Pep-rally helps get football weekend underway
Eastern Washington University graduate and national ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd said the last time he remembers attending a football game at his alma mater, the crowd in front of him at last Friday night's pep rally at Spokane's Riverpark Square was larger.
While Cowherd was using some creative license in addressing the gathering in the mall's towering atrium, he is indeed correct that interest in Eagle football has improved immensely.
The several hundred people who got an early start getting revved up for last Saturday's FCS Showcase are proof.
A series of guests, which also included Spokane Mayor David Condon, new EWU President Mary Cullinan and head football coach Beau Baldwin, took their turns in front of the microphone. This was a warm-up to a roof-top reception that took place under sunny skies that took over from thunder, lightning and heavy rain in the morning.
Cowherd reminded the audience that things had certainly come a long way since he attended Eastern from 1982-86 and how football has done the same. He spoke of the innovative nature of the coaching and offenses that have come out of Big Sky Conference schools like Eastern. And how major Football Bowl Series schools love to latch on to what is hatched here.
Cullinan has officially been on the job at Eastern for just three weeks, but was properly attired in red when she remarked she hoped this was the reception that would greet her at all future outings.
Getting the crowd going with the "It's a great day to be an Eagle," line, Condon knew what it was like to be an Eagle, but from Boston College where he graduated in 1996. He thanked Cheney and Mayor Tom Trulove for sharing his team with Spokane.
Having ESPN come to Cheney to begin the 2014 football season, "Is proof of the good things the school is doing," Condon said. "Eastern is bringing recognition to the region."
Taking the stage to the biggest applause and cheers of the afternoon was Baldwin who quickly deadpanned the crowd by telling them with high national rankings, talk of national titles, and facing nemesis Sam Houston, "There was no pressure," facing coaches and the team. "If things don't go right (Saturday), we'll just blame Colin," Baldwin said with a laugh.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.