JACK FRIEL – Coach (Basketball)
Dean of all-time WSU coaches, he guided the Cougars to over 500 wins in nearly 30 years of coaching. He won five Pacific Coast Conference divisional titles and in 1941 competed for the NCAA championship. The 1940-41 basketball team won a school-record 26 games and finished runner-up to Wisconsin. Long active on the NCAA rules committee. Friel was a three-year letterwinner in both baseball and basketball at Washington State. On the basketball court, he averaged 7.7 points per game when the Cougars averaged 25.7 as a team. He also coached the Cougars on the baseball diamond, 1943-45.
ROY JOHNSON – Baseball
Roy Cleveland Johnson was born in Pryor, OK and grew up in Tacoma, Washington. He played Major League Baseball from 1929 to 1938 as an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Boston Bees, and appeared in the 1936 World Series (0-for-1). Like his younger brother, Indian Bob Johnson, Roy was one-quarter Cherokee. From 1926 to 1928, he teamed with Earl Averill and Smead Jolley to give the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League one of its most feared hitting outfields in minor league history.
An outstanding outfielder, he completed a lifetime average of .296. He was the first Major League rookie to get 200 hits in a season and led the American League in doubles (45) during his rookie year (1929 for the Tigers). He didn’t reach 200 hits again but did finish 12th in A.L. Most Valuable Player voting in 1934 playing for the Red Sox.
DON PAUL – Football
From his bio for the Washington State University Hall of Fame:
“An All-Pro defensive back five times in the NFL, Don Paul is best remembered by WSU fans as a fine all-around athlete. He concentrated on football at WSU, but also lettered two years in baseball and played third base for the 1950 club that finished second in the College World Series. Paul was an All-Conference running back in 1949 and played for the West team in the East-West Shrine Game. He still owns the WSU record for season punt return average and for more than 30 years shared the single-game scoring record with his three touchdowns against Stanford in 1946. He played professionally for nine seasons, four with the Chicago Cardinals and five with the Cleveland Browns, playing on two NFL title clubs with the Browns.”
He is considered the best all-around athlete ever from Fife.
RUBE WALBERG – Baseball
Legend has it that George “Rube” Walberg was discovered throwing chunks of coal at fenceposts in his brother’s Seattle coal yard at age 25. His fastball and accuracy put him in the Major Leagues two years later. The lefty won 155 games over 15 seasons (1923-1937) in the big leagues. He was a key member of the Philadelphia Athletics dynasty that won three consecutive American League pennants from 1929 to 1931, along with the World Series in 1929 and 1930. He set a career-high of 20 wins in 1931. He also had a 1–1 mark with a 1.93 ERA for the Athletics in five World Series appearances. Later he pitched for the Boston Red Sox and New York Giants. After his late start, he endured in the majors until age 41.
Walberg surrendered 17 home runs to Babe Ruth, more than any other pitcher.
Much more in his Society of American Baseball Research bio.
CHUCK CONGDON – Golf
Chuck Congdon was the head golf professional at Tacoma Country & Golf Club from 1935 to 1965. He was involved in getting the Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA started and served three terms as president. He also served as a PGA of America Vice-President from 1955 to 1957. The PGA Section presented Congdon with its highest honor by electing him Golf Professional of the Year. He played on 15 Hudson Cup teams, and was the captain of the 1954 team. Chuck won the Washington Open in 1939, 1947, 1950, 1952 and 1962, the Portland Open in 1947, the Canadian Open in 1948, and the Pacific Northwest Section Championship in 1963. He was also known to be one of the top teachers in the country.
BILL NOLLAN – Basketball (coach)
Bill Nollan lettered in basketball, baseball and tennis during his time at Washington State University (1924-26). He pitched on two championship baseball teams for the Cougars. As a pitcher Nollan ended his senior campaign with a 3-1 record with three saves in 11 appearances. On the basketball court he was second on the team in scoring as a junior with 224 points.
Following college he was a legendary coach in the northwest as he coached at Pasco, Hoquiam and Lincoln (Seattle) High Schools. Nollan’s teams at Lincoln, his alma mater, won 22 city titles in football, basketball, track and baseball in 27 years. He was known as “Mr. Cougar” in Seattle and Western Washington for many years.
Nollan was inducted in the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1975. Ed Pepple, who became the winningest high school basketball coach in Washington history, played for Nollan at Lincoln High.