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Isaiah Thomas leaving UW early for the NBA Draft

Isaiah Thomas leaving UW for NBA Draft

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now, but Washington’s talented point guard Isaiah Thomas is putting his name into the 2011 NBA Draft. The junior from Tacoma is not hiring an agent right away, but he assured reporters at a 1 p.m. press conference that he is, indeed, gone for good.

From all of us at the UW Alumni Association—thank you, Isaiah, and good luck!

A local star from Curtis High School, Thomas stayed close to home and led the Huskies to their first outright Pac-10 title in 56 years as a freshman (pictured above). Last year, he helped Washington reach the Sweet 16, and this season he guided the Dawgs to their second-straight Pac-10 tournament title and a win over Georgia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

This kid bleeds Washington, and we wish him the very best in the NBA.

For more on Isaiah Thomas:

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VIDEO: Watch Bob Rondeau’s home radio call of Isaiah Thomas’ buzzer-beater

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First things first, how about those Huskies?!

Washington’s dramatic 77-75 win over Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament title game sent the UW to the Big Dance. Star point guard Isaiah Thomas drained a game-winner at the buzzer that instantly goes down as one of the biggest shots in Husky history. Listen to legendary play-by-play man Bob Rondeau make the call in the video above.

On Friday, March 18, the Huskies will tip off against Georgia in the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional. We’re a No. 7 seed. Georgia’s a No. 10 seed. Both schools go by the nickname “Dawgs” … it’s going to be a, well, you know what kind of fight it will be.

If you’re not in Seattle, visit our viewing party page to see if there’s a gathering in your area. There’s nothing better than watching Husky hoops with friends wearing purple and gold. Go Dawgs!

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Huskies atwitter over new UW debit card from BECU

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The University of Washington and UW Alumni Association are proud to announce a new partnership with BECU, a business that shares our values and understands our mission. BECU’s new Husky debit card is pretty spiffy and the video promoting it has garnered lots of attention so far.

Detlef Schrempf, Kenny G, Nate Robinson, Rick Steves and Bill Gates Sr., all singing “Bow Down to Washington” … what’s not to love?!

Here is just a sample of what our friends and followers are saying on Twitter:

We’re loving this BECU commercial. Bow Down to Washington! #UW http://ow.ly/3X8MA

UW Husky greats team with @BECU to sing fight song, promote new debit card: Yes, that’s UW Husky Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame!

Love it! Must order it now! Go UW Alums! – Husky Legends Sing UW Fight Song In New BECU Ad http://t.co/SLRT7Ns

I’m taking my talents (and by talents I mean money) to @BECU. How cool is this @UWAlum debit card? http://bit.ly/hXLsea.

Bow Down To Washington With BECU! Go Huskies! #UW #gohuskies #becu http://www.becu.org/uw-debit-card.aspx

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Alumni vote on top reasons to love the UW

Red Square at University of Washington
Last week, we asked UW Alumni Association staff and friends on Facebook to help us out with a membership project.

We’re on the way to 60,000 members—a new record for our organization—and we’re focused on telling the stories of why alumni, friends and fans love the UW.

Here’s what everyone decided upon, in no particular order. There were about 15 choices, and this is the top six including a write-in vote for “beautiful campus,” which I can’t believe we left off the list in the first place. Kudos to you guys for adding what is obviously a top reason to love the University of Washington. Your favorite reasons to love the UW are:

  • You went there.
  • Husky football, basketball and other sports.
  • UW drives 70,000 jobs in Washington and is the third largest employer in the state behind Boeing and Microsoft.
  • The UW is researching the critical issues of our time. Kidney dialysis, color TV and the Hepatitis B vaccine are all products of UW research.
  • UW educates nearly 100,000 people and UW Medicine treats more than 1.4 million patients each year.
  • Is there a more beautiful campus in the United States?

And here are a few more write-in votes:

I picked up valuable life skills beyond the classroom.

Where would you be without it?

The BEAUTIFUL campus!!! (And a super cute mascot.)

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Husky football in the Heart of Dixie

Jake Locker at the Senior Bowl.
Jake Locker and Mason Foster are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, a prestigious college football all-star game held in the Heart of Dixie (that’s Alabama) since 1951.

I used to live in Mobile and covered high school and college sports for the newspaper there, the Press-Register. I took the job straight out of college and spent three years living on the Gulf of Mexico in the Deep South, where football is king by a mile. I covered three Senior Bowls and met lots of future stars, including Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was just out of Clemson at the time.

With our players in Mobile for the week, it reminded me of my favorite Husky football moment from down South. Here is a column I wrote for the paper in 2006 about the best day I ever wore purple:

In three years as a Baldwin County sports reporter, there’s only one story I regret not putting on paper. 

It’s the story of a Washington Husky all alone in the Heart of Dixie. It’s the tale of two heated rivals sharing Jell-O shots in a foreign land, all the while talking enough trash to fill a Rocky Top-sized garbage can.

Auburn-Washington State. Yes, the Cougars were coming to town.

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A history of UW logos – Which is your favorite?

University of Washington logos

For Huskies, the University of Washington means many things. To the majority of people outside the UW community, the school is an image—a purple block W.  

When people look at the logo, no matter where they are, they don’t just see the logo. They see their personal experiences with the university, and their impressions are based on media and other sources. They see the UW’s reputation.  

With its logo, mascot and color scheme, the UW has always tried to represent the students, the school and the ideals held here. The brand’s evolution has taken some unusual twists and turns but has endlessly inspired students and alumni alike. Let’s open the history books and look back at nearly a century of UW logos.  

First, some interesting notes:  

  • Until 1919, the UW did not have a mascot and used only the block W. But as other schools adopted mascots across the nation, Columns reported, student leaders realized that Washington needed an icon.
  • The nickname “Sun Dodgers” was used until the UW switched to Huskies in 1922. Wanting to move away from Sun Dodgers, university officials decided to go with Vikings but students immediately protested and the school settled on Huskies a few months later.
  • It wasn’t until 1984 that the UW agreed it needed a clear identity and moved to adopt a consistent logo and color scheme. Before that, more than 550 licensees were authorized to use either the block W or Husky logos, and the result was a mishmash of UW imagery.

    University of Washington logo 1919

    Sunny Boy statue at Husky Hall of Fame.

Our story begins with a drawing in the Sept. 1919 issue of the on-campus magazine, Sun Dodger, in which a staff artist depicted a fictional UW student named “Sunny Boy,” a smiling freshman wearing a huge bow tie and carrying an umbrella (right). Despite the initial protests of magazine staff, the name “Sun Dodgers” stuck with the local press and Sunny Boy grew in popularity. Eventually, students commissioned a 3-foot-tall wooden statue in his likeness and carried it to the away football games. See the video from the Husky Hall of Fame.

An article in the Washington Alumnus, which later became Columns magazine, noted the Husky is “a symbol of willingness, courage, endurance, strength and fight.” After settling on the new name, university officials were most excited to use a live dog as an on-the-field mascot, and felt the name Huskies “suggests the idea that Washington is the most northern American university on the Pacific Coast.” A nod to our neighbors to the north, eh?

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The Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961 – Fifty years later

Cal-Tech's Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961Fifty years ago, a group of pesky Cal-Tech students hijacked the University of Washington’s halftime “flip-card” stunt in a Rose Bowl prank for the ages.

The Los Angeles Times tells the story of Lyn Hardy, the ringleader behind one of the greatest college football stunts of all time. UW fans on one side of the stadium were given flip cards that were supposed to spell out “WASHINGTON” but instead read “CALTECH.” It’s a marvelous tale, and you can read the full story here.

Hardy, now 69, says he learned how the stunt worked from UW cheerleaders. Upon learning the Husky Marching Band and Cheer Squad were staying at Long Beach State dormitories, Hardy—a Cal-Tech junior at the time—posed as a reporter for the Dorsey High student newspaper and walked right in. When everyone left for dinner, Hardy and another of Cal-Tech’s legendary “Fiendish 14″ swiped a card-stunt instruction book and headed back to Pasadena, where they made some 2,400 copies.

Jack Briggs
, Washington’s 1961 student body president, said at the time that the prank was “not in the best of taste.” Fifty years later, though, it’s still a classic.

Of course, Washington beat top-ranked Minnesota that day 17-7.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • UW alum Nick Handy is departing his post as Washington’s state elections director after leading widely praised reform efforts that have boosted voter turnout.
  • A study by UW researcher Daryl Haggard explores the future of the Milky Way’s central black hole.
  • UW students win $40,000 to help make water safe to drink.
  • Former UW President Mark Emmert, now the head of the NCAA, is profiled in this piece by the New York Times. The story focuses on overseeing integrity and the threat of income in college sports.

    Read more…

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Husky Holiday Bowl Blog – Dawgs win 19-7!


Live from sunny San Diego, it’s the Husky Holiday Bowl show!

Well, at least it feels that way. Washington just scored a 19-7 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers and I have to admit… this is awesome! There’s nothing better if you’re a Husky football fan than winning a bowl game, and this was a stellar performance for our squad. Congratulations to coach Steve Sarkisian and his team. We love you guys and we are proud of you.

So proud to be a UW alum. Go Dawgs!

Game Day – Thursday, Dec. 30

Holiday Bowl, 10:14 p.m.
This game is in the book and the Washington Huskies have won the 2010 Holiday Bowl 19-7. One of the most impressive defensive performances in
Husky history, the Dawgs dominated Nebraska from start to finish and held one of the nation’s best offenses to just 7 points and 184 yards of total offense. This was some 1990-ish Husky defense. Big hits. Hard knocks. Everything you could ask for in a defensive effort. It was so exciting to be in the stadium for the game, and watching the team celebrate its victory afterwards was priceless. Steve Sarkisian truly has done wonders with this program, and that had to have been the best Gatorade bath he’s ever had. During the trophy presentation, he called us the “best fans in America.” I have to agree. Thanks to all of you for a great season. Go Dawgs, and let’s enjoy this victory!

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