Husky Stadium: Memories from the stadium by the lakeNovember 4th, 2011 by cstark
They’re going to take a wrecking ball to Husky Stadium next week and begin work on a $2o0 million rennovation. The track will be removed and the stands will be moved closer to the field. Suites will be added and it will still have a similar look — the view of Lake Washington to the east will be retained.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he’s “excited for the sledgehammer to come,” and get the project started in this Associated Press story.
The Husky Stadium we know has been a big part of a lot of lives. What are your favorite memories?
Here’s a few of mine:
Sept. 17, 1966: Washington beat Idaho 19-7. This was my baptism to Husky football. I was an eighth grader, living in Shelton. My family moved from Montana the previous year so I didn’t have any ties to the Huskies or any sports teams in the state. Bob Turner’s family (I can’t remember his parents’ names) were kind enough to invite the new kid to the game. I have vivid memories of walking through the campus after we had parked. It was the first time I’d been on the UW campus, too, and that was pretty cool taking in some of the buildings and atmosphere. I think we sat in the west end zone for the game, but what I remember most about the game was massive Idaho fullback Ray McDonald, who would go on to lead the nation in rushing that year with 1,329 yards and become a first-team All-American. He was 6-4, 248 pounds and ran a 9.9-second 100-yard dash.
The 67-68-69 seasons: My family moved to Bremerton in the winter of 1966 and the next fall I was catching the ferry, along with a bunch of my buddies, and hopping on a bus to go to Husky games. We didn’t make ‘em all, but we always bought the end zone seats at the Lake Washington side of the stadium. I think they were $5. Great view, especially when the action was close to our end zone. The games weren’t all that memorable, but the team’s weren’t very good: 5-5 in 1967, 3-5-1 in ’68 and 1-9 in ’69.
1970 season: I was a senior at West Bremerton and had the good fortune of going to all of the Husky games with my high school football coach, Chuck Semancik. High school coaches and players from all over the Puget Sound would crowd into a classroom in the athletic department building before the game and it was a treat watching Semancik interact with the Husky assistants. They knew him well, and respected him. Bo Cornell, a fullback, was the main offensive threat, that year. This was a year before Sonny Sixkiller would emerge and the Huskies started flinging the ball all over the field.
No. 14, 1981: By now I’m married and my in-laws have season tickets to UW games. Right off the 50-yard line in the second deck. My late father-in-law was a hurdler for the Huskies in the 1930s and was a die-hard Husky fan. This was the date of a huge game against No. 3 USC. I remember walking up the concourse to our seats. We were under cover, but the wind was blowing so hard (60 mph gusts at times) we were still getting wet. It was one of the nastiest, gloomiest bad-weather games I’ve sat through, but you didn’t even notice. Ponchos were swirling in the air and when linebacker Fred Small recovered a kickoff that had crazily bounced into the end zone, Washington had stunned the Trojans 13-3. Marcus Allen had rushed for over 200 yards for seven straight games, but UW held the Heisman winner to 155, averaging about 3 yards a carry on that wind-swept, rainy day. The Dawgs went on to beat Iowa 28-0 in the Rose Bowl.
Sept. 22, 1990: This was the “I just saw purple. No numbers. Just purple” game. That’s what USC QB Todd Marinovich said following Washington’s 31-0 win over No. 5 USC.
Nov. 16, 1996: Watched this one from the press box and it was over after the first quarter. Corey Dillon rushed for 222 yards in the first 12 minutes against San Jose. Dillon was a treat to watch, the closest thing the Huskies have ever had to a Jim Brown.
Nov. 18, 1995: I wasn’t there in 1997 when Ryan Leaf and the Cougars beat the Huskies to clinch a trip to the Rose Bowl, but I was there two years earlier when Leaf, a brash freshman from Montana, almost beat the Huskies at Husky Stadium in his first career start in 1995. Left threw for 291 yards in a 33-30 loss and, at the time, I wondered if there would ever be an athlete from Montana as famous as Ryan Leaf.
Sept, 19, 2009: It’s Steve Sarkisian’s first season following Tyrone Willingham’s 0-12 swan song. It’s Sark’s third game and the Huskies knock off No. 3 USC 16-13, giving Husky fans everywhere hope that this just might be the coach to return the program to national prominence.
Here’s five memorable games from Jim Lambright:
Everett native Jim Lambright ranks his five more memorable games at Husky Stadium during his days as a UW player (1960-65), assistant coach (1969-93), head coach (1993-99) and fan (1999-present). Lambright, who is also a consultant for the construction crew that will begin renovating Husky Stadium early next week, touched four different decades when talking about his five more memorable games. For Lambright’s first-person account of each game, log on to www.heraldnet.com/XXXXXX:
1) Oct. 1, 1960: No. 17 Navy 15, No. 3 Washington 14
The largest crowd in Husky Stadium to date watched with split emotions as the Huskies lost to a Naval Academy team that had plenty of local rooting interest.
Lambright says: “I was a redshirt freshman that year, and I was actually an usher, because you had to have a way to earn room and board back then. I was not a very good usher, because I was sitting there in the upper deck watching the game. It was a tremendous game to watch. There were a lot of Navy fans, and it was a huge game. It was one of those games you had no idea would be that well-attended. It left a mouth-open impression, just sitting in the upper deck and listening to all the people in awe.”
2) Sept. 22, 1990: No. 5 Washington 31, No. 21 USC 0
UW’s defense wreaked havoc on the Trojans and USC quarterback Todd Marinovich, who was so beaten down that after the game he uttered the famous words: “All I saw was purple.”
Lambright says: “There was a picture in the paper the next day of the USC quarterback sitting on his (rear), with the headline: ‘All I saw was purple.’ As a defensive coordinator, you like those sort of pictures. That pretty much said it all.”
3) Nov. 22, 1975: Washington 28, Washington State 27
A late interception return touchdown by Al Burleson gave the Huskies new life, and then Spider Gaines scored the game-winner on a 78-yard reception in what remains one of the most memorable Apple Cup games of all time.
Lambright says: “I have to go back to the game, the Washington State game with Al Burleson. It was (WSU coach) Jim Sweeney’s swan song, and late in the game, they were beating the tar out of us. It was wet and rainy, and three-quarters of the fans had left the game. Then late in the game, there was a fourth down, and Sweeney’s players talked him into going for it. They were at their own 30 or something like that. So he gave us a chance. And Al Burleson intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to give us hope. Then, of course, Spider Gaines catches the pass and we come back and win the game. Years and years later, you heard all these stories of all the fans scrambling to get back in their seats after being in their warm, dry cars heading home. I got to know Jim Sweeney pretty well over the years, and he was the kind of guy who did that. If he had to do it all over again, I’m sure he’d go for it on fourth down again.”
4) Nov. 4, 1989: Arizona State 32, Washington 24
The Sun Devils use a shotgun formation to pile up yardage on the defenseless Huskies, who use that game as motivation to completely retool their defense. UW would go on to win 33 of its next 35 games, including a share of the 1991 national title along the way.”
Lambright says: “What you have to group in, if we’re going to have a reunion of the ’91 national champions, is the game that really set us up for that from a defensive standpoint. We were playing Arizona State up here, and they could’ve scored 1,000 points on us. We couldn’t stop them. They were running the shotgun, and we had no way of defending it because we had no way of disguising what we were doing on defense, and they just destroyed us. Coach (Don) James came in the next day, after we were done reviewing the film as a defense, and he said: ‘Do you think we can win if we keep doing what we’re doing? Or do we need to try something different on defense?’ We all pretty much agreed that we had to change. So that Sunday evening, we had a meeting and we changed the entire defense to an attacking defense designed to make sure we controlled the line of scrimmage. We had to go after them before they came after us; we had to dictate the game. We created a way to get after quarterbacks and offenses. We had two more games that season, against Oregon State and WSU, of course, and we doubled our number of sacks in those games. Then we went down to the Freedom Bowl and destroyed a pretty good Florida team and held them to seven points (in a 31-7 win). So that one sticks out because of the change we made. After that, we started to go to Rose Bowls back to back to back. That had a lot to do with the changes we made after that game, and then you couple that with getting really good players.”
5) Sept. 4, 1993: No. 15 Washington 31, No. 12 Stanford 14
Lambright’s first game as head coach ended up being a laugher, as the Huskies pounded Stanford and head coach Bill Walsh. Beating Walsh made it one of the most satisfying games of Lambright’s life, while a pre-game gesture by players to honor former coach Don James is still fresh in Lambright’s mind.
Lambright says: “My first game as head coach, we were facing Stanford, and to honor Coach James, we had the team walk out of the tunnel, and all of them held an arm up in praise of Don. He was up in the press box, and instead of running out of the tunnel, they all walked out and held up a hand to him. And Bill Walsh, the Stanford coach, was a very mouthy guy. He was very strongly against us, saying these terrible things and making several references to us being not ethical people. So it was a wonderful thing to go out and kick their (tails).”