The most beloved Cougs in recent history 

Players from all sports becoming celebrities in Pullman



Cougar legend Gardner Minshew II is placed fourth on all-time quarterbacks list.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

Throughout the years and through the school’s long history, WSU has had its fair share of notable athletes come through. Whether they played for just a single year or more than four, many athletes have made their mark on the school and its fanbase. 

To celebrate the love of Valentine’s Day, let’s spread love to some former and current Cougs by looking at just a couple of the most beloved student-athletes to make their way through Pullman.

Gardner Minshew

Graduate quarterback Gardner Minshew poses for photos after their 19-13 win against California on Nov. 3 in Martin Stadium. Minshew finished second in the nation in passing completion percentage and first in completions.

You really cannot start with anyone other than Minshew Mania himself. Transferring to WSU for the 2018 season, he won the Pac-12 player of the year award and went 11-2 as a starter. He finished in the top five of voting for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in college football. 

His impact was seen with students all across campus wearing his jersey and wearing fake mustaches to emulate the Cougs’ quarterback. Not only did he dominate on the field, but he was a vital part of College Gameday coming to WSU, something that many fans were waiting for them to do finally.

After his time at WSU, he went to the NFL, where he is currently the backup on the Philadelphia Eagles, a team playing in the Super Bowl Sunday. 

Morgan Weaver

Senior forward Morgan Weaver weaves past Arizona defenders Thursday night at the Lower Soccer Field.

A four-year soccer player at WSU, Weaver was named to the All-Pac-12 first, second, third and freshman teams during her four seasons, completing the Conference team ladder during her collegiate playing career. 

In the 2020 NWSL draft, she was taken second overall by the Portland Thorns, allowing her to stay in the PNW to compete professionally. In 2022, the Thorns won the NWSL Championship, which led to an iconic picture of Weaver celebrating the win in the best way the Cougs know how to. 

Klay Thompson 

Former WSU basketball player and current NBA player Klay Thmpson waves a shirt above his head during the basketball game against OSU Saturday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum. Thompson had his jersey retired during halftime, becoming the second player to have his jersey retired as a Cougar.

The Coug with the most prominent professional career is that of one-half of the splash brothers, Klay Thompson. A three-time NBA Champion and one of the best shooters in NBA history, he has cemented himself as a future Hall of Famer with his play on the court. 

He is probably the first player that comes to mind when you think of athletic success beyond college and he deserves his roses as a five-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA third-team and Olympic Gold Medalist player.

Magda Jehlarova 

Then-freshman middleblocker Magda Jehlarova spikes ball on Nov. 15, 2019 in Bohler.

The first active Coug on the list is one of the greatest to come through the volleyball program. The list of accomplishments that she has under her belt is astonishing, as she is not done yet, as she is returning for a fifth year in 2023. 

Jehlarova is second all-time in career blocks with over 600 and has been an honoree of the All-Pac-12 team all four years as a Coug. In 2022, she was named scholar-athlete of the year in the Conference and next year will hopefully be her greatest yet. 

Jen Greeny 

WSU volleyball head coach Jen Greeny catches a ball during warm-ups before an NCAA volleyball match against Utah, Nov. 18, 2022.

Jehlarova’s coach was no slouch either during her playing career. Greeny, alongside her husband and assistant coach Burdette Greeny, has created a culture of winning for WSU volleyball, making it to seven straight NCAA Tournaments, including 2022. 

Greeny has shown dedication to WSU from being a player in the late ’90s and now as a two-time Pac-12 coach of the year that any fan can admire and appreciate. 

Dean Janikowski 

WSU kicker Dean Janikowski kicks a field goal during an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Sep. 17.

The final player on this list may be surprising. As a kicker, Janikowski is not the first player you think of to be getting praise and love from the Cougar faithful. 

Despite that, during the 2022 football season, he became synonymous with what it means to be a Coug. He has created a fundraiser to raise money for cancer treatment available to those who cannot afford it as he lost his mom to cancer in 2022. His cause has raised over $17,700 and he is getting love from Cougs and non-Cougs alike for his efforts.