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UWDP Weekly Roundtable: Alumni Connections

The writers talk alumni relations... and add to the Everett Flabbergasters canon

Washington v North Carolina Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With graduation the other week, there is a new class of Husky alumni that are starting the next phase of their lives. Some are going on to the next level of their respective sport, and others are moving on to other endeavors.

Justin Glenn was just announced that he is moving from being Football’s Director of Player Development to the Athletics Department’s Director of the Big W Club and Engagement Programs. Essentially, he’s been tasked with building and maintaining the relationships between the school and former athletes.

If you were in Glenn’s position, who would be the former athletes or alumni at the top of your list to build/maintain relationships with and why? It can be an athlete from any sport, and it doesn’t have to be a former athlete. It could be a well-known alumni supporter of the program too.

Andrew Berg: I think Michael Jordan has some free time on his hands after selling the Hornets.

Coach B: Funny guy.

For me, it would be a focus on the football alumni from the Neuheisel era through the Sarkisian era. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like there’s a collective effort to forget about those years where the program was sorting itself out. That’s still over 10 years of alumni who to my knowledge haven’t been a big part of the alumni relations focus, and the very oldest of those players could potentially have kids nearing college age. Guys like Jermaine Kearse have some name recognition with the younger generation of fans, but maybe not a guy like Chris Polk or even Reggie Williams.

There’s a lot more history to market than just the national championship and the CP years, and bridging the gap between eras by reconnecting with those alumni could foster lasting grassroots support.

Andrew: Kearse was the first who came to mind for me, too. Plus, any of the great defenders over the last 10 years if they are either out of the league or have enough time locally. BBK, Shelton, Jones, Victor are a few who come to mind.

It probably makes sense to have guys from a variety of different backgrounds from before they were at UW. Some guys from Seattle, Northern and Southern Cal, maybe the Pacific islands. Guys from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds. Just make sure you have guys who different types of recruits can relate to and identify with.

Coach B: Exactly. I think we’re doing a good job attracting recent graduates of the program and some folks from the 90s but there’s a gap in the 00s that we can bring back those folks into the fold.

Collin O’Meara: Marques Tuiasosopo is a legend as a player and has a 1.000 winning percentage as Husky head coach.

Kirk DeGrasse: Looking beyond football, some obvious folks to keep close to the program are Tim Lincecum (baseball), Cristian Roldan (soccer) and Danielle Lawrie. Obviously you’d want most/all alums to stay close to the program, but those are (by far) the most visible and well-known alums from those sports and the ones most likely to have an impact in drawing new recruits to their old programs and potentially helping out in other ways to grow those sports locally at the youth level and promoting those relationships that lead to recruits choosing the Huskies.

Men’s basketball is its own whole segment, and the hot seat issues around Mike Hopkins complicate things. But a thriving UW MBB program is almost certainly going to have local players as the engine, so keeping folks like Isaiah Thomas, Brandon Roy, Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons, Jaylen Nowell, Jaden McDaniels, Terrell Brown and more actively involved and feeling invested in the program is key. I’m not sure all of those guys are fully on board right now (in the cases of Nowell and McDaniels they’re understandably focused on their young NBA careers), so getting back to that 206/253/425 pride I think is a top priority for the program.

Andrew: I’ve thought about this a lot with basketball and it’s a shame there isn’t an obvious coaching candidate with real ties to better times for the program. It would be great to engage so many of those guys organically, but it’s a stretch to say that anyone who played or coached at UW in the last 15 years would be truly qualified to lead a major conference program.

Gabey Lucas: Re: Lincecum, famously one of his key traits is kinda not returning to his old stomping grounds but always sorta moving forward in a way? Not that people staying connected to their old institutions are “living in the past” or anything (obviously not like we’re implying they are), but he’s kinda been established as someone who extremely lives in the present in that regard.

Also re: Lawrie, she’s definitely maintained that connection to Coach Tarr and the softball program and kinda informally mentoring young pitchers especially — before the Olympics when we talked to her she talked about her relationship with Gabbie Plain a bit and also discussed with the Times a month or so ago how she’s mentored Ruby Meylan. Saying it out loud actually, IMO in many ways she kinda exemplifies this thought exercise we’re doing.

Have to think a bit more about this for football, but also the big answer for basketball is Kelsey Plum fer sher especially as she’s getting so high profile in the pros.

Coach B: Any last thoughts?

Fictitious Narrator: This is where the wheels fall off the wagon

Gabey: Jeezus Coach put the pistol away

Football-wise... Vita on account of A) he is the man and B) that’s all that matters.

Coach B: Sorry wasn’t being passive aggressive.

Gabey: And idk... Jermaine Kearse et al for being a Super Bowl-winning #LoyalToTheSoil dude, which counts for something. I’d have a more thought-out answer, but that involves thinking which I generally prefer not to do.

Oh no I didn’t think you were being passive aggressive, I was picturing you as that Joe Burrow-lookin ass henchman from Boardwalk Empire before he blows the rival rum runner’s face off.

“Steve Buscemi sends his regards” ~Coach B before committing cold-blooded murder to consolidate his booze-smuggling empire. (This is also canon to the Everett Flabbergasters extended cinematic universe, of which you are now a part congratulations)

Mark Schafer: Just to get this in before the buzzer I do agree that we should do more outreach to the Neuheisel/Willingham/Sark era football guys because there were some good players on those teams even though they weren’t great altogether. Isiah Stanback would be a good one! Jermaine Kearse is fairly obvious, being a former Seahawk as well as a Husky!Basketball with the Hopkins situation is tough but I think you could bring in a safe bet in Brandon Roy, maybe Nate Robinson and Will Conroy because of the history with those three guys!And I agree with Gabey, bring in Vita, and also Greg Gaines!

Gabey: Wait have we mentioned IT yet? Cuz like... him.

Mark: Nobody has mentioned him yet! I can’t believe we missed that…

Kirk: (I did)

Let us know in the comments below which former athlete you’d like to see UW bring back to get involved with the athletics programs.