll a safety up and play 8-in the box except on obvious passing downs. Basically, we’re going to dare teams to beat us deep, rather than letting them kill us slowly down the field as teams did for much of last season. Blitzing from all angles will become a staple of the defense…hooray! I also feel much better about leaving our corners on an island now that they’re being coached up by Chris Ball again.

Anyway, those were my takeaways from the event. I’ve been reading the blog for some time now, so keep up the good work guys!

Sedihawk said...

Welcome 03CouveCoug. Great recap too! You are more than welcome to contribute around here, any time.

I know that Sears mentioned right away at the Seattle dinner about the 8 in the box and stopping the run. I hope our secondary is up to the challenge, but I am with you. I prefer that approach over sitting back and getting picked apart, ala Booty and USC last year.

'03CouveCoug said...

Cool, thanks Sedihawk...you'll be hearing from me with a little more frequency.

Additionally, I'm with you, the USC game had me screaming at my TV last season...my wife finally told me to either calm down or leave the room! At least when we lose this year we know it won't be because of lack of effort or a passive scheme. Can't ask for much more than that, I suppose.

Happy Wednesday all.

longball said...

Dig the new banner!

I am currently attempting to fill the Cougar sports void in my life with a 5 dollar footlong. Thanks Kaddy and couvecoug, as far as filling the void goes your updates are both more satisfying and healthier.

I am also listening to Softy and Dick Fain complain about the difficulty of the Dawgs schedule and the lack of returning talent around Locker on Offense - all very good news to these ears. There is no music quite so sweet as listening to genuine dread in Softy's voice talking about the upcoming season.

Oh yeah, and it looks like Casto is in! The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...

Sedihawk said...

Enjoy that foot-long longball. Make mine turkey on wheat (and, yeah, hold the poisonous tomato).

There is a great vid of Casto over at the Stadium Way blog. Grady does a good job over there, even if nobody comments. I know he writes for Cougfan now too. We need to add him to our links.

Anyway, the vid starts off a little slow, but after about the 2-minute mark, WOW. He looked like a young Shawn Kemp in some of those jams, tip-jams and blocked shots. Seriously, seriously athletic and already has an NCAA body. I don't know what we can expect as a true frosh, but I sure like what I see.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise to see a picture of myself on this blog (next to Thrasher). Todd does a great job, and he has the best interns in the world! Glad you could go to that event and support the Cougs.

Michelle said...

sorry, I am not anonymous. I meant to put Michelle in the name box

Sedihawk said...

Hi Michelle. Are you the same Michelle we've seen here before as well as the SR blog? Whatever the case, kick Todd where the sun doesn't shine every once in a while. He needs a good beating every now and then.

millcreekcoug said...

Hey Michelle I know you.....well atleast I did back in the undergrad days.

Michelle said...

Yep, same Michelle...

Believe me, I've spent the last two weeks with Todd, I keep him in check!

Mill creek coug...can I get a first name a least!

glasdildo said...

Good JOb! :)