By Bill Stevens, WSU Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – The recruiting room inside the Cougar Football Complex at Washington State University has been named the Steve Gleason Recruit Suite in honor of the WSU Athletic Hall of Famer who played football and baseball 1995-99 and in the NFL 2000-07 for the New Orleans Saints.
“Pullman has been a big part of my development,” said Gleason, who was at WSU for the naming Wednesday. “I have amazing memories from my time here and I am excited I could be here in person today. Thanks again for including me. Go Cougs!”
The naming opportunity arrived courtesy of Cougar alumnus Glenn Osterhout’s donation of $250,000. With his pledge, Osterhout, a 1983 graduate who is a certified financial planner in Bellevue, was presented the opportunity to name the recruiting room inside the Cougar Football Complex.
“The recruiting room was something I was very interested in because that is a big part of what the football operations building is about, bringing in top-notch student-athletes,” said Osterhout. “I wanted the room to be about somebody. Steve will be an inspiration to a lot of young men who will come through that room.”
“I am stoked to be a small part of this,” said Gleason. “We need to thank Glenn Osterhout for providing the funding for the room and facility. Finally, I’d like to thank my man Jason Gesser (WSU Athletics development) for coordinating this.”
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. He and his foundation, Team Gleason, have been global leaders in raising awareness and improving the lives of those affected by the disease.
The release of “Gleason,” a documentary depicting his life while living with ALS, debuted late last month in select theaters to high critical acclaim. The movie will be shown in Gleason’s home town of Spokane, Wash., Aug. 5 at the AMC River Park Square theaters and again Aug. 12 at Village Centre cinemas.
Gleason was a four-year letter winner in both football and baseball during his time at WSU. On the football field he was a two-time team captain, garnered All-Pacific 10 Conference honors three times and finished his career with 282 tackles, ninth-most in school history. He was a key figure on defense for the 1997 squad that made WSU’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1931. As a member of the baseball team, he was team captain his senior year, and his 12 career triples were tied for third when he left.
He may be best remembered for blocking a punt that resulted in a touchdown in the New Orleans Saints’ first game in that city in nearly 21 months, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.