Team Gleason – No White Flags

WSU Flag flies on the ESPN College Gameday Show every Saturday during football season.

What started as a simple showing of school pride & spirit quickly turned in to a campaign to get ESPN to come to WSU back in 2003 when the football team was highly ranked. Now, it is a true showing of school pride and spirit.

This is an organized grass-roots effort by the alums and fans of Washington State University. The original organizer, Tom Pounds of Albuquerque, WSU class of 1981, has built a network of almost 200 WSU alums and fans around the nation. Most of these people live within 50 miles of the cities where the show is broadcast but some travel well over 200 miles to get to the show. People are being added to the list constantly.

There have traditionally been 3 flags continuously used; a 5×7 nylon burgundy/crimson flag with a white WSU Cougar logo called “Ol’ Crimson”, a 3×5 nylon commercially made WSU flag which was donated by the student bookstore in 2003 called “Stripey” (since been retired), and a 5×7 nylon white flag with a crimson logo named “Whitey” .  Whitey was retired in 2012 and donated to Coug Steve Gleason’s “Team Gleason” charity for a fundraising item as part of the “#NoWhiteFlags” tagline the organization uses, symbolically never giving up. A new gray flag with crimson logo replaced the white flag in Dallas, TX on September 1, 2012.   In addition, a new version of “Stripey”, a gift from an anonymous waver in 2011, makes an occasional appearance on the show.  All flags (except the book-store flag and the 1st flag) were hand-made by Tom’s Pounds in New Mexico.   Ol’ Crimson is dedicated each year to Tom Pound’s late wife Syndie who made the original in 2003.  Gray is dedicated to Cameron McCoy’s mother Susan.

In addition to the nylon flags, a cloth flag is sent with the flag-kit for signatures of the flag-wavers and autographs from ESPN personalities and WSU sports figures. Signature flags are retired every year. One nylon flag was retired after 2007. The original 2003 and 2004 flags are hanging on trophy walls at WSU.

The flag-kit gets shipped from site-to-site via UPS. As ESPN announces the location of the next CGD show, coordinators (Tom Pounds, and Cameron McCoy of Norman, OK, WSU Class of 1998) e-mail and phone the people on the list in the region/city where the show will be broadcast. As one of the alums or fans responds, the flag-kit is sent from where it was the previous Saturday to where it will be the following Saturday.

Back in 2003 a non-profit corporation, the Ol’ Crimson Booster Club, was created to collect donations and distribute funds for this effort. The OCBC will pay reasonable travel expenses for the flag-wavers when they must travel long distances. The OCBC also pays for all shipping costs associated with getting the flag-kit from one location to the next.

A manual was written back in 2003 to inform the flag-wavers what to do and how to do it, during the show.

Many flag-wavers have done multiple shows over the years. The all-time leader is Craig McDonald with 30+ shows to his credit.