A University of Washington man is a man for only one season—the monsoon season. His entire collegiate life is geared to rain. The song most often heard at the 5 o'clock chimes concert is Singing in the Rain Washington is the only university offering an undergraduate degree in oceanography. The campus centerpiece is a large, splashy fountain (above). The men's "spirit group" is ironically titled the Sun Dodgers. And the best-observed campus tradition decrees that students becoming engaged or pinned be routed out of bed during sound sleep and heaved into Frosh Pond.
Until a year ago, Frosh Pond was also used for a mammoth freshman-sophomore tug-of-war with the rope stretched across the pond. That tradition admirably epitomized Washington: it was big, it was muscular and it was wet.
Washington is enormous. Ninety buildings spread out over 640 acres in an architectural smorgasbord of French renaissance, Gothic, Neo-Gothic and contemporary enclose 23,000 students, 3,500 faculty and 4,500 staff. That makes the university the second largest employer in the state and gives it a population larger than all but 11 Washington cities, not counting 5,000 additional fully credited night-class Huskies.
Nor is the nickname "Huskies" a misnomer. The ultimate status symbol at Washington is a gash across the bridge of the nose, like the gashes Coach Jim Owens' football players have. A secondary symbol, incidentally, is a T shirt India-ink-stained by the athletic department laundry mark. Fraternity types who balk at self-mutilation have been known to buy their own ink and stain their own T shirts.
This toughness cult may date to early Washington Coach Gilmour Dobie, who won 58 games, lost zero, tied three and acquired innumerable enemies doing so. Prominent Seattle citizens, among them the mayor, actually used to line Denny Field and throw rocks at the impervious Dobie. Later cult adherents made their teams run everywhere they went (even to brush their teeth in the morning) and sleep outdoors in winter.
Dobie's ranting perfectionism produced a novel cluster of stars: line-battering Halfback Melville Mucklestone, the Waukesha Welshman; eight-time letterman Quarterback "Wee" Coyle; and "Mother" Hunt, virtually the only player to receive a Dobie compliment. "Hunt," said the sour Scot in a flush of unwonted affection, "I wouldn't take you out if both your legs were broken." Even when the master martinet was fired in 1916 because President Henry Suzzallo felt he and his university were being overshadowed by Dobie and his football team, the coach's winning style survived. Enoch Bagshaw put Washington into the Rose Bowl in 1924 and 1926 with the Huskies' first All-America, George Wilson, now coach of the Detroit Lions. Later came tough, cocky Jimmy Phelan, whose gaudy 12 years featured one Rose Bowl and unceasing rows with the administration. He once frankly admitted, "I'd rather battle the Upper Campus than beat Oregon State." Current Coach Jim Owens has actually improved on the old superlatives of discipline and victory after coming in to clean up a singularly slimy scandal. Fired Coach Johnny Cherberg's charge that Washington players were not only paid to play (which was routine) but bribed to demand their coach's resignation nearly resulted in de-emphasis of football. With Owens has come harmony, three more Rose Bowl trips and 44 wins (against 25 defeats). In 1964 that record should get even better.
In 1963 the Washington Huskies were supposedly a year away from conspicuous success, but they wound up in the Rose Bowl anyway. Now they return, even stronger than they were last season. Fullback Junior Coffey, probable All-America, has recovered from the mysterious broken bones in his feet. Big Charlie Browning was so successful as the injured Coffey's replacement that a popular song was written about him—First Downing Charlie Browning—and was played constantly by Seattle disc jockeys. Now Charlie joins Junior in the same backfield. At the other half is Ron Medved, a burly, shifty, lacerating ballcarrier who gives Coach Owens' team a three-gun running attack. In reserve is Steve Bramwell, dazzling on kickoff returns. If quarterback Bill Douglas—an excellent runner and an even better passer—can surmount nerve damage to his knee, the Huskies will have, by their own admission, an unstoppable offense. In the line, All-America Rick Redman diagnoses plays, bats down passes and generally constitutes a one-man uprising, but Center Fred Forsberg and Guard Mike Otis are also sturdy linebackers. Other hubs of a fearsome seven-spoke defense are Guard Koll Hagen and Tackles Jerry Knoll and Jim Norton. Add to this lineup the Purple People Eaters (purple-jerseyed defensive platooners), 11 good transfers, substantial sophomore succor and you have the reasons Washington should play in its fourth Rose Bowl in six years.
"This is a team of mystery to me," says Coach John McKay of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Then he proves his point by leaving a blank at fullback on his post-spring practice lineup. Southern Cal is the only prospective nationally ranked team planning to play a blank at fullback. McKay has an explanation (follow this closely): "We moved our first fullback, Eddie King, to defensive end, but he broke his wrist. Our second most experienced fullback, Ernie Pye, he's now our right linebacker. Our only other experienced fullback is Tom Lupo. He's actually a converted quarterback, but we needed another defensive back and so that's Tom Lupo." The only mystery about the Mystery Team is how McKay can be forced to move that much proven fullback to defense to make room for a slasher like Ron Heller (247 yards last year) and still worry about the position. Or, conversely, how he can replace End Hal Bedsole, Halfback Willie Brown, Quarterback Pete Beathard and Guard Damon Bame, All-Americas all, without noticeable shock symptoms. The answer, briefly, is a perpetual revolving fund of half backs like Mike Garrett (seventh nationally with 833 yards rushing) and sophomore starter Ray Cahill, two-way ends like John Thomas and Fred Hill, tough guards like Bill Fisk and Mac Byrd and quarterbacks such as sophomore Rod Sherman and Craig Fertig. USC is going to be very hard to beat.