"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective."
One of the many interesting observations that I've made in my time on this earth is that man is the only creature that embraces change. Nay. Man is the only creature that seeks out and tries to engineer change.
Ponder that for just a moment.
While every other organism on the planet is programmed simply to detect and to adapt to change, seeing it as a threat to the routines that make up their lives, our species takes a different tack. Mankind seeks out and spurs on change as a prize to be gained and a solution to the various ills that hold us back.
Change is as unnatural as it is inevitable.
And because of this ridiculous paradox, so it goes that the prospect of change is both thrilling and threatening at the same time. Husky fans have ridden this ride over the last 20 years as the parade of coaches and administrators has led to substantial changes to, in and around our beloved program. The arrival of Fall Camp, as documented in today's "Fall Camp Kickoff" section, is a reminder that we are on the cusp of yet another new year, complete with the queasiness and uncertainty that are present whenever intended change becomes implemented change. Though this is year 5 under Sark, this year brings with it change in the form of new leaders (Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, ASJ and John Timu), new young stars to dream about (Elijah Qualls, Marcus Farria, Draemora Stringfellow and Troy Williams), and new schemes to dream about (hurry up offenses, hybrid defensive packages and two-way players).
Things are changing around here at the 'Pound, and what better time to address those changes than on the eve of the breaking of camp. You may have noticed our new logo, courtesy of graphic design skills of Kirk DeGrasse. The new logo is a symbol for us, one not so much about re-birth as it is about renewal. At it's core is a malamute image that more resembles the historical "smiling Husky" than it does the Nike-fied Weasel. To me, this speaks to our bias towards furthering the history and heritage of our program and resisting the commercial forces that would try to turn it more into a brand than a tradition. The satisfied look on the face of the Husky hints at it's regalness and is in stark contrast to the angry and aggressive styles of many other modern sports logos. The clean lines and simple design speak to the philosophy of our blog: nothing flashy, just straight-forward Husky content oriented as much as possible around the needs and wants of the membership. The tilt of the head and direction of the gaze suggest that we are appreciative and will continue to honor the history of this blog and it's original members who signed up to build something that was a little deeper in content than what is available from the popular media but also a little less hysterical than what is found in other, more anonymous blogospheres. Finally, you will note the flares of gold in the eyes of the Husky. They suggest a certain edge and passion for Husky sports that continue to fuel all of us who volunteer to keep this train rolling down the tracks.
Beyond the logo update, there are other, more subtle changes at work. Our staff strives to establish the UW Dawg Pound as a premier stop for both staff-driven and user-originated content on all things Husky - including news, analysis, opinions and trivia. Based on our member survey from a few months ago, we are focusing our energies on Football, Basketball and, to a lesser degree, spring sports. You've also indicated to us that you appreciate being able to leverage the 'Pound as a gateway to other Husky and P12 content around the web. As such, we will continue to provide robust "Dots" a few times a week, link to other college football content around SB Nation (which has become just an outstanding network over the past few years) and participate in the greater P12 community.
Finally, you may have noticed some huge "wins" for the blog in the past few months. While we don't necessarily want to be journalists - we don't compete with the likes of the Times or the Tribune - we do aspire to be more participatory in the events and activities that our members follow so closely. Kevin Cacabelos has recently held some Q&A's with basketball recruits while Anthony Cassino was our first ever representative at a Pac 12 Media Day. We want to grow our participation in these activities by having staff and fans report on their experiences at these activities so that we can bring the action closer to our members.
Below, I've included brief Bios on our staff just to reacquaint you with everybody. As you review them, keep in mind that we are all volunteers who welcome and encourage your active participation in the blog ... as readers, as commenters and as writers of fanposts / fanshots. Bottom line, we want more from you. If you are a student who is interested in journalism and is looking for an outlet to build your portfolio, drop me a line. If you are a hobbyist who is interested in some aspect of Husky sports that we are underserving, write a fanpost (if it is legit, we'll put it on the front page). If you are a fan who doesn't miss any event and takes a lot of pictures / video, call me. If you are a tech enthusiast who thinks that we could do more with the technology of our website, email me (there is a good chance I'll have no clue what you are talking about, but that is why I have Kirk).
Bottom line: there is no "boss" here at the UW Dawg Pound. SB Nation has provided us with a great platform upon which to build our community. Beyond that, we are all just members of that same community. Our goal is to lever all that has been built before us and to make it greater. This is the change that we are trying to affect, our attempt to navigate the grand paradox. If you are interested in doing so, we invite you to jump in.
Kirk DeGrasse: Kirk is a '92 grad from the UW and a lifelong fan (despite his parents both being Cougs) - there have been season tickets in his family since the early '60's (thanks to his late grandfather), and his strongest early memory of football is watching the '78 Rose Bowl. He's been going to the games ever since. Kirk started reading John's blog since before it joined the SBN network, but started commenting regularly somewhere around 2008, and John brought him on board as an editor before the 2012 season. His paying gig is making cinematics for video games. He's been in the industry as an animator for 15 years now, including some memorable motion capture shoots with former Husky players (as well as with Peyton Manning) for the old Microsoft "NFL Fever" series.He lives in Seattle with his wife and two future Huskies who both know "Bow Down to Washington". His duties include assisting Chris in managing the blog, writing up the weekly Pac-12 and Husky game predictions and the post-game grades and disagreeing with Chris about Stanford.
Ben Knibbe: Ben is a twenty year-old punk currently attending Western Washington University pursuing a degree in Journalism. Currently living an hour north of Seattle, Ben grew up a fan of Seattle Sports. Despite having parents who held no sports loyalties, and held very little interest in sports, Ben was an avid follower of the Sonics, Seahaws Mariners and, of course, the Huskies. Ben absolutely despised writing while he was in high school, then after UW basketball lost to Marquette in 2011 at Madison Square Garden, had to get something off his chest, which came in a FanPost. He has been covering the basketball team for the Dawg Pound almost ever since, and has graduated to other things, such as football breakdowns and coverage.
Kevin Cacabelos: Kevin is a born and raised Seattle-native who grew up watching Husky football with his dad in section 28 for all his life until he decided to attend Loyola Marymount University in LA for sunshine. He remembers rushing the field in the 2003 Apple Cup, but more importantly, watching old Tyee members curse their way out of the stadium during Tyrone Willingham's winless season. His favorite basketball player of all-time is Ryan Appleby. Kevin supports the 'Pound by coordinating our Basketball Recruiting coverage, among other things.
Brad Johnson: I was born a Husky fan in a family full of them. My brother and I used to fight over who got to attend which games with dad when the tickets arrived in August, but my sister always got Band Day. It’s odd to remember being at the stadium when there was no upper deck on the north side. I spent about 7 years total at the UW with undergrad (class of ’98, School of Fisheries) and grad school (’02 Construction Management, once I learned that nobody actually makes money as a fisheries biologist). As a kid, and then a student, and now having season tickets of my own for the last 15 years, I’ve attended some great games at Husky Stadium, but one of my fondest memories of the old girl was when a seagull finally took a dump on the super annoying guy that had the seats in the row in front of my dad and me for a few years. Even though he was a fellow Husky fan, it was sweet justice. The Husky Propaganda Campaign is strong with my own kids, who attended their first basketball game at 3 weeks old, and their first football game at 6 weeks (and have been to several more since). Justin Glenn will forever be one of my favorite players because he was the only player at picture day in 2010 that was willing to hold both 10-month twins. As an aside, the easiest way to have the cheerleaders flock to you as a middle-aged guy is to carry 10-month old twins….
Ryan Priest: Ryan graduated from UW in 2009 and promptly moved to Chicago, where he lives and works today as the associate editor of a fraternity magazine. During the football season, he writes weekly previews of Washington's opponent's offense, defense and special teams units, as well as the odd opinion or analysis column whenever he finds some free time. You can follow him on Twitter by searching @ryanpriest.
Randall Floyd: Born at the local hospital near what was then Rick's College, now known as BYU-Idaho, Randall moved to western Washington at the ripe old age of 1. Growing up on Camano Island, he came to develop a feeling of fandom for both BYU and UW football ... however he also grew knowing that between the two schools, UW was king, and there was no close second. Randall graduated UW in 2010, and moved to Denver to attend law school, where he graduated in May. He currently resides in Littleton, Colorado where he lives with his wife and four children, all of whom love the color purple.
Jack Follman: Jack Follman is a Pac-12 blogger located in Los Angeles that is an editor for the leading independent site that covers Pac-12 sports, PacificTakes.com. In addition to writing for Pacific Takes, Jack also contributes to AllFootballSchedules.com , UWDawgPound.com and other various outlets. His work has been published in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Men’s Fitness and on Scout.com.
CODawg (Tige Stromire): I have been a Husky fan since 1978. I was 5 years old living in the Tri-Cities. Thankfully the Dawgfather and Warren Moon won the Rose Bowl and I didn’t become a Cougar. I moved to Colorado in 1987, but never changed my allegiance to the Husky. I probably even become more passionate. I have worked in Banking for 14 years and reside in the Denver Suburbs. I have 15 year old twins. One boy and one girl and an 11 year old son. All three of my kids are active in sports. My oldest boy is a big baseball player and hopes to play at UW in a few years (he is good but probably not D1 good). My daughter plays field hockey and lacrosse for the HS as well. My little guy is goal keeper in soccer and plays competitively. These three obviously keep me busy and spend 90% of my free time going to games or practices. During the winter I am an avid snowboarder. I came to UWDawgpound in 2008 to find information on who might become our next coach. I believe I started writing some fanposts in 2010 and started writing basketball content in the 2010-2011 season. My contributions for UWDawgpound are mostly during basketball season but I write a weekly football article and make multiple comments all year long. Living out of state the UWDawgpound has given me Husky fans to discuss, argue and "watch" the games with.
Chris Landon: I'm a UW Alum (Class of '95) who has moved eight times since graduating. I originally found the Dawg Pound while living in Minneapolis (and under the original moniker of the still-banned "Minny C") and in dire need of a way to connect to Husky fans who were more rational than the guys on the message boards and less anonymous than the commenters on Condotta's blog. Since John B's retirement, I have served in the role as organizer and coordinator for the 'Pound, helping to make sure that content keeps coming and that the blog keeps moving forward against it's mission. When I'm not blogging, I'm a father of two young ladies and a business manager for a large medtech company based in Memphis.