NCAAF Washington State Cougars

General Information

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • Location: Pullman, Washington
  • Stadium: Martin Stadium


  • National Titles: 1
  • Conference Championships: 4
  • Division Titles: 1
  • Bowl Record: 8-10

Past Conferences

  • Independent (1894-1916, 1959-1961)
  • Pacific Coast (19-17-1958)
  • Pac 12 (Since 1962)

Washington State Cougars Football History

The Washington State football team played its inaugural season in 1894 under head coach William Goodyear. They went undefeated for the first time in 1915. They beat Brown in the Rose Bowl and crowned themselves as National Champions. The Cougars joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1917.

O.E. Hollingbery coached the Cougars from 1926-1942. They finished with a winning record every season under Hollingbery. The Cougars posted an undefeated home record from 1926-1935 under Hollingbery. The 1929 season was perhaps their best under Hollingbery. They finished with a 10-2 record and an invite to play in the Rose Bowl. It was their first 10-win season in program history. He finished his career at Washington State with a 93–53–14 overall record. He has the most wins in program history.

The Cougars didn’t put up back-to-back winning seasons again until 1957 under head coach Forest Evashevski. Fevashevski began coaching the Cougars in 1949. He led the Cougars to an 11-6-2 overall record in his short stint. Unfortunately for the Cougars, he left after the 1950 season to become the head coach at Iowa.

Jim Sutherland was named head coach in 1956. He led the Cougars to three straight winning seasons from 1957-1959. The Cougars went 37–39–4 in eight seasons under Sutherland.

Bert Clark served a four-year stint from 1964-1967 before Jim Sweeney was named head coach in 1968. The Cougars put up just one winning season during Sweeney’s eight-year stint. In 1974 they put up a 7-4 season and were ranked as high as 19th in the AP Poll. He resigned after the 1975 season.

Jim Walden became head coach in 1978. After three straight losing seasons out the gate, Walden led the Cougars to an 8-3-1 record in 1981. Walden was named Pac-10 coach of the year. They were invited to play in the Holiday Bowl. It was their first bowl game in 40 seasons. They lost a close game to BYU. The Cougars would finish 7-4 in 1983 and Walden was named Pac-10 coach of the year again. Walden left Washington State for Iowa State after the ‘86 season. He finished with a 44–52–4 overall record and an 0-1 bowl record.

Dennis Erickson coached the Cougars for the ‘87 and ‘88 seasons. After a 3-7-1 record in 1987, Erickson led the Cougars to a 9-3 record in 1988. They finished 3rd in the Pac-10 and beat Houston in the Aloha Bowl. It was their first bowl win since the 1916 season. Erickson departed to become the University of Miami FL after the 1988 season.

Mike Price began coaching the Cougars in 1989. Price remains one of the best coaches in Washington State history. He led the Cougars to six winning seasons with the first one coming in his first season. After two underwhelming seasons in 1990 and 1991, the Cougars broke through in 1992. The Cougars finished with a 9-3 record and beat Utah in the Copper Bowl. In 1994, the Cougars finished with an 8-4 overall record and won the Alamo Bowl. The Cougars had one of their best seasons in program history in 1997. Quarterback Ryan Leaf led the team to a 10-2 record and a Pac-10 Championship. They finished in the top 10 of the AP and Coaches Poll. They earned a trip to the Rose Bowl but lost to Michigan. Leaf was selected as the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Price led the Cougars to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, they went on to win the Sun Bowl. 2002 was perhaps the best season in school history. They finished with a 10-3 record and lost the Rose Bowl. However, they were ranked third in the AP Poll, which was the highest they‘ve ever been ranked in program history. Price left for Alabama after the 2002 season. He finished at Washington State with an 83-78 overall record.

Bill Doba coached the Cougars from 2003-2007. He led the Cougars to a 10-3 record and a Holiday Bowl win in his first season. Unfortunately, he didn’t lead them to another winning season during his stint.

Paul Wulff coached the Cougars from 2008-2011. He led the Cougars to a 9-40 overall record.

Legendary coach Mike Leach coached the Cougars from 2012-2019. After three middling seasons, Leach led them to four straight winning seasons. In 2015, we finished with a 9-4 record and notched a win in the Sun Bowl. Leach was named co-Pac-12 Coach of the Year. In 2016 and 2017 the Cougars put up a 17-9 combined record. Unfortunately, they lost the Holiday Bowl in both seasons. In 2018, quarterback Gardner Minshew led the Cougars to a program-best 11-2 record. They won the Pac-12 North division and earned a trip to the Alamo Bowl. They went on to beat Iowa State 28-26. After a loss in the 2019 Cheez-It Bowl, Leach left for Mississippi State.

Jake Dickert took over in 2021. After putting up a 3-3 record in 2021, the Cougars put up a 7-6 record.

All Time Records

Passing Yards

  • Luke Falk: 14,481
  • Connor Halliday: 11,308
  • Alex Brink: 10,913
  • Jason Gesser: 8,830
  • Jack Thompson: 7,818

Rushing Yards

  • Rueben Mayes: 3,519
  • Steve Broussard: 3,054
  • Shaumbe Wright-Fair: 2,939
  • Tim Harris: 2,814
  • Jerome Harrison: 2,800

Receiving Yards

  • Gabe Marks: 3,453
  • Marquess Wilson: 3,207
  • Dom Williams: 2,889
  • Brandon Gibson: 2,756
  • Jason Hill: 2,704

What is the highest win total in program history?

In 2018, the Cougars won 11 games while only losing twice under legendary coach Mike Leach. They finished second in their division with a 7-2 conference record. They capped the magical season off with a 28-26 victory over Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.

What was the worst season in program history?

The 2009 Cougars finished with a 1-11 overall record and a 0-9 conference record under head coach Paul Wulff. They averaged just 12 points per game while giving up more than 35 per contest.

How many total bowl games have the Cougars appeared in?

The Cougars have played in 18 bowl games. They made five straight bowl games from 2015-2019.
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