Washington State Cougars baseball

The Washington State Cougars baseball team is the varsity intercollegiate baseball team of Washington State University, located in Pullman, Washington. The Cougars' home venue is Bailey–Brayton Field, first opened 43 years ago for the 1980 season and located on the university's campus.

Washington State Cougars
2023 Washington State Cougars baseball team
UniversityWashington State University
Head coachBrian Green (4th season)
LocationPullman, Washington
Home stadiumBailey–Brayton Field
(Capacity: 3,500)
ColorsCrimson and gray[1]
College World Series runner-up
College World Series appearances
1950, 1956, 1965, 1976
NCAA Tournament appearances
1950, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2009, 2010
Conference tournament champions
Northwest Conference: 1915
PCC Northern Division: 1927
Pac-8 North: 1972
Pac-10 North: 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990
Regular season conference champions
Northwest Conference: 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918
PCC Northern Division: 1927, 1928, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1956
AAWU: 1960, 1961, 1965, 1966
Pac-8 North: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978
Pac-10 North: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995

The program has been a baseball member of the Pac-12 Conference in NCAA Division I since the start of the 1960 season, following the dissolution of the Pacific Coast Conference. Through 2014, the Cougars have appeared in four College World Series and 16 NCAA Tournaments. In conference postseason play, WSU has won one Northwest Conference Tournament, one Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division Tournament, one Pacific-8 Conference North Division Tournament, and four Pacific-10 Conference Northern Division Tournaments. In regular season play, the program has won five Northwest Conference Championships, 12 Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division titles, four AAWU Championships, nine Pac-8 North Division titles, and 11 Pac-10 North Division titles. As of the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, 32 former Cougars have appeared in Major League Baseball.


Early years

The first season of organized baseball at the school was in 1892, shortly after the school's founding. In that season, the team had an 11–1 record; its first game was a 26–0 victory over Pullman Military College on March 12. After a three-year hiatus from 1893–1895, the team returned for one season in 1896. After another break in 1897, baseball at Washington State returned permanently in 1898. Previously led by team captains, H.E. Lougheed was named its first head coach for the 1901 season. Through the end of the 1909 season, the program competed as an independent and compiled a 110–59–1 (.650) record.[2]

Washington State joined the Northwest Conference in 1910; prior to the 1912–1913 academic year, former head football coach John R. Bender returned to Pullman from Saint Louis University. He also served as the school's head baseball coach beginning with the 1913 season, in which the team won its first Northwest Conference title and finished at 7–1. The team won the conference title in 1914 and 1915, along with the conference tournament in 1915.[2]

After the 1915 season, Bender left to coach football at Kansas State and was replaced by Fred Bohler, who led the team to Northwest Conference titles in 1916 and 1918. Following the 1918 season, the program joined the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), which had been formed in December 1915. In its first season in the PCC, the team finished fourth in 1919.[2]

In 1919, the college adopted the Cougar as its athletic programs' official nickname.[3]

Buck Bailey era

In the summer of 1926, thirty-year-old Buck Bailey came to Pullman as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach.[4][5] Born and raised in central Texas, Bailey played baseball and football at Texas A&M and served in the U.S. Army during the First World War.[4] In his first season as head coach in 1927, the Cougar nine finished first in the PCC North Division and won the PCC Tournament. The team also won the North Division title in 1933, 1936, and 1938.[2]

In 1932, Art McLarney debuted for the New York Giants on August 23 and became the program's first alumnus to play in the major leagues.[6]

Art McLarney, while with the MLB's New York Giants.

In February 1943, Bailey joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. The Eugene Register-Guard article that announced Bailey's departure referred to him as an "athletic comedian," and other sources attest that Bailey had a colorful coaching style.[7][8][9] For three seasons, 1943–1945, basketball coach Jack Friel coached the program.[2][10]

Bailey returned prior to the start of 1946 season and resumed his coaching duties. From 1947–1950, the program won four consecutive PCC North Division titles. This run culminated in the program's first College World Series appearance in 1950, the first College World Series played at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. To qualify, the Cougars defeated Stanford to win the PCC Tournament. At the World Series, WSC opened with three consecutive wins over Tufts, Alabama, and Rutgers,[11] but lost 12–1 to defending champion Texas, who had lost their opener in the double-elimination tournament.[12] The last two teams remaining and both with one loss, the Cougars and Longhorns met again three days later in the national championship game,[13] which Texas won 3–0.[2][14][15] Future major leaguers Ted Tappe and Gene Conley played on the 1950 team.[16]

The program reached the College World Series again under Bailey in 1956. To qualify from District VIII, the team defeated USC in the PCC Tournament. At the CWS in Omaha, the Cougars were eliminated without a win after consecutive defeats to Bradley and New Hampshire,[2][15] and tied for seventh place with NYU.[17]

After the 1959 baseball season, the PCC dissolved on July 1 following a scandal involving illegal payments to football players at several of its schools.[18] In reaction, five former PCC members, formed the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU), which Washington State's baseball program joined when play began in the 1960 season.[19] Later renamed the Pac-8, it became the Pac-10 in 1978 and the Pac-12 in 2011.[20][21]

The program qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of its first two seasons in the AAWU. In both 1960 and 1961, the Cougars were eliminated by USC in Los Angeles in the District VIII Regional.[15]

Three years after his retirement, Bailey and his wife Frances were killed in an automobile collision in New Mexico in October 1964.[5][22]

Bobo Brayton era

Following Buck Bailey's retirement at the end of the 1961 season, the school hired Bobo Brayton, a former Washington State player and head baseball coach at Yakima Valley Junior College for a decade.[23][24] In Brayton's first three seasons, WSU failed to qualify for the postseason, but won the AAWU North Division in 1965 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. In the second round of the District VIII Regional, the Cougars defeated Stanford and advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. WSU finished third, with wins over Texas and Connecticut, and two losses to Ohio State.[2][15][25] The second loss to Ohio State was 1–0 in 15 innings, a complete game by Buckeye starter Steve Arlin, who recorded twenty strikeouts and gave up just three hits.[26]

In 1966, WSU again qualified for the NCAA Tournament but was eliminated by USC in the District VIII Regional finals.[15] Following the season, future major leaguer Danny Frisella was selected by the New York Mets in the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft.[27] Following the 1968 season, two future major leaguers, Rick Austin and Ron Cey, signed professional contracts.[28]

John Olerud, National Player of the Year in 1988, pictured with the MLB's Boston Red Sox.

After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons from 1967–1969, the Cougars won the Pac-8 North Division title and qualified for the Pac-8 Tournament in 1970. This division title started a streak of 11 consecutive North Division titles (1970–1981) and 19 of the 22 from 1970–1991. In that stretch, the program qualified for eight NCAA Tournaments (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990). In 1976, the Cougars hosted and won the West Regional, defeating Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton twice, in order to advance to the College World Series. In its first game, the team defeated Oklahoma, but then was eliminated by consecutive losses to Arizona State and Maine.[2][15][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

Following the 1979 baseball season, renovations of Martin Stadium, Washington State's football venue, led to the construction of a new running track. It was to be located on the site of today's Bailey–Brayton Field, but excavation difficulties led to an exchange of sites. The Mooberry Track was built on the old Bailey Field, north of Martin Stadium, and a new baseball venue was built to the east, retaining the name Bailey Field.[36][37][38]

In 1984, stadium lighting was installed at the venue, and the first nighttime college baseball game in the Pacific Northwest was played between Washington State and Washington on May 11, 1984.[39][40] In 1989, the field hosted Washington State's first nationally televised games, played on April 30 and May 1 against California and shown on ESPN.[41]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, two Cougars were named first team All-Americans. Both John Olerud, selected in 1988, and Aaron Sele, selected in 1990, had lengthy careers in Major League Baseball. In addition to being named an All-American in 1988, Olerud was named the National Player of the Year.[2]

Brayton retired after the 1994 season, finishing his career at WSU with 1,162 wins in 33 seasons. His Cougar teams reached ten NCAA Tournaments and two College World Series.[2][42][43]

Steve Farrington

Steve Farrington, the head coach at Lower Columbia College in Longview for over a decade, was hired to replace Brayton in late June 1994.[44][45] Originally from Newport, Oregon, he was a three-sport athlete at Eastern Washington in Cheney in the early 1970s; four years each of football and baseball and a year of basketball.[45][46] Farrington's first season, 1995, was the third season of NCAA sanctions that had been imposed on the program for rules violations.[47] The Cougars were 18–12 (.600) in conference and won the Pac-10 North, but were swept in the Pac-10 finals in Los Angeles by South champion USC, 9–6 and 4–0.[48] Their overall record of 28–30 (.407) in 1995 was the first losing record at WSU since 1957, and the Cougars did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.[2][49] Pac-10 champion USC advanced to the College World Series and finished as runner-up.

From 1996–1998, Farrington's teams finished third in the Pac-10 North three times, missing the playoffs in each season. In both 1999 and 2000, after the Pac-10 abolished its divisions, Washington State finished last in the Pac-10,[2] with conference records of 4–20 and 6–18, and his contract was not renewed following the 2000 season.[50][51][52] Farrington's overall record with the Cougars in six seasons was 136–198 (.407), with a regular season conference record of 59–73 (.447).[51] He later coached baseball at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, while also teaching science at Richland High School.[53]

Prior to the 2000 season in January, Bailey Field was renamed Bailey–Brayton Field,[54] adding Bobo Brayton's name to the Cougars' home venue.[36][55]

Tim Mooney

In August 2000, Albertson College (College of Idaho) head coach Tim Mooney was hired to replace Farrington.[56][57] Raised in Weiser, Idaho, he played at neighboring Idaho in the late 1970s, the final years of the Vandal baseball program. Mooney had great success as a head coach at Albertson in Caldwell, including an NAIA national title in 1998.[58][59][60]

Under Mooney, the Cougars had losing conference records in each of his four seasons and finished no higher than a tie for eighth in the Pac-10. The only year with a winning overall record was his last in 2004, at 29–26 (.527), and 9–15 (.375) in conference.[61][62] These struggles, combined with cases of Mooney physically and verbally abusing players, led to his resignation following the 2004 season.[2][63][64][65] Mooney's overall record at WSU was 84–135 (.384) and 28–68 (.292) in conference. He was later a fundraiser for athletics for his alma mater in Moscow.[66]

Donnie Marbut era

Donnie Marbut, who had served as an assistant under Mooney for one season in 2004, was promoted to head coach in late May.[65][67] In his first several seasons at the helm, the program continued to struggle, finishing no higher than a sixth-place tie in the Pac-10.[2] Marbut was also officially reprimanded by the university in 2006, when a Seattle Times report revealed that he had falsified parts of his résumé when applying for a coaching position at Washington State.[68][69][70]

In 2009 and 2010, however, the Cougars finished near the top of the Pac-10 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament in both seasons–their first postseason bids in 20 years.[2] In the 2009 tournament, the team appeared in the Norman Regional as a #3 seed. After losing the opening game to Arkansas, the Cougars defeated Wichita State 3–2 in an elimination game. In the next game, however, they were eliminated by Oklahoma. In the 2010 tournament, the team earned a #2 seed in the Fayetteville Regional. This time, the team made it to within one win of the Super Regional round, but lost to Arkansas 7–2 in the elimination game.[15] These are the Cougars' last postseason appearances to date.

After eleven seasons, a 314–304 record, and two post-season appearances, athletic director Bill Moos announced Marbut would not be returning for the 2016 season.[71]

Marty Lees

On June 3, 2015, Marty Lees, an assistant from Oklahoma State was named head coach. After 4 seasons and an 68–132–1 record, Lees was fired on May 21, 2019.

Brian Green

On June 3, 2019, Brian Green was hired as the head coach away from the same position at New Mexico State.[72]

Conference affiliations

  • Independent (1892, 1896, 1898–1909, 1917, 1924)
  • Northwest Conference (1910–1916, 1918)
  • Pacific Coast Conference (1919–1923, 1925–1959)
  • Pac-12 Conference (1960–present)
    • Known as the Athletic Association of Western Universities from 1960–1968
    • Known as the Pacific-8 Conference from 1969–1978
    • Known as the Pacific-10 Conference from 1979–2011


Old Bailey Field

Following the Cougars' runner-up finish at the College World Series in 1950, the program's home venue was renamed Bailey Field.[73][74] The Cougars played at the field through the end of the 1979 season; it was located on the current site of Mooberry Track, with home plate at its northwest corner.[36][75]

Bailey–Brayton Field

Following the 1978 football season, the university expanded Martin Stadium and removed its running track;[76] a new track & field venue was planned to the northeast, at the site of the present baseball stadium. Difficulties in excavation and soil compaction led to the switch of track and baseball sites in 1979, and a new baseball stadium was built;[37][38] it maintained the name Bailey Field when it opened at the start of the 1980 season.[36][77][78]

The field was renovated in 1981, 1984, and 1988. It was renamed Bailey–Brayton Field in early 2000,[54] for Chuck Brayton, the program's head coach from 1962 to 1994. The facility has a capacity of 3,500 spectators and features a FieldTurf surface, electronic scoreboard, and stadium lighting.[36][55]

Head coaches

The Cougars' head coach is Brian Green, hired on June 3, 2019.[79]

The program's longest-tenured and most successful head coach is Chuck Brayton, who was head coach for 33 seasons (1962–1994) and led the Cougars to 1,162 wins.[80]

Year(s) Coach Seasons Record Pct.
1892, 1896,
No coach 5 21–9 .700
1901–1903 H. E. Lougheed 3 24–18 .571
1904 J. N. Ashmore 1 10–2 .833
1905–1906 Everett Sweeley 2 20–12 .625
J. R. Bender 5 69–22–1 .758
1909–1912 Frank Sanger 4 27–36–1 .429
1916–1920 J. Fred Bohler 5 47–27–1 .635
1921–1922 Frank Barber 2 32–12 .728
1923–1926 Harry Applequist 4 66–29–1 .695
Buck Bailey 32 603–325–5 .649
1943–1945 Jack Friel 3 29–24 .547
1962–1994 Chuck Brayton 33 1162–523–8 .689
1995–2000 Steve Farrington 6 138–198 .411
2001–2004 Tim Mooney 4 84–135 .384
2005–2015 Donnie Marbut 11 314–304 .508
2016–2019 Marty Lees 4 68–132–2 .342
2020–present Brian Green 3 62–56 .525
Totals 15 123 2776–1864–17 .598

Yearly records

The following is a list of the program's yearly records since 1892, its first season of varsity competition.[2][21][81][82][83]

Statistics overview
Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Independent (1892–1892)
1892 No coach 11–1
No program (1893–1895)
Independent (1896–1896)
1896 No coach 1–0
No program (1897–1897)
Independent (1898–1909)
1898 No coach 5–3
1899 No coach 4–2
1900 No coach 0–3
1901 H. E. Lougheed 10–6
1902 H. E. Lougheed 5–7
1903 H. E. Lougheed 9–5
1904 J. N. Ashmore 10–2
1905 Everett Sweeley 8–2
1906 Everett Sweeley 12–10
1907 J. R. Bender 16–3
1908 J. R. Bender 14–4–1
1909 Frank Sanger 5–11
Independent: 110–59–1
Northwest Conference (1910–1916)
1910 Frank Sanger 7–126–95th
1911 Frank Sanger 10–7–19–62nd
1912 Frank Sanger 5–63–43rd
1913 J. R. Bender 11–37–11st
1914 J. R. Bender 12–67–11stNWC Tournament
1915 J. R. Bender 16–68–01stNWC Tournament
1916 Fred Bohler 9–7–16–01st
Independent (1917–1917)
1917 Fred Bohler 6–0
Northwest Conference (1918–1918)
1918 Fred Bohler 13–111–11st
NWC: 89–48–357–22–1
Pacific Coast Conference (1919–1923)
1919 Fred Bohler 10–61–44th
1920 Fred Bohler 9–132–76th
1921 Frank Barber 17–68–42nd
1922 Frank Barber 15–610–63rd
1923 Harry Applequist 16–69–32nd (North)
Independent (1924–1924)
1924 Harry Applequist 21–9–1
Pacific Coast Conference (1925–1959)
1925 Harry Applequist 9–84–74th (North)
1926 Harry Applequist 20–66–22nd (North)PCC North Tournament
1927 Buck Bailey 13–56–21st (North)PCC North Tournament
1928 Buck Bailey 13–76–2t-1st (North)PCC North Tournament
1929 Buck Bailey 14–99–72nd (North)
1930 Buck Bailey 16–88–84th (North)
1931 Buck Bailey 15–109–72nd (North)
1932 Buck Bailey 19–711–42nd (North)
1933 Buck Bailey 16–58–41st (North)
1934 Buck Bailey 14–87–52nd (North)
1935 Buck Bailey 15–128–8t-3rd (North)
1936 Buck Bailey 15–8–212–4–11st (North)
1937 Buck Bailey 16–712–42nd (North)
1938 Buck Bailey 12–1510–6t-1st (North)
1939 Buck Bailey 16–1310–62nd (North)
1940 Buck Bailey 18–109–62nd (North)
1941 Buck Bailey 17–138–8t-3rd (North)
1942 Buck Bailey 23–117–7t-2nd (North)
1943 Jack Friel 10–166–104th (North)
1944 Jack Friel 10–33–11st (North)
1945 Jack Friel 9–53–01st (North)
1946 Buck Bailey 17–136–104th (North)
1947 Buck Bailey 23–11–111–51st (North)PCC Tournament
1948 Buck Bailey 21–78–31st (North)PCC Tournament
1949 Buck Bailey 33–912–41st (North)PCC Tournament
1950 Buck Bailey 32–612–21st (North)College World Series
1951 Buck Bailey 30–1111–52nd (North)
1952 Buck Bailey 19–156–104th (North)
1953 Buck Bailey 14–14–18–83rd (North)
1954 Buck Bailey 18–127–94th (North)
1955 Buck Bailey 13–86–43rd (North)
1956 Buck Bailey 28–811–31st (North)College World Series
1957 Buck Bailey 14–215–115th (North)
1958 Buck Bailey 19–119–5t-2nd (North)
1959 Buck Bailey 20–1510–62nd (North)
PCC: 699–393–5314–217–1
AAWU/Pac-8/Pac-10/Pac-12 (1960–present)
1960 Buck Bailey 29–69–21st (North)NCAA Regional
1961 Buck Bailey 21–108–41st (North)NCAA Regional
1962 Chuck Brayton 18–12–18–53rd (North)
1963 Chuck Brayton 24–87–73rd (North)
1964 Chuck Brayton 31–910–62nd (North)
1965 Chuck Brayton 33–814–41st (North)College World Series
1966 Chuck Brayton 35–8–115–11st (North)NCAA Regional
1967 Chuck Brayton 22–107–66th (North)
1968 Chuck Brayton 29–911–73rd (North)
1969 Chuck Brayton 27–158–13t-6th (North)
1970 Chuck Brayton 30–11–19–61st (North)Pac-8 Tournament
1971 Chuck Brayton 34–157–81st (North)Pac-8 Tournament
1972 Chuck Brayton 29–1314–4t-1st (North)Pac-8 Tournament
1973 Chuck Brayton 40–1515–31st (North)Pac-8 Tournament
1974 Chuck Brayton 38–914–4t-1st (North)
1975 Chuck Brayton 33–1813–51st (North)NCAA Regional
1976 Chuck Brayton 43–1516–21st (North)College World Series
1977 Chuck Brayton 39–1714–41st (North)NCAA Regional
1978 Chuck Brayton 41–1715–31st (North)NCAA Regional
1979 Chuck Brayton 40–1112–31st (North)Pac-10 Tournament
1980 Chuck Brayton 36–10–211–31st (North)Pac-10 Tournament
1981 Chuck Brayton 27–25–111–7t-2nd (North)
1982 Chuck Brayton 34–1616–8t-1st (North)
1983 Chuck Brayton 40–16–116–82nd (North)
1984 Chuck Brayton 41–2015–6t-1st (North)NCAA Regional
1985 Chuck Brayton 45–2216–81st (North)Pac-10 North Tournament
1986 Chuck Brayton 35–2411–124th (North)Pac-10 North Tournament
1987 Chuck Brayton 44–1918–61st (North)NCAA Regional
1988 Chuck Brayton 52–1418–41st (North)NCAA Regional
1989 Chuck Brayton 37–2016–81st (North)Pac-10 North Tournament
1990 Chuck Brayton 48–1919–51st (North)NCAA Regional
1991 Chuck Brayton 37–2514–61st (North)Pac-10 North Tournament
1992 Chuck Brayton 31–23–116–142nd (North)
1993 Chuck Brayton 34–2416–13t-3rd (North)
1994 Chuck Brayton 35–2611–195th (North)
1995 Steve Farrington 28–3018–121st (North)Pac-10 finals [48]
1996 Steve Farrington 26–3512–123rd (North)
1997 Steve Farrington 13–427–173rd (North)
1998 Steve Farrington 25–2412–123rd (North)
1999 Steve Farrington 24–314–209th
2000 Steve Farrington 20–366–189th
2001 Tim Mooney 15–396–189th
2002 Tim Mooney 21–336–189th
2003 Tim Mooney 19–377–17t-8th
2004 Tim Mooney 29–269–15t-8th
2005 Donnie Marbut 21–371–239th
2006 Donnie Marbut 36–2310–148th
2007 Donnie Marbut 28–2610–14t-6th
2008 Donnie Marbut 30–268–169th
2009 Donnie Marbut 32–2519–82ndNCAA Regional
2010 Donnie Marbut 37–2215–123rdNCAA Regional
2011 Donnie Marbut 26–2810–179th
2012 Donnie Marbut 28–2812–18t-8th
2013 Donnie Marbut 23–329–2110th
2014 Donnie Marbut 24–3014–167th
2015 Donnie Marbut 29–2711–199th
2016 Marty Lees 19–3511–1911th
2017 Marty Lees 24–2910–209th
2018 Marty Lees 16–32–17–2210th
2019 Marty Lees 11–42–13–26–111th
2020 Brian Green 9–70–0Season canceled due to COVID-19
2021 Brian Green 26–2313–17
Pac-12: 1851–1347–10677–600

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Notable former players

Eddie Bonine, while with the Detroit Tigers
Cliff Chambers, while with the Pittsburgh Pirates

The following is a list of notable former Cougars and the seasons in which they played for the program.[2][16][84]

2012 MLB Draft

Five Cougars were selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft: 1B Taylor Ard by the Seattle Mariners (7th round), OF Derek Jones by the Colorado Rockies (8th round), 2B Tommy Richards by the Baltimore Orioles (24th round), OF Kyle Johnson by the Los Angeles Angels (25th round), and 3B Patrick Claussen (34th round).[85] All five players elected to sign professional contracts.[86][87][88][89][90]


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