A song to inspire future WSU generations

The marketing department wanted to include best moments of Cougar football; originally a one-time use video


Prenguber cannot think of a better song for WSU and he hopes “Back Home” remains a part of it.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen roots editor

The Andy Grammer Song, “Back Home” has become synonomous with the WSU community. It has been played at football games at the end of the first quarter since 2015. 

Anyone who has attended a football game probably knows that when this song is played the entire stadium goes crazy. People cannot help, but sing the lyrics to this catchy song that represents what it means to be a Coug.

The WSU marketing department wanted to create a video that told the story of Washington State University and what it is like to attend.

WSU video producer Jared Prenguber said the WSU marketing department asked him to create the video after the homecoming game.

“Cougar football was kind of on an upswing, we were starting to catch fire,” he said.

The WSU Cougars played Oregon State University that year. Prenguber said it was one of those games that everyone would remember.

“There was pandemonium on the field, a ton of Cougar fans in the visiting section at Oregon just going crazy,” he said. “This was one of those times that I’ll never forget as a Cougar fan.”

Prenguber had been a part of the WSU community for eight years as a student and alumni and felt he had a good understanding of Cougar history, he said.

Jennifer Hanson, former WSU Athletics director of marketing and promotions, said the marketing department always tries to make the game experience bigger and better for the fans.

Originally, the games included a single video in the fourth quarter, she said.

Former communications consultant Jonathan Ingham found the Andy Grammer song the summer before the video was created and it was initially a one-time use video idea, Hanson said.

They wanted the video to emulate the past, future and uniqueness of WSU, she said.

Hanson said head of communications Bill Stevens was tasked with coming up with the greatest moments of Cougar football. They used a lot of footage the university had recorded in the past.

They wanted to include the best moments of football, the campus and not let anyone question whether or not they should have included something, she said.

“We wanted this video to either make you run through a wall or start crying,” she said.

Prenguber said they followed the lyrics to the song to decide what to include. The video has evolved over the years, but there are some moments, like the 1916 Rose Bowl, will always be included.

“At the same time, I’m pretty sure the black and white 1916 Rose Bowl clip is a keeper,” he said.

The video was previewed by several people and all of the feedback emulated the same thing, Hanson said.

This also would not have been possible without Marty Northcroft, former WSU assistant director of marketing. He supported it from day one, she said.

They aired the original video the following Saturday, he said. But before the video aired, Prenguber’s father was able to view the video.

Prenguber said his feedback was that the song had a lot of “la’s and da’s.” He did not seem impressed.

People were not really singing, Hanson said. But during the line, “oh no the city won’t change us” someone cheered and people have cheered ever since.

“The better part of 35,000 fans have been singing it out loud for five or six years now including my Dad, so he came around eventually,” Prenguber said.

The video still circulates today. Hanson said it is not uncommon for people to share it online, especially last fall when people were really missing the song.

“I can’t think of a better song or better title for the video, I hope Pullman and “Back Home” are linked forever,” Prenguber said.  “It was really one of my all-time favorite projects to be a part of.”

Prenguber said the original video currently has 1.3 million views.