August 4, 1999
Upcoming Schedule: Washington's freshman players will report to the University Aug. 15 and hold practices Aug. 16-18. The varsity players report Aug. 18. Washington will relocate to The Evergreen State College in Olympia to hold two-a-day practices from Aug. 19 to Aug. 28. The Huskies will return to Seattle on Aug. 28 and resume practice Aug. 30 following an off-day. Washington's annual Picture Day will be held at Husky Stadium on Sept. 4 at noon.
Media Events: A pair of press conferences are slated for the first week of Husky football practice. The annual freshman press luncheon will take place Aug. 16 at noon at the Conibear Shellhouse. The annual preseason press luncheon will be held Thursday, Aug. 19, at noon, at The Evergreen State College.
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel: Rick Neuheisel accepted the position of head football coach on Jan. 9. He is the 23rd coach in the program's history and only the fourth Husky head coach in the past 42 years. Washington is the second head coaching position for the 38-year-old. From 1995-98 Neuheisel guided Colorado to a 33-14 (.702) record that included a 3-0 mark in postseason bowl games. Neuheisel worked for six years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UCLA, before joining Bill McCartney's Colorado staff in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach. Originally a walkon at UCLA, Neuheisel won the starting quarterback position as a senior and led the Bruins to the 1983 Pac-10 Championship. He was named the MVP of the 1984 Rose Bowl that saw UCLA defeat Illinois 45-9. Washington fans remember Neuheisel's memorable performance in Husky Stadium when he completed 25 of 27 passes (including 18 straight at one point) to set an NCAA record that has since been broken. Neuheisel still holds the Bruins' single-season (69.3) and career (68.3) completion percentage records.
The Coaching Staff: Experience abounds amongst Washington's nine assistant coaches. Eight of the nine coaches have been a coordinator on the collegiate level and two, Keith Gilbertson and Steve Axman, have been head coaches. Gilbertson guided the Idaho program from 1986-88 and was the head coach at California from 1992-95. Axman was the head coach at Northern Arizona from 1990-97. Most of the current staff have a previous coaching connection with Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel. Offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell was the offensive coordinator at Colorado from 1995-88. He was also a teammate of Neuheisel's at UCLA, catching two touchdown passes from him during the Bruins' 1984 Rose Bowl victory against Illinois. Defensive coordinator Tim Hundley coached defensive tackles at Colorado from 1996-98 and was a member of the UCLA staff from 1990-95. UW quarterbacks coach Steve Axman was the offensive coordinator at UCLA from 1987-88. Safeties coach Bobby Hauck was at Colorado from 1995-98 and coached with Neuheisel at UCLA from 1990-92. Cornerbacks coach Chuck Heater was a member of the Colorado staff from 1993-98. Running backs coach Wayne Moses coached with Neuheisel at UCLA while he was the Bruins' running backs coach from 1990-95. Heater is the only coach on the Washington staff who has not coached or played in the Pac-10 Conference prior to this season.
Breaking From Tradition: For just the second time in nine years, Washington will not open the season against a Pac-10 opponent. Last year's season opener at Arizona State marked the third time in four years that the Huskies and Sun Devils opened the season against each other. This year the Huskies will not face a Pac-10 opponent until Oregon visits Husky Stadium on Oct. 2. This year's schedule marks only the second time during the decade of the '90s the Huskies will have played all three non-conference foes before beginning the Pac-10 schedule.
Last Out of the Blocks: Washington's season opener at BYU on Sept. 9 means the Huskies will be the last Pac-10 team to begin play this season. Washington is the only league school that will play all of its regular season games in a row with no bye week scheduled during the year.
TV Schedule: Several of Washington's games have already been selected for television this season. The Huskies' season opener at BYU will be televised by ESPN. Washington's home opener vs. Air Force has been moved to 3:30 p.m. to accommodate Fox Sports Net. The Huskies' Oct. 2 home game with Oregon will be televised by Fox Sports Net. It will mark only the fourth night game in Husky Stadium history. Washington's matchup with Arizona State on Oct. 16 at Husky Stadium will be broadcast by ABC Sports. Additional games are expected to be televised and will be announced either 12 or six days prior to kickoff.
The Night Game: Washington's Oct. 2 home game against Oregon will mark only the fourth night game in Husky Stadium history. The game was moved to 7:15 p.m. PT to accommodate a national television broadcast by Fox Sports Net. Washington's previous night games were against Oklahoma State (1985), Nebraska (1992) and Arizona (1998).
The Opponents: Washington will face six opponents this year who appeared in bowl games last year. That includes a rematch with Air Force from last season's inaugural Jeep O'ahu Bowl in Honolulu (AFA won 45-25). The Huskies' opponents combined for a 80-51 (.611) record last season. In the Pac-10 scheduling format, the Huskies will not play USC this season or in 2000. Stanford returns to Washington's schedule after a two-year absence.
The Breakdown: Washington has 47 returning lettermen from its 1998 team. The Huskies lost 20 lettermen from last year's squad. The Huskies return five starters on offense and eight on defense plus both kickers. Washington's preseason two-deep includes 19 players who are either sophomores or redshirt freshmen.
Let There Be Lights: Thanks to a $750,000 gift from Fox Sports Net, Husky Stadium was outfitted with permanent television quality lights this summer. In the past, television networks had to rent temporary lighting systems for late afternoon or evening broadcasts. Husky Stadium did feature a basic lighting system that could be used for practices or non-televised events. Washington is one of five Pac-10 schools Fox Sports Net is working with to improve their stadium lighting systems.
No Longer on Roster: Washington is without three players who were on the team's spring roster. Sophomore tailback Jabari Johnson (Tempe, AZ) and redshirt freshman tailback Andrae Perry (Fontana, CA) have both left the program. Junior offensive guard Zach McCall (Tacoma, WA) will not return for fall camp due to chronic knee problems. He is still enrolled at the University. All three players were expected to compete for backup roles this year.
The New Veteran: While sophomore center Brian Combs is a relative newcomer to the Husky roster - he joined the team last spring after transferring to Washington from Bellevue Community College - he has already drawn a great deal of attention. Combs is several years older than most of his teammates. In fact, his birthdate of Aug. 19, 1972, makes him the fifth oldest Division I player in the nation. Combs got a late start on attending college after serving five years in the Marine Corps, including two tours of duty in Somalia. Here's a look at the five oldest Division I players:
Name School Birthdate Obligation Rick Slater Penn State 8/8/69 Navy SEAL Chris Lane Nevada 4/8/70 Marine Corps Chris Weinke Florida State 7/31/72 Minor League Baseball Kenney Ketchen Pittsburgh 8/8/72 Brian Combs Washington 8/19/72 Marine Corps Jeremiah Danielson Akron 8/28/72 Navy, Presidential Honor Guard
Milestone Ahead: Washington's next victory will be the 600th in the history of the program. The Huskies enter the 1999 season sporting an all-time record of 599-331-50 (.638). The Huskies have a chance to become the 16th Division I program to reach the 600-win plateau. Auburn (596 wins) and Texas A&M (594) are the next closest teams.
A Rare Opportunity: First-year Husky coach Rick Neuheisel could become the first Division I coach to guide two programs to their 600th all-time victory. Neuheisel's first win as Washington's head coach will be the 600th all-time victory for the school. Last season he was the head coach at Colorado when the Buffaloes recorded their 600th win in a game against Iowa State.
First-Year Results: Here's a look at what some recent UW football coaches did in their first season with the Huskies:
Coach Year Record League Bowl Jim Lambright 1993 7-4 5-3 Ineligible Don James 1975 6-5 5-2 None Jim Owens 1957 3-6-1 3-4 None Darrell Royal 1956 5-5 4-4 None John Cherberg 1953 3-6-1 2-4-1 None Howard Odell 1948 2-7-1 2-5-1 None Ralph Welch 1942 4-3-3 3-3-2 None James Phelan 1930 5-4 3-4 None Enoch Bagshaw 1921 3-4-1 0-3-1 None Gil Dobie 1908 6-0-1 na None
Numerology: If you are into numbers you may find it fascinating that the Huskies will open their final season of the millennium on 9-9-99 at Brigham Young.
Hot Ticket: Just how big is Washington's home game with Colorado on Sept. 25, when first-year Husky coach Rick Neuheisel faces his old team? This summer Neuheisel worked the 15th annual Celebrity Waiters Luncheon and Auction in Seattle to raise money to fund a leukemia research fellow. At the fundraiser he offered up a package that included attending the pregame talk with the team, running down the tunnel at Husky Stadium during the team entrance and sideline guest passes. The winning bid was $30,000.
Back From the Injury List: Several players, questionable due to injuries last year, will be back in the Husky lineup this fall. Junior offensive guard Dominic Daste will compete for a starting position at offensive guard after suffering a left leg contusion during spring drills. Backup tailback Maurice Shaw will also return to active duty after missing most of last season and all spring due to back surgery. Odell George (torn knee ligament vs. Oregon State) is expected back this fall after missing spring drills. Patrick Reddick (knee surgery to remove cysts) is also making progress during rehab and return to play this year.