Whether you’re a Husky fan or not, you have to appreciate the creativity of the University of Washington Men’s Basketball student section. At one point rated the #8 student section in the nation by Sports Illustrated, the Dawg Pack has spent the last half-decade entertaining fans and supporting the Huskies at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Today, we’ll take a look at the eleven greatest moments in Dawg Pack history. Enjoy.
The event: USC guard Nick Young, sporting a unique mohawk-esque hairdo not seen in these parts before, led his Trojans into Hec Edmundson Pavilion to face the Huskies. Reacting to Young’s hair, and citing the first logical being that they could think of, the Dawg Pack began chanting “Steg-o-saur-us!” at the Trojans’ star.
The aftermath: Young “reacted” by scoring 28 points to pace USC. The Huskies, however, prevailed by knocking off the men of Troy 87-73 behind 25 points from Brandon Roy. Young, who had previously sported a jheri-curled afro, adamantly stuck with his faux-hawk for the remainder of the 2005-2006 season before making a fashionable decision to trim down to a standard fade. The Dawg Pack received accolades in local print and on message boards for their creative cro-magnon chant, while Young earned credit for sporting the first faux-hawk among notable American athletes.
The event: The sixth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs came to Hec Ed for a non-conference matchup with the Huskies. Morrison, the Zags leading man, was regarded as one of the best players in college basketball, but boasted a quirky attitude that left him vulnerable to criticism. His shaggy appearance and “dirty Sanchez” mustache invited a number of opinions on his cleanliness to formulate. One rumor around the Gonzaga basketball program was that Morrison refused to shower, or at least shower frequently enough to meet the standards of normal, hygienic humans.
In response to this rumor, the Dawg Pack went to a local drug store and purchased hundreds of bars of soap, which they passed around the student section. One bar even made its way to the Gonzaga bench. During warmups and pregame introductions, students lofted the bars of soap high overhead and taunted the future Charlotte Bobcat with chants of “Take a shower!,” amongst other barbs.
The aftermath: Morrison, stinky and all, responded by pouring in 43 points in a losing effort as the Dawgs upset their cross-state rivals. After the game, a pouty, tempestuous Bulldog squad walked out of the arena and straight to their buses without confronting the media….and presumably without hitting the showers. Morrison would go on to win Co-National Player of the Year honors (along with Duke’s J.J. Redick) and become the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by Charlotte. He continued to let his hair grow but finally, finally trimmed his scalp in November, four years after his last haircut.
The event: Some would call the Dawg Pack crass. Most, however, would label the UW student section as eclectic, cultured, clever, and witty. The culture of the Pack was on full display during the Huskies 2005 home matchup with the Beavers of Oregon State. With Croatian-born forward Sasa Cuic (pictured right) playing a prominent role for the ’04-’05 Beavs, a Dawg Pack member who’d housed a Croatian exchange student in recent months began spreading a phrase he’d learned from his guest. The phrase, which spelled phonetically sounded like “po-lee cheech mee-ay-uh,” roughly translated to something I cannot repeat in print here (although it had to do with, in politically correct terms, fellatious behavior).
The aftermath: After showering Cuic with Croatian every time he touched the ball, the vulgar phrase finally got to the Beaver forward while at the free-throw line in the second half. Between shots, Cuic acknowledged the Pack with laughter, which he attempted to hide in his jersey. Spotting Cuic’s momentary breakdown, Husky guard Nate Robinson encouraged more chanting of the phrase before hysterics took over a large number of the players on the court.
The Huskies went on to rout the Beavs 108-68, and Sasa “Poli Cheech” Cuic would live on for another two seasons before the forward would leave Corvallis and return to the mother land, Croatia.
8. Fast Food Night; LSU vs. UW; December 20, 2006.
The event: Twelfth-ranked Louisiana State University, led by power forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, came to town to face the #17 Huskies in a non-conference matchup of top-25 teams. Big Baby, currently of the Boston Celtics, had undergone an impressive transformation over the 2006 season, dropping roughly 30 pounds since his team’s appearance in the Final Four in March. Crediting the South Beach Diet and a resistance to fast food for his weight loss, Davis admitted in the media that it had been very difficult maintaining his diet. Seizing a precious opportunity, the Dawg Pack sprung into action, organizing a Fast Food Night on the day of the game.
Beginning early in the day, yours truly got on air with sports radio 950 KJR to promote the evening’s event. With a positive endorsement from the on-air personalities, students urged all fans to bring as much fast food paraphernalia as they could find to the game. Later in the afternoon, Dawg Pack members went out in droves to local fast food establishments to gather pertinent items. Lucky for us, a Burger King employee had heard our message over the airwaves and also happened to be a Husky fan. He graciously donated hundreds of Burger King cardboard crowns and a lifesize cutout of “The King” himself.
A video of the pregame atmosphere in the Dawg Pack.
The aftermath: With a group of rowdy, noisy students armed with BK crowns, the BK King, and images of milkshakes, burgers, and french fries, Big Baby Davis walked into warmups unaware of the storm he had just entered into. Initially responding with laughter at the sight of the King, and jovially trading barbs with the Pack, the tormenting eventually got to Davis by the time the game began. The All-American suffered one of the worst games of his career, totaling a mere eight points on 3-11 shooting while appearing out-of-breath and exhausted throughout most of the night. The game also served as a coming-out of sorts for Husky freshman center Spencer Hawes, who dominated Davis throughout the evening and finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Huskies would go on to win 88-72 in arguably their biggest win of the ’06-’07 season.
The events: The Dawg Pack followed the Huskies to nearby Pullman and Corvallis in consecutive years for matchups against Washington State and Oregon State, respectively. The first Dawg Pack Road Trip took place during the ’04-’05 season as the students gathered on two charter buses and headed to the Palouse (picture at left). Upon arriving in the city that houses WSU and cites an annual Lentil Fest as their biggest municipal celebration, the Dawg Pack caravan was greeted with numerous middle fingers and other obscene gestures from the local townspeople. After making it safely into the Beasley Performing Arts Center, home to the Cougar basketball team, one fan took the liberty of exposing his naked backside to the Pack prior to tipoff.
In the second of the Dawg Pack road trips, the students made the four-hour trip south to Corvallis to watch the Huskies take on the Beavers of Oregon State. Placed strategically next to the Oregon State band, the Pack was greeted with the usual animosity of a rival school and presented with the challenge of overcoming the musical noise beside them.
The aftermath: Seated in the nether reaches of Beasley PAC’s upper rafters, the Dawg Pack provided a noisy presence all game long, cheering for the Huskies and taunting both the Washington State players and fans. With the invention of the now-infamous “Wheat Fields” chant and the last-second yell at the free-throw line, the Dawg Pack came up with two new creations which are still used today. The Dawgs responded to their home crowd by pulling away from the Cougs for a 68-55 road victory. In the following seasons, Washington State would use images of the Dawg Pack and the threat of the Pack showing up at home games as a way to sell tickets for the intra-state matchup.
At Oregon State (picture at right), the Pack quickly managed to overwhelm both the Beaver band and Beaver faithful. As the game quickly became a Husky rout, the OSU crowd began to thin and the focus of attention shifted to the clever visiting student section. Spending more time on the Jumbotron than Beaver fans, the Dawg Pack entertained the Corvallisites throughout their team’s rough performance. The Dawgs ultimately blew the Beavers out of the gym with a 96-63 victory.