A Tradition unique to the Cougs turns 19 

Waving of Ol’ Crimson symbolic of WSU alumni 



Tom Pounds, President of the Ol’ Crimson Booster Club, waves Ol’ Crimson as fans cheer during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast on Oct. 20 in Pullman.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

For the entirety of many WSU students’ lives, the WSU flag known as Ol’ Crimson has been waved on the College GameDay broadcast. It has been 19 years and 279 broadcasts in which the flag has appeared and it means so much to so many Cougs.

The tradition was started by Tom Pounds, who waved the flag for the first time 19 years ago and has helped organize and sustain the tradition through the ‘Ol Crimson Booster Club. The original flag was made by his late-wife Syndie and the flag is dedicated to her every year.

Working alongside Pounds is Cameron McCoy, McCoy who is in direct contact with each flag waver to get the flag to them and once the broadcast finishes, to get it ready to send to the next alum.

The tradition is unique to WSU and has been unsuccessfully replicated by other schools.

“People try to do it but just can’t. It’s crazy to me how many people think it is just one person doing it and going across the country every week to wave the flag,” McCoy said.

With the Cougs having alumni across the entire country, it just comes down to networking and making sure the flag gets from city to city.

“It’s a relatively simple process as there are so many people who want to wave the flag. A local alum, someone within 50 miles of the site of the broadcast, will reach out and we will ship the flag to them,” McCoy said.

Having such a dedicated group of people who are willing to keep the tradition alive makes it easier for McCoy and Pounds to avoid any potential burnout from trying to keep the tradition alive themselves.

Waving the flag for over 275 straight broadcasts is impressive enough in itself, but there is no end in sight McCoy said.

“It is such an important tradition to more people than just myself. We have made it through thick-n-thin already and with how much it means, I don’t see it ending anytime soon,” he said.

It appears that as long as the broadcast goes on, the flag will be there. Whether it is 10, 20, 30, 40, or more than 50 more years, Ol’ Crimson will find a way to wave.

McCoy recognized the importance of the tradition to alumni across the nation.

“It means something uniquely different to every Coug. To me it shows what it means to be a WSU alum as we have a long list of people who would love to one day wave the flag. I have had people move across the country and they say one of the first things they did was email me to let me know if GameDay is ever close, they’ll wave it,” he said.

ESPN College GameDay finally came to Pullman in 2018 for the matchup versus Oregon. Pounds was there and was recognized on the broadcast as the man who had really put WSU on the map for College GameDay.

The flag has become a vital symbol of the broadcast, as they make sure to point it out every week as well as the production of multiple promos and commercials featuring the tradition including one that debuted on Oct. 1.

Because of one Coug’s passion for their alma mater and other alumni looking at him as inspiration, College GameDay has become an important part of the culture at WSU and the identity of being a Coug.