Bob Gregory, as much as anyone, knows the difference between the University of Washington and Washington State.
In his words, it’s West side vs. East.
Big school vs. small.
Audi sedan vs. pickup truck.
Champagne vs. beer.
In an Apple Cup as unique as any, Gregory enters the rivalry football game on Friday at Husky Stadium having sipped from each trough, driven both modes of transportation and infiltrated each enemy camp.
While there have been Huskies who have become WSU head coaches, the personable and aw-shucks Gregory, 57, is the first Cougar-affiliated person to assume the role as UW head coach, if only temporarily. As a player, he went 1-2 in the Apple Cup; as a coach on the other side, he’s 6-0.
As he pointed out on Monday, the former WSU strong safety and outside linebacker (1984-86) and now UW linebackers coach, defensive coordinator and interim head coach (2014-to date) has no issues whatsoever in revealing where his allegiance falls for this game.
“We’re all mercenaries anyway as coaches,” Gregory said. “Whoever pays us and puts food on our table for our kids, that’s who we’re rooting for.”
Interestingly enough, this unassuming Spokane native has been used as punching bag by both sides in the Apple Cup.
Thirty-five years ago, Cougars coach Jim Walden pulled the 175-pound Gregory from his secondary and made him a starting outside linebacker because injuries had stripped the WSU team of its top personnel at that position. Gregory gamely hung in there as a loyal soldier all season, but regularly got pounded by much bigger players, including those in a 44-23 loss to the UW in the 1986 Apple Cup in Pullman.
On Friday, Gregory pulls on the headset for his third game as a replacement for the fired Jimmy Lake, a thankless job with the team caught in a season-long spiral. In his previous two outings in charge, he’s been dealt difficult losses, 35-30 to Arizona State and 20-17 at Colorado.
While he’s a Cougar in Husky sheep’s clothing, Gregory remains the only one to become the UW head guy, even if just for a day or 21 of them.
Two Husky-affiliated coaches have gone the other route and become the WSU football leader.
Yet several others have bounced back and forth between the schools as assistants for each place. Here’s a list, as complete as we can make it, for all of the crossover activity, though Gregory still has never coached for the Cougars, only comin off the sidelines and knocked heads for them:
This man is one of two UW football assistants to lead the Cougars. Sutherland was a Husky offensive aide in 1955 for John Cherberg who accepted the WSU head-coaching job right as the Cherberg staff was about to get fired at season’s end. This was shortly after they won the Apple Cup 27-7. These two men did not like each other, with Cherberg finding the other guy far more popular with his players.
A proponent of the early run-and-shoot offense, Sutherland coached the Cougars from 1956 to 1963, going 2-6 in the Apple Cup. He retired to run a number of car dealerships in Spokane before he died in 1980.
Clark was the other Husky assistant coach elevated to WSU’s top football post. He came to the UW with Jim Owens and stayed seven seasons as an assistant, going 5-2 in the Apple Cup. He replaced the aforementioned Sutherland as the Cougars head coach for the 1964 season.
A native Texan, Clark coached WSU for four seasons, getting fired when his program fell off after some early success. His 1965 team was known as “the Cardiac Kids” when it went 7-3 with several exciting comeback wins. He went 1-3 in the Apple Cup on the other side of the rivalry, yet his final game as the Cougar leader was a satisfying 9-7 victory over the UW in Husky Stadium in 1967. He died in 2004.
One of the ultimate Apple Cup defectors was Baird, who grew up in Seattle near the UW, wanted to play for the Huskies and wasn’t recruited by them. He accepted a scholarship from the Cougars and became a starting linebacker, going 1-2 in the Apple Cup series in 1965-67.
After a brief stint as a WSU graduate assistant, Baird became a high school and junior-college football coach before joining the UW staff as a recruiting coordinator, linebackers coach and wide receivers coach, working for the staffs of Don James and Jim Lambright from 1984 to 1998. He went 10-5 on the other side in the Apple Cup.
He was a WSU center and offensive guard in 1973 and 1974 before injuries curtailed his playing career. While still a student only, he became a Cougars graduate assistant before joining the staff as a full-time offensive-line coach for Walden upon graduation in 1977 and he stayed in that post for a decade. He rejoined the WSU staff for the 2010 and 2011 seasons under Wulff. His Apple Cup record as a player was 1-1; as a coach, 3-9.
Between Cougar coaching stints, Morton went over to the other side and coached the Husky offensive line for James and Lambright from 1992 to 1998. His Apple Cup record was 4-3.
This Spokane native, a linebacker who played at Gonzaga Preparatory School same as Gregory but went on to be an Idaho standout, served as a graduate assistant at the UW before joining the coaching staff as a full-time member from 1984 to 1994 and again in 2004 to 2008. He served as a tight-ends coach, defensive-backs coach, linebackers coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator for James, Lambright, Keith Gilbertson and Tyron Willingham. Tormey was 8-8 for the Huskies in the Apple Cup.
In 2011, the well-traveled Tormey, who had been the Idaho and Nevada head coach, joined Paul Wulff’s WSU coaching staff as the linebackers coach, a job that lasted just one season before the staff was fired. He went 0-1 in the Apple Cup with the Cougars.
Yet another Gonzaga Prep and Idaho graduate, though a record-breaking running back by trade, Lappano was a WSU assistant coach for Dennis Erickson and Mike Price from 1987 to 1991. He served as the running-backs coach before becoming the offensive coordinator. He was 1-4 for WSU in the Apple Cup.
After coaching in the Big Ten and in the NFL, including a stint as the running-backs coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Lappano was part of Willingham’s ill-fated Husky coaching staff from 2005 to 2008 until everyone got fired. On the other side of the rivalry, he was 1-3 in the Apple Cup.
Another Spokane native and Eastern Washington player, Diedrick joined the WSU coaching staff under Price as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1989 to 1990. His Apple Cup ledger back then was 0-2.
He later went to the Huskies from 1994 to 1997, answering to Lambright as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was 2-2 in this role in the Apple Cup.
He was a Cougars linebacker, a four-year starter from 1977 to 1980, who played at WSU at the same time his younger brother, Steve, was a UW quarterback. Both went on to NFL careers. Scott went 0-4 as a player in the Apple Cup.
Scott Pelluer twice became a UW assistant coach, working in 1996 to 1998 as a linebackers and safeties coach for Lambright and for Gilbertson in 2003 and 2004 as a tight-ends and special-teams coach. He was 3-2 as an Apple Cup coach
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