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First, we head to the oldest public university on the West Coast where 85% of the student body graduated in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class.
From 1977 through 2003, Washington had 27 consecutive non-losing seasons—the most of any team in the Pac-12. National Champions in 1960, 1984, 1990 and 1991, the program has appeared in the Rose Bowl 14 times, dating back to 1924.
Huskies Stadium is one of the most picturesque places for a college football game, and fans are loud in support of the home team. ESPN measured the noise level at 130 decibels in a 1992 night game against Nebraska, the highest noise level ever recorded at a college football game.
It wasn't long ago the football program was caught up in the biggest scandal in school history.
Athletic director Barbara Hedges turned her head to players' arrests, and Coach Rick Neuheisel essentially fielded a team of thugs to reach the Rose Bowl in 2001.
"When a star player made headlines for crashing his pickup into a retirement home and fleeing, Neuheisel suspended him—for half a game. Legal authorities weren't much tougher on Husky outlaws. When one player was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the judge wrote in her order: 'To be served after football season.'"
The negative attention that turned towards the program led Hedges to fire Neuheisel and eventually to resign from her own post.
Times have changed in Seattle!
Coach Steve Sarkisian has taken over a cleaned up squad and is showing promise to have the Huskies competing at a high level again.
Setting a prime example to his players in valuing a quality education, Sarkisian and his wife just donated $100,000 to the UW College of Education.
"Stephanie and I believe strongly that every bright future must have at its core a solid educational foundation. We both attended public schools so we understand the value of public education," says Sarkisian.
"We created the Sarkisian Endowment Fellowship in Education as a tribute to every educator who commits their life's work to bringing out the best in the students of the state of Washington. Our hope is that this endowment will provide both assistance and enthusiastic encouragement to aspiring public school teachers who believe that all children should have a chance at success in school and life."
Classy, Coach—we are impressed.