SPORTS MASTERY • Some of us have been around long enough to remember when Mark Rypien led Washington to a Super Bowl victory and was named Most Valuable Player. It was 30 years ago. Now the Inland Northwest can claim another. And claiming it is.
• We can guarantee we were working on January 26, 1992. We don’t know exactly what we did, although we do know that it had something to do with the graphical presentation. It was our job at the time.
Today, 30 years later – within a few days – here we are again. This time we write about Cooper Kupp, the Yakima product that blossomed at Eastern Washington University. And our words about Kupp and his accomplishments are available on the internet, something that was not available at all in Rypien’s time.
The same goes for thousands of other words. Jim Allen’s story of Disneyland, where the MVP and his family made the required visit. Article by editor Rob Curley on this tradition and how Kupp’s family played in this highlight. Dave Cook, who was director of sports information at Eastern Washington when Kupp played there, explains his importance to the university — and vice versa.
All of this on top of what was written Sunday as the Rams, riding Kupp, edged past the Bengals to win 23-20. At home in Southern California.
We don’t know how many words have been written about Rypien’s efforts. The Super Bowl was not in a nice hot city. Minneapolis was the host and there were featured Olympic skaters at halftime. Try it in LA
But Rypien was Spokane. Completely. Shadle Park High. Washington State University. Family and friends all over town. Its importance to the community was well documented in these pages. Heck, the Chronicle was still in print at the time, and Dave Boling’s Rypien story — live from Minneapolis — was on the front page that Monday.
And get this. Rypien’s photo on the cover of the Chronicle that day showed him holding his daughter Amber. The more things change, the more the core values stay the same.
And here we are. Thirty years later. Another Super Bowl MVP with local ties celebrating in the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth. The wheel of time keeps turning.
• Washington State’s big hopes in the NCAA have taken a few hits recently. Cougar men continually put themselves in position to climb the NET rankings, then stumble when other opportunities present themselves.
Earlier this month, WSU ended a five-game conference winning streak with a 68-64 win at California. It was a struggle, sure, but the win put him 14-7 overall and 7-3 in the Pac-12, firmly in the top half of a confusing conference run.
The big stage beckoned. And the Cougars stumbled out of the backstage. A home factory against Arizona is one thing – UA is ranked third and deserves it – but losing back-to-back games to Arizona State (by three at home) and Oregon (by three on the road Monday night ) are different.
Both were there to be had. And the two slipped away.
NCAA odds? They also slip away. This weekend, the Cougars are in Los Angeles to face No. 13 UCLA (Thursday) and No. 17 (USC). A win in either game would stop the tailspin. And polish the CV.
After that, there are only two games left with Washington, two with Oregon State, and one regular season-ending game with Oregon before the Pac-12 tournament.
It’s time for Washington State to step up.
Gonzaga: After a short stint out of first place, the Bulldogs returned to the top of the standings yesterday. Jim Meehan covers their rise to No. 1 with this piece. … Is Sean Farnham the #1 Davenport Hotel fan? Yes. Is it Gonzaga’s basketball? No. But he sees things he likes in both. Justin Reed has more in this story. … Jim, John Blanchette and Richard Fox are back with another Zag Basketball Insiders Podcast. … Around the COE, Portland’s Tyler Robertson, an EWU transfer, earned Player of the Week honors after a triple-double. … Alex Barcello does everything for BYU.
WSU: We mentioned last night’s loss to Eugene above. We link the Associated Press story here. And some stories from Oregon. …Charlisse Leger-Walker is a finalist for the top prize in women’s varsity hoop. This news leads to our local memoir column. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college basketball, Washington’s problems were exhibited by Arizona. … Another three-game road trip is an opportunity for Colorado. … Arizona take advantage of the same opportunity. … Stanford keeps rolling on the women’s side of the conference. … In football news, who has the conference’s best proven depth at quarterback? Not WSU, that’s for sure. … Colorado has a new offensive line coach. … An old Arizona State staffer, embroiled in his troubles with the NCAA, returns to the NFL. …Will anyone earn the starting quarterback spot at Oregon during spring training?
EU: Oriental women welcomed Montana on Reese Court and sent him home with a loss. …Around the Great Sky, state of montana picked up a football transfer from the Air Force. … Weber State’s new offensive coordinator is supposed to “let it rip”. … In basketball news, Northern Colorado turned up the heat and beat Southern Utah 100-95.
Seahawks: The Super Bowl was good and anything but games before it were better.
Kraken: Toronto came to Seattle and rolled over the Kraken 6-2.
• High School Basketball State Playoffs are always interesting. Especially when they involve a long car journey. Add to that having to cross state lines for the game and it gets even more interesting. And strange. Welcome to the prep hoops in 2022. See you later…