Since the tradition began, the Washington State Cougars’ school flag has proudly made 147 consecutive appearances on ESPN’s “College GameDay.” It graced a nation of televisions during the weekly college football preview show Saturday in Auburn, Ala. – so now where’s it going? It’s going to Disney World.
The family of Washington State guard Will DiIorio made sure the Cougars and their fans worldwide were well represented during the Old Spice Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
DiIorio’s mom, Rosalyn, and her husband Paul Triesch, along with Will’s brother Charlie, 10, and sister Sophia, 7, sat directly behind the Cougars’ bench Sunday afternoon as Washington State faced Saint Joseph’s, and they waved the Wazzu flag throughout Game 9 of the three-day tournament, as they did in the Cougars’ previous two games. (Will’s other brother, Gabriel, also a WSU student, was representing the Cougars, too -- at Saturday’s Apple Cup vs. Washington in Seattle.)
The Cougars (3-4) finished sixth in the eight-team field Sunday with a 72-67 loss to the Hawks (4-2).
The DiIorio family traveled one week ago to theme park central and have taken the flag with them everywhere. The WSU symbol – which for the last decade has become rather synonymous with college football Saturday mornings on TV every fall – was making a rare appearance in the Sunshine State. The Cougars haven’t played a game in Florida since 1976.
“It’s been to Disney, it’s been to Universal Studios, it’s been to Cocoa Beach,” Triesch said of the Cougars’ famous banner. “We fly it every gameday during basketball season, during football season we fly it every Saturday.”
Triesch said his clan wouldn’t have missed the cross-country trip from Bainbridge Island, Wash., to support the school they love.
“That’s what it is to be a Coug, it’s all family,” said Paul, who also attended Wazzu, as did his brother. “It’s important. Cougar Nation is a tight nation, it’s a family, and we want to be behind the team, with the flag. That’s why we do it.”