KEITH JACKSON – Media
One of the most famous voices in American sports telecasting got his start in Pullman. Georgia native Keith Jackson began his broadcasting career as a Washington State student in the early 1950s after getting out of the Marine Corps and using the G.I. Bill to attend college.
Jackson worked at KOMO radio and television in Seattle from 1954-64 and was the first American sportscaster to telecast an event inside the Soviet Union when he covered the Husky rowing victory over the Leningrad club team Trud in 1958.
Jackson is best known for his more than 50 years of football telecasts. The phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” was his signature phrase. He is credited with creating and popularizing the description of the Rose Bowl as “The Granddaddy of Them All” and naming Michigan Stadium “The Big House.” Often forgotten is that Jackson was the first play-by-play announcer on Monday Night Football and covered major-league baseball, PGA golf, the NBA, major auto races, boxing matches and the Olympics during his career.
CHIP HANAUER – Boat Racing
One of the greatest racers in unlimited hydroplane history, Hanauer won a record 11 Gold Cups, six of them in a row, and finished with 61 unlimited victories, third on the all-time list. A graduate of Newport High School in Bellevue and Washington State University, Hanauer taught emotionally disturbed children until becoming a full-time racer in 1978.
Notable boats he drove included The Squire Shop, Atlas Van Lines, Miller American, Circus Circus and Miss Budweiser. His big break came in 1982 when he became driver for the Atlas Van Lines, replacing Bill Muncey, when he died in the final race of the 1981 season. Entering the 1982 season, with a new boat, a new race team and a new owner, Chip went on to win five races, which included a thrilling come from behind and head to head victory, against the Miss Budweiser, in that year’s APBA Gold Cup. In addition, he went on to win his first Unlimited National and World Championship.
Hanauer retired from racing in 1999-one victory shy of tying the since-broken record of 62 victories held by his friend and mentor Bill Muncey. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame at age 40, the youngest active racer ever to be inducted.
TOM SNEVA – Auto Racing
A Spokane native and Lewis & Clark high and Eastern Washington University grad, in 1977 Tom Sneva became the first driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 at a speed of more than 200 mph, turning a one-lap record of 200.535 mph. And, in 1984 he became the first drive to qualify for the Indy 500 over 210 mph.
Three times (1977, 1978, 1980) Sneva ended up the bridesmaid by finishing second but after a thrilling late race duel with Al Unser, Sr. he broke through in dramatic fashion to win the Indy 500 in 1983 in his Texaco Star March 83C/Cosworth for Bignotti-Cotter Racing. That led to his nickname of “The Gas Man.”
Sneva’s second-place finish in 1980 is notable as it is one of only two occasions of such a finish by a driver starting last. Tom showed his versatility by competing in eight NASCAR Winston Cup events in his career from 1977-1987 and he also won two consecutive USAC National Championships for Indy cars in 1977 and 1978.
Tom Sneva was named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2005.
JACK THOMPSON – Football
Known through much of his career as the “Throwin’ Samoan,” Jack Thompson concluded his Pacific-8 Conference career as the most prolific career passer in NCAA history following three record-breaking seasons, 1976-77-78. By the end of his career Thompson had thrown 1,086 passes, completing 601 for 7,818 yards and 53 touchdowns. In all, he set six WSU career marks and was also the first junior in NCAA history to top the 5,000-yard mark in passing.
Thompson was a Sporting News first-team All-America pick in 1978 and won all-league first-team honors as a sophomore and senior. Twice Thompson finished high in the Heisman Trophy balloting. He played in the 1978 Hula Bowl and was MVP of the 1978 Challenge Bowl. Picked No. 3 in the 1979 draft by Cincinnati, he spent four seasons with the Bengals, then his final two NFL years with Tampa Bay.
Thompson was born in American Samoa and prepped at Evergreen High in Seattle. He is only the second Cougar football player to have his jersey number (14) retired. The other is Mel Hein (7).
DETLEF SCHREMPF – Basketball
As a senior at Centralia HS, Detlef Schrempf led his team to the state 3A (then AA) title in 1981. Playing basketball at the UW, Schrempf was named to the All-Pac 10 Team as well as the Sporting News All-America Second Team.
Detlef enjoyed a successful 16-year career in the NBA from 1985-2001 with Dallas, Indiana, Seattle and Portland. Following the 1992-93 season, Schrempf was traded from Indiana to the Seattle SuperSonics and he ranked second in the NBA in three-point accuracy for the 1994-95 season with a 51.4 field goal percentage. On a Sonics team that featured Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Sam Perkins, and Hersey Hawkins, Schrempf reached the NBA Finals in 1996, where they lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in six games.
He was selected to three NBA All-Star teams and won two consecutive NBA Sixth Man Awards in 1991 and 1992. He also competed in the 1988 Olympics for West Germany and in 1992 for Germany. In 2012 Detlef received the 77th Annual Sports Star of the Year—Paul Allen Award.
His charitable Detlef Schrempf Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that provide hope, care and assistance to children and families of the Northwest.
ALVIN DAVIS – Baseball
They call him “Mr. Mariner.” Alvin Davis played eight of his nine major-league seasons in Seattle. In his first 10 at-bats as a Mariner, Davis delivered eight extra-base hits and hit successfully in his first nine games establishing a franchise record for most consecutive games collecting a hit to start a career. He also set the major-league record for most consecutive games reaching base to start a career with 47.
Davis performed so well in the first half of the 1984 season that he became the first position player groomed by the Mariners to make the American League All-Star team and the season culminated with his selection as the American League Rookie-of-the-Year award.
Davis was a lifetime .280 hitter with 160 home runs and had three seasons with 20 or more homers. He drove in more than 100 runs twice.
The affable Davis was popular with Mariner fans and was the first inductee into the Mariners Hall of Fame. He played first base and batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was drafted in the sixth round in 1982 after playing at Arizona State.
EDDIE FEIGNER – Baseball
Walla Walla native Feigner is considered the greatest softball pitcher in history. Performing with a catcher, shortstop, first-baseman and Feigner on the mound, the barnstorming foursome known as “The King and His Court” routinely defeated nine-man teams all over North America and around the world, from Yankee Stadium to the Great Wall of China.
Sports Illustrated called Feigner the “consummate showman” and “the most underrated athlete of his time.” He could strike out batters while pitching blind-folded, behind his back, between his legs and even from second base. Games came complete with jokes, running banter and gags.
Feigner formed the team in 1946 and pitched until 2000, performing for more than 20,800,000 fans in over 4,405 cities worldwide and throughout 104 countries, all while traveling over 4,100,000 miles and providing over 2,947 pitching and hitting clinics for boys and girls around the globe. Eddie passed away on February 9, 2007.