By Mason Kelley
Marques Tuiasosopo had a message for the parents of Washington’s football players. Washington’s interim head coach looked around Husky Stadium’s Club Husky and told the group that gathered for the program’s annual awards banquet they should “be really proud of your boys.”
As the Huskies navigate a tumultuous time, the former Husky quarterback wanted to make sure he let everyone know just how much he appreciated everything the players accomplished this season.
For two hours, the players, coaches, staff and their families celebrated the accomplishments of a successful season.
“This is a special night,” Tuiasosopo said. “It’s been a spectacular year, 8-4, and we’ve got one left. Even though we’re celebrating, the season isn’t over. I’d like to thank the families, the staff that is here and the coaches who have remained on through a trying time.”
When the families of Washington players arrived at Husky Stadium around 4 p.m., they were greeted by a buffet-style meal and suites set up honoring the players who received awards.
Freshman John Ross, who received the Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman Award, stood in one of the suites while a video of his 2013 highlights placed in the background and said, “I love this.”
After mingling for an hour, the seniors were introduced.
“This has been a humbling experience,” senior quarterback Keith Price said. “Some of the young guys, I was sitting back there not too long ago. Now I’m giving my final speech. Before the Apple Cup, I almost had tears in my eyes, looking at guys like Sean Parker, Jamaal Kearse, Greg Ducre, guys who have been here through the struggles, seeing the highs and the lows and seeing how the whole team has responded.”
Of all the awards given out Sunday evening, the Guy Flaherty Award was saved for last. The award gives the players a chance to cast votes for their most inspirational teammate.
It came as little surprise to those gathered in the room that the Huskies voted for Deontae Cooper, who has persevered through three knee surgeries.
“I’d like to thank my teammates, my training staff for helping me get back to where I am today,” said Cooper, who wore black sunglasses, a button-down black shirt and gray slacks. “I also want to thank my coaches and Husky Nation for the support.”
Before the event ended, Tuiasosopo reminded everyone gathered that there was still one more game to play, one more win to go after.
“From one Husky to another, I’m proud of you,” Tuiasosopo said. “But we’re not done. We’re going to go show the world, show the Pac-12, what the Huskies are all about.”