Happy Thursday to you, Followers! Hope your 4th of July was fantastic!
Today, we continue our Epic mini-series known as “Three Questions.”
In the event that you missed a previous installment in the series, you can find previous episodes, as well as future special guest stars in the space below (we think we might be adding another special guest star to the space below, so stay tuned!):
June 14th: Brock Huard
June 21st: Bob Condotta
June 28th: Ted Miller
July 5th: Howie Stalwick
July 12th: Cindy Brunson
July 19th: Brian Floyd
July 26th: Bruce Feldman
Today, our special guest star is the most venerably-excellent-Cougar-sports-journalist-in-the-whole-wide-world, Howie Stalwick. For today’s interview as well as a few token, incoherent ramblings, click on the old Jumpavegas. (read on)
Followers, ever since we started this series, people have been e-mailing me right and left wanting to know the criteria that we used to select our guests. And while sharing such a secret would require me to kill you, let me respond to this inquiry by addressing Mr. Stalwick.
You see, Followers, as I made a list of prospective candidates for this series, I wanted to make sure that two constituents of Cougar Nation were well represented. The first involved our great friends and Blog Forefathers at Cougfan.com
And the second constituency centered around the local press corps which covers the team. So, on top of being one heckuva nice guy and sportswriter, the inclusion of Mr. Stalwick was like killing two birds with one stone…
His father was a lighting manufacturer and a real estate agent. After getting expelled from his high school for impersonating a member of the school board and signing a construction contract to make an addition to his school, Howie became a carpet salesman who would later open a carpet sales business of his own. Later, he became a stand-up comedian at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto and by September 1978 had a week-long booking as featured act, billed as "a wild and crazy borderline psychotic." His repertoire included placing a latex glove over his head and inflating it by blowing through his nose…
Oh wait a second…that’s Howie Mandell’s biography…
Anyhow, Howie has been a really good friend of several members of our blog family for quite some time and has helped them out whenever he can.
And me? Well, ever since we served together in Nam, Howie has kind of used me as his personal whipping boy. I mean, nearly twice daily Howie promises to lead me to the waters of journalistic respectability…But, alas, unfortunately for me—AND FOR YOU—he’s never showed me how to drink from those waters. For instance, consider the way Mr. Stalwick ended our last e-mail correspondence:
“Thank God for people like you with low standards. I've been making a living off you folks for 40 years..”
Clearly, Howie, you have a few things to learn from me about professional groveling…
Anyhow, Victory Bell caught up with Howie recently at the Cougar Country fry-sauce dispenser and nailed down this week’s episode of Three Questions.
Victory Bell: Most people describe you as a “Free-Lance Journalist.” How does a Freelancer go about marketing their work to regional and national news outlets?
Howie Stalwick: In a word: Aggressively.
I’m a one-man operation, so I need to generate income from as many sources as possible.
My core group of employers are the daily newspapers in Tacoma (The News Tribune), Bremerton (Kitsap Sun) and Olympia (The Olympian), plus Cougfan.com, the WSU branch of Scout.com. The Columbian, the daily newspaper of Vancouver, Wash., and the Pacific Northwest Inlander, a large weekly newspaper that serves Eastern Washington and North Idaho, also use me quite a bit. I do occasional work for The Associated Press, but my obligations to other media usually prevent me from helping AP.
My primary focus is WSU football and men’s basketball, but I gladly cover other sports and schools (particularly Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball) when there is a demand and my WSU football and basketball beat duties permit.
Like most freelancers, I’m always looking to add occasional work for a website, magazine or out-of-town paper. For example, I recently covered the NCAA softball regionals in Seattle and a state high school softball tournament in Spokane. Last year, I covered hockey games in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the Stanley Cup finals. If I’m available, I always cover the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball regionals in Spokane.
Victory Bell: What do you like best -- and least -- about freelancing?
Howie Stalwick: I love the freedom of being my own boss, and knowing that it’s entirely up to me to get the job done. I set my own hours and can do a lot of work at home, so I’m able to see my family a lot more than I ever could during my long career as a sports writer/sports editor at a single daily paper.
Freelancing, which I’ve done for 10 years, is the best job I’ve ever had -- by far. My only major complaint would be the lack of employer benefits.
Also, reduced budgets, closures of some newspapers (the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and King County Journal daily papers were two of my employers) and rising travel costs have obviously put a dent in my wallet.
Honestly, though, how can I complain too much? I mean, for 40 years, I’ve been getting paid to watch sports for free from prime-time seats – usually with free food to boot – and then I get to interview really interesting, gifted, motivated people afterwards. I mean, it beats working for a living.
Victory Bell: Why do you think the Cougars failed to fulfill your prediction that they would go to a bowl in Paul Wulff’s third year (2010), and what do you expect out of the Cougars this year?
Howie Stalwick: No one could predict all the injuries that hit the 2010 team, which drastically reduced what little depth the team had. Also, I overestimated how much improvement some players would make that season.
This season, I’m on record predicting the Cougars will go to a bowl game. I’m totally sold on Mike Leach’s offense, which I believe will score enough points to win six or seven games IF Jeff Tuel stays healthy and IF the offensive line delivers. I expect the defense to be so-so at best. Look for special teams to be much improved.
The Cougars have some good athletes on defense, but not enough of them.
If injuries significantly impact the limited depth and experience at linebacker, that will pose major problems for a defense that is switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and placing a far greater emphasis on blitzing.
So, there you have it, your 4th of July week rendition of “Three Questions.”
Special thanks to Howie Stalwick for all of his great work covering Cougar sports and for being really supportive of our blog over the years! Hopefully, he’ll have the fortune of covering a winning football team for the first time in a while this fall...
We’ll be back next week with Sportcenter Anchor and WSU Alum Cindy Brunson.
Until then. Go Cougs!!!!
Where is @brianmfloyd on your Three Questions logo?!
@Soze @brianmfloyd Unfortunately we got Mr. Floyd to agree to three questions AFTER three questions was launched. Updating the logo/pic would require Sutra to go deep into the bowels of his palatial compound, in to the photoshop studio, and I just don't see that happening! :) But never fear, we'll be sure to have plenty of Brian Floyd on Brian Floyd 3-questions day.
Regarding this post and Howie's opinion of the 2011 team... I'm still amazed that people don't understand that injuries derailed the 2011 team (I'm looking at you @geoffoneil ). Of course, every single team has injuries every season, but those teams don't have Marshall Lobbestahl at QB. :)
If Jeff Tuel is our QB for 12 games, we go bowling in 2011. But that is in the past... onto 2012! Excited to see what Mike Leach brings to this team!
@Soze I don't discount the injuries last year at all. Doesn't change the fact that the Cougs were routinely out-coached in games last year, and our depth was bad because recruiting/retention was awful.
Blue Ribbon Preview is up on ESPN.com too: http://insider.espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/page/BlueRibbon-WashingtonState/washington-state-cougars
Nice story today from fellow team member, Adam. Way to go A-Train! http://sportspressnw.com/2012/07/cougars-football-stadium-remodel-nears-debut/
@Sutra Thank you Sutra. While my time here at WSUFootballBlog was much too brief, I'm still an avid reader and plan on getting rip-roaring drunk for the second consecutive year at the WSUFootballBlog tailgate extravaganza with LucasCoug.