‘Big Joe’ Salave’a on Cougs: Washington State “is the Next Big Thing” In Pac-12 Football


Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Washington State Cougars mascot Butch celebrates in the crowd after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars are in great hands with their football coaching staff, particularly those of “Big Joe” Salave’a. Coach Joe had some interesting things to say when asked about his most recent job opportunities, but more about that in a moment.

Cougars everywhere know that coach Salave’a isn’t just the biggest guy on the field wearing a hat and a whistle due to his NFL lineman-made body, but he’s also perhaps the most important coach the Cougars have possessed these past three years on the recruiting trail. The football team has become decidedly more open to going after Samoan-ethnic players, all the way from the homelands of American Samoa to the Northwest. It’s been paying off.

Two schools that really noticed the headway the Cougars are making in that area went after Salave’a hard this Winter. The Washington Huskies and USC Trojans, both under the leadership of new coaching staffs, offered him higher-paying opportunities to leave WSU high-and-dry. While he was flattered by the show of respect and need from two of the most high-profiled destinations in the Pac-12, he had a message for them and the rest of the conference.

"“This is not a bus stop or just a destination. Some people go to one stop and hope to get to the next big thing, but I can tell you, Washington State is the big thing. Wazzu and being here in the Palouse is not one of those things where it’s a desperate move. This is the place to be and if you want to get on, this is the time to get on.”"

That pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Mike Leach reeled himself a big-time fish in the coaching world and the Cougs are only better because of it. As a fan, that makes me boil with pride. The culture change is still in progress and our coaching staff is on the offensive to continue making this a permanent landmark for college football athletes to know of.

For more on coach Joe read this fascinating story on him by Cougfan, which includes a junior-high memory that changed the course his life.