Six Cougar legends to be inducted into WSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Ryan Leaf among the 2019 inductees
Six Cougar legends to be inducted into WSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

On September 6th, Washington State University will induct six individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

“It’s an outstanding group of former student-athletes and contributors who have brought tremendous pride and recognition to Washington State University,” said Athletic Director Pat Chun. “We look forward to recognizing their great accomplishments and welcoming them back to campus later this fall.”

The Hall of Fame class of 2019 inductees include these athletes and administrators:

Ryan Leaf- Football, Quarterback, 1994-1997
Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in WSU history, Leaf brought WSU to new heights in his three seasons with the team.

Leaf played 32 games for the Cougars, starting in 24 of them. During his career, he threw 59 touchdowns and 7433 yards, while rushing for an additional 14 touchdowns.

As a prospect Leaf had considered committing to the Miami Hurricanes- and to play linebacker instead of quarterback. Mike Price, head coach at the time, called Leaf while he was watching the Rose Bowl.

Price said “If you come to Washington State, we’ll be there. We’ll be in the Rose Bowl.”

Sure enough, Leaf joined the Cougars, and in his final season he brought WSU to their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1931. While the Cougs fell 21-16 to the eventual national champion Michigan Wolverines, Leaf earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, was named first-team All American, and finished 3rd in the years Heisman vote, the highest of any WSU football player.

After his WSU career, The San Diego Chargers selected leaf with the 2nd overall pick of the 1998 NFL draft.

Josephat Kapkory- Track and Field/Cross Country, 1991-1994
Kapkory is one of three runners from WSU to make the Pac-12 All-Century Cross-Country team.

He was a three-time NCAA All-American in cross-country from 1991-93, and in addition to his ‘92 and ‘93 Pac-10 titles, he was the 1993 NCAA cross-country champion.

In track and field he was a two-time NCAA Indoor All American, winning the 1992 NCAA Indoor 3000m title as well a two time NCAA Outdoor All-American.

In 1994 he won the Steeplechase, 5000m and 10,000m Pac-10 titles. He is the only athlete to ever do so.

Stephanie Papke- Volleyball, 1994-1997

In her junior season, Papke was the first Cougar volleyball player to be voted into the All-Pac-10 team. Beyond that her resume boasts a three-time All-Pac-10 honoree and WSU’s 1998 nominee for NCAA woman of the year.

She finished her career with 3,839 assists, ranking third in WSU history.

Ellannee Richardson- Track and Field, 2004-2007
Richardson was a five-time All-American at WSU.

Four of those came as a heptathlete, where she finished second in the NCAA championships in ‘02 and ‘03. She won three Pac-10 Heptathlon championships, and was WSU’s 2003 Pac-12 medal winner. She also earned All-America honors as part of WSU’s 1600m relay team at the 2003 NCAA indoors.

After graduating, Richardson spent 12 years as a member of WSU’s coaching staff.

Lisa Roman- Rowing, 2010-2012
A member of the Pac-12 All-Century Rowing team, Roman was a member of Varsity eight-boat all three season at WSU. She helped WSU to NCAA appearances in 2010 and 2011, and as a senior she was selected to the Collegiate Coaches Association ALL-Region 5 first team.

After her time at WSU she joined the Canadian 2016 Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, where they finished fifth. She earned the silver medal at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships as part of Canada’s women’s eight-boat. In fall of 2018 she was the No. 14 rower in the world.

Rod Commons-Administration, 1976-2007
Commons spent 32 years managing public relations efforts for WSU athletics, teams, and student athletes, serving as the sports-information director. During his tenure he managed public relations campaigns for six top 10 Heisman ballot finishers.

He also served as President of Collegiate Sports Directors in America in 2004-05, and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2007 and received the organizations Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Today he continues to support the Cougars, working as a photographer for every WSU home sporting event and assisting as department historian.

These Honorees join the current 217 members of the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame weekend includes an induction dinner on September 6th at the Davenport Grand Hotel in downtown Spokane. The 2019 class will also be recognized during the Washington State vs. Northern Colorado University football game at Martin Stadium on the 7th.

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