During an association with the Washington State football program that started in 1977, Jim Walden established a foundation of competitive expectations that helped spur the success of contemporary Cougar teams. Walden’s 1981 Cougars broke a 51-year bowl drought, and with victories in three of his last five Apple Cup games against Washington, Walden finally leveled the field with WSU’s cross-state rivals. Walden’s teams beat every opponent in the Pac-10 Conference at least once, squaring off against powerhouses USC, UCLA, and Washington despite a deficit in resources that he once described as “having to fight battles every Saturday with a really short sword.” He kidded and sparred with coaches like Don James, John Robinson, and Terry Donahue, while ticking off a few others with his outspokenness. He offered his opinions so frequently and frankly that his university president had “The Walden Release” printed and ready as a disclaimer for the press: “The opinions of Coach Walden do not necessarily reflect the stance of the WSU administration.”
In Tales from the Washington State Cougars Sideline, the stories cover players and coaches alike, including Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson, the colorful “Lone Star” Dietz, Bill Doba, and many more. Walden reveals the effective strategies and the flubs and tells what really happened on the field and in the locker rooms. He also shares the ways he was able to coax prospects into coming to remote Pullman and what he was really screaming at officials all those times. Walden tells his stories the way he coached—all out and nothing held back, with wit and humor.
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