Chapter 28

Lee Bjella 2015


WSU Exhibition 1917 pamphlet

In the early 1900's, Washington State College had a football coach named Oscar Paul Osthoff (March 23, 1883 – December 9, 1950).
He had been known as the "Little Giant" at the University of Wisconsin and he was considered one of the most versatile athletes in their history. He won eight varsity letters in four sports: gymnastics, swimming, football and track. He coached football at WSC in 1910 and 1911.

Oscar won the gold medal in the all-around dumbbell event and a silver in the two hand lift in the 1904 Olympics.

He appears in a pamphlet for a gymnastics exhibition in 1917 at WSC. It is well noted that gymnastics was a great part of all physical education training in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Those men and women who went out to teach Physical Education, had much training in light and heavy apparatus, depending on the wave or fad of instruction of the time.

1941 Muscle Beach, California influence at WSU: "Although an excellent gymnast, John Kornoff attended Washington State College on a football scholarship until war was declared.  In 1941, after two years of college, he joined the Army Air Force and became the first physical training instructor at Mitchell Field in New York.” Pg. 66 from Remembering Muscle Beach.

When America went to war in 1941, Muscle Beach went with it. 
The City of Santa Monica sent Zinkin, Saunders and Ran Hall out to promote the sale of war bonds. Subsequently, they and most of their pals served in the armed forces. One of them, John Kornoff, appeared on the cover of LOOK magazine, bare-chested, holding a rifle, as a symbol of the American fighting man. As much as anything else, Zinkin believes, that photo was “the beginning of a change of attitude regarding fitness,” but, he adds, “It was certainly revolutionary to see a Muscle Beach regular glorified instead of vilified.” (From “New Book Celebrates Santa Monica Heyday” article By Peggy Clifford. Santa Monica Mirror Editor - 1999 book review of Remembering Muscle Beach by Harold Zinkin 1999 Angel City Press, Inc.)


Quote from the Washington State University yearbook Chinook of 1941: “The varsity tumbling squad in action. TUMBLING Tumblers of Washington State established a great reputation for themselves during the post season for their remarkable exhibitions. Popular artist of the team was Coach Bill Bond's pride and joy - Johnny Kornoff, who thrilled audiences with his high bar and trapeze acts. All in all, Cougar tumblers took another step toward a major goal - that of being recognized as one of the popular sportsmen of the campus and minor sports status."



1947 marks the arrival of John Hubert (Hubie) Dunn from Illinois to Washington State College in Pullman. He was surprised at the lack of knowledge in the field of modern gymnastics, and that there were no competitive teams in the colleges or high schools in the four state area. He started an exhibition team at WSC (later WSU), which traveled to local high Hubie Dunnschools at the spring break of 1948, to promote gymnastics in Washington. On April 30, 1949, the Washington State College Team met for a competitive meet at Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana. This was the first competitive gymnastic meet held in Montana and the first competitive meet for the state of Washington.

Hubie Dunn's contribution to men's as well as women's gymnastics in this state needs to be noted. He started the first collegiate men's team in this state, as well as influencing his male gymnasts in such a way that many turned to coaching both men's and women's gymnastics. From his first team, Lyle Pugh went on to coach high school boys and girls, having one of the powerhouses in the state with the girl's teams. Rex Davis, and Thorne Tibbits also went on to coach. Gerry McHugh, former teammate and close friend of Hubie's coached the WSC team the year Hubie took sabbatical. Later notable gymnasts who went on to coach are Brad Loan who coached many elite level female gymnasts and Jim Holt who coached the UW men's team, and high school girl's teams, as well as becoming a judge. Also, John Smith, who later opened NASA gymnastics and coached many champions. Hubie was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 2006. (And the WA USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2004.)


(The following data is found in Robert Bosse's UW thesis as noted in the bibliography, from personal letters and correspondence from Dunn to Bjella in 2002-03 and in news releases from WSU.)


The first competitive season:
First Team: 1948-1949 Wayne Aeschilman, Charles Eggleston, Roy Goss, Leo Kluesner, Gerry McHugh, Jack Olson, Lyle Pugh, Roy Rost. Gerry went on to coach as did Lyle Pugh. Lyle went to the Spokane area and coached girls at Shadle Park High School. They had one of the strongest teams in the state in the early 1970's.

WSC lost its very first meet - the first Washington collegiate meet- to Montana State College at Bozeman. The score was 43.5 to 36.5. MSC was coached by Robert Fleiger and this was Montanas first collegiate gymnastics meet in history.

The first Pacific Northwest AAU Gymnastics Championships (PNWAAU) held since WWII, was held in Vancouver, but no records remain.


The first collegiate gymnastics meet in Washington history was held at WSC on March 11, 1950, with Washington State beating Montana 58-22.
The team had traveled to Vancouver, B.C. the previous weekend to beat the University of B.C. 60-36. UBC was coached by Doug Whittle.
Next was a victory over the U of Idaho in Pullman, 49-31, then back up to Vancouver for the PNWAAU. (WSC was 2nd.)
Dunn's team then beat Oregon State College in Corvallis, 103.5-57.5. This was the first collegiate meet ever held in Oregon.


WSC beat U of Idaho, coached by Richard Smith , 72-24, in Pullman, and then WSC traveled to Moscow, Idaho to beat them again, 67.5-28.5. This would mark the very first collegiate gymnastics meet in Idaho.
WSU then beat UBC 80.5-31.5, in Pullman and later traveled to Montana to win there, 67-29.
This years PNWAAU was held in Seattle. Dunn split up the team into two teams and team #1 took 2nd place, and team #2 took 3rd.


The team started in September and was finished in May, with 6 meets and 16 exhibitions. They won all their meets, and also took first at the PNAAU but didn't have the funds to go to the NCAA Championships in Colorado!
WSC 59, UI 36
WSC 63.5, MSC 30.5
WSC 80, UBC 45;
WSC 66, Victoria Pro-Rec 59
WSC 60.5, UI 35.5


The Cougars won competitions in meets with UI 62-34; against UBC, 92-36 with UI getting 48 points; and for a 3rd time beat the UI in another match up, 56-40. The team did travel to California but lost to both the teams they were competing against.(U of Cal 74 - WSC 60 and USC 76.5 - WSC 61.5.) WSC would travel to California for 11 seasons without any California team reciprocating. The team attended the PNWAAU meet in B.C.


The sixth competitive season for the Cougars and they started out the season beating Stanford and San Jose; WSC 82 to Stanfords 59, and WSC 92 1/3 to San Jose's 40 1/3. The PNWAAU was held in BC again. (WSC was the only full team there, and was not awarded the trophy because they were the only team entered in that division.)


WSC beat Idaho, 83.5-25.5. The next week WSC vs. Idaho, but lost 77-34. In its first competition ever against UCLA the Cougars lost, 55-26; but WSC beat the U of California, 43.5-37.5. WSC traveled to UW for the PNWAAU Championships under Eric Hughes direction. The Cougars won with 108.5 points. The Vancouver YMCA was second with 62 points, and the Husky Gymnastics Club was third with 6 points.

This year (1955) saw the start of the Pacific Northwest College Invitational Meet thanks to Hubie Dunn. It was held at WSC. There was competition on ten events: Free Ex., trampoline, rope climb, side horse, long horse, horizontal bar, parallel bars, flying rings, tumbling, and all-around. WSC won. Team members were: Roger Richert, Shelton; Dale Steindorf, Walla Walla; Matt Brislawn, Pullman; Roy Wellman, Seattle; Noel Brown, Mead; Clinton Glover, Clarkston; William Monlux, Everett; Obe Healea, Moses Lake; Al Trout, Mazama; Jery Deuker, El Cerrito, CA.; James Thurston, Lake Stevens; Neal Wood, Pullman; Karl Hansen, Denmark; and David Weatherly, Clarkston.


Gerry McHugh (1950 WSU grad and former teammate of Dunn at Southern Ill. U.) was the interim coach for this year while Dunn went back to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to work on his doctorate.
(Records show Gerry attending Southern Illinois University with Dunn for his first two years of college.)

Karl Hansen, injured on Feb. 21, 1956, is paralyzed from the shoulders down. Karl was a Danish athlete who was injured in a fall, and was still recovering in a local hospital by the start of the '56-'57 season.

WSC beat Idaho in the first meet of the season, 82-45. Next they went to UW -the first meeting for the two teams, and narrowly beat the Huskies, 74-70. They then took their annual trip to California, beating Stanford 79-47, but losing to the University of California Berkley, 104-24. Back home, they beat UW 81.5-62.5 and Idaho 95.5-30.5.

Lettermen leaving the team were Karl Hansen, Bill Monlux, Neal Wood, Matt Brislawn, Roy Wellman, James Thurston, and David Weatherly.


From news clippings, Dunn commented that WSC had only four returning lettermen, Al Stout (Ridgefield), Thorne Tibbits (Spanaway), Noel Brown (Mead) (captain) and Roger Richert (Shelton), having lost seven from the previous year. He felt they were a very young team, but by the following year, they would do well. Other team members included Woodward (Woody) Davis (Tacoma), Dick Horner (Kennewick), Bob Booth (Pullman), Charles Hunt (Bellingham), Jay Eliason (Clarkston), Ivan Clemons (Kettle Falls), Payson Hall (Bellevue), Richard Hankinson (Spokane), and Al Jenkins (Cle Elum).

Eric Hughes commented that WSC was the strongest team in the district. WSC's first meet of the year had them beating Eastern Washington College (EWC, later EWU) at Eastern, 80-64. A week later, the Cougars beat them again at home, 81.5-62.5. Noel Brown, named captain before the meet, was so pumped up by the honor that he went out and won three events. Throne Tibbets and Jay Eliason also took firsts. Jay would go on to be a superb rope climber for WSC.

With the help of Woody Davis, Noel Brown and James Nakasone, WSC was able to narrowly (73-71) beat the UW. Of the nine events competed, the UW won 5.
WSC traveled to Seattle and the UW beat them 88.5-55.5.
Roger Richert won rope climb and tied for first in side horse. He also took 3rd in trampoline. Thorne Tibbitts won horizontal bar.
In March, Cougars took first at the PNW College Invitational Meet (held in Pullman), and second at the PNAAU Championships hosted by Seattle Pacific College (later SPU). (UW won the PNAAU with Bill Crow doing well, and Ron Sullivan of EWC also doing well. Newspaper clippings of the time note that Ron was a former WSC gymnast.) Thorne Tibbits won the only first place for the Cougars on horizontal bar.
Letter winners this year were Eliason, Davis, Hall, Tibbetts, Booth, Brown, Stout, and Richert, with Stout elected captain for next year. All will return for next year except Richert.

One newspaper article from this era described the gymnasts as "Brave athletes with the grace of wind blown grass."


Al Stout was captain this year. The Cougars defeated UBC in January and then UW (76-52) in February. The Cougars were noted as not having lost a meet in the Bohler gym in ten years. Jay Eliason took first in rope climb and side horse. Thorne Tibbits won horizontal bar, and Noel Brown won flying rings. Al Stout won P.Bars.

WSC went over to Seattle and was beaten by the Huskies (88.5 -70.5). They then traveled to Canada to beat UBC again (90-70).
WSC then placed first in the Pacific Northwest College Invitational, and second in the PNWAAU. (Roger Richert whose college eligibility had been used up, took first in rope climb.)

They took fifth in the Pacific Coast Conference Gymnastics Championship Meet. (This meet included: UCLA, USC, UC, Berkeley, UW, WSC, and Stanford.) The team had returning lettermen Robert Booth, Noel Brown (senior), Woody Davis, Jay Eliason, Allan Stout (senior ) and Thorne Tibbitts. Also returning were Ivan Clemons, Charles Hunt (senior), Allan Jenkins, James Nakasone, Jack Otterson, Lewis Riley and Van Burris who had just transferred in from Olympic Junior College.


Thorne Tibbitts captain with six other lettermen returning, including Bob Booth, Van Burris, Ivan Clemons, Jay Eliason, Al Jenkins and Jack Otterson. Also returning were Woody Davis, New York: Skip Woodward, Clark Henry, and Randy Thompson.
New members were Terry Pierson, Pullman: Steve James, Kennewick: Dick Blaisdell, Randle: Jerry Storie, Cle Elum: and Randy Thompson, Kent.

The team beat UBC and Eastern in their first home meet of the season; WSU 113 - Eastern 45, and WSC 84.5 - UBC 73.5. Jay took first in rope and side horse, and third on parallel bars. The next weekend in Cheney, WSC beat Eastern 118-41. On Feb. 13th, in Seattle, WSC lost to UW 95.5-84.5. The next day UBC beat WSC 83-77.

Back in Pullman the next weekend, UW beat the Cougars 95.5-64.5. The team then traveled to Highline High School for the PNW AAU championships where they placed second to UBC, with UW coming in third. Jay Eliason tied for first in rope climb and Woody Davis got first in long horse. They traveled to Vancouver for the Pacific Northwest College Invitational on Feb. 28. This was the first time in the meet's six years that the meet was not held in Pullman. It would now rotate among participating schools. WSU took third at the PNW college meet.

Five members of the team went to Nationals in Berkley.(Tibbitts, Jenkins, Otterson, Eliason and Davis.) This was the first year that any Pacific NW college had been represented in the NCAA Championship. Jay Eliason was the only WSU gymnast to ever place in the Nationals in rope climb -9th place.


WSC became WSU.
Jay Eliason captain. (Side note: Jay did not have any gymnastics experience before entering WSU. He was not only good in the rope climb, he was also strong on side horse.)

35 men tried out for Varsity. Returning lettermen were Eliason, Davis, Henry, James, Jenkins, Otterson, Pierson, Storie and Thompson.
At home on January 22nd, WSU beat Eastern 93-51, winning 8 of 9 events. Eliason, rope climb, Steve James, still rings and p bars, Woodie Davis, free ex and tumbling. (Jack Benson, Eastern, won flying rings.) Then at Cheney on February 6th, WSU beat Eastern 82.5 - 61.5. Woody Davis won free ex. and tumbling; Randy Thomson, tramp; Jay Eliason, rope climb and side horse; Allan Jenkins, horizontal bar; and Steve James, parallel bars.

In Seattle, UW beat WSU in Seattle 90.5- 53.5. Jay got 15 of the points. (UW had Norwegian National Champion on rings on their team.) At Seattle,UBC beat WSU 96-64. Eliason won rope and side horse. Woody Davis won free ex., and Steve James won parallel bars.

WSU then traveled north to Vancouver where they lost 96-64 to UBC. The next day, UBC went to Pullman for a tri meet with UW and WSU. The Cougars lost again to UW, 87.5-56.5 but they beat UBC 89-71. Jay Eliason won rope climb and side horse against UW. The next day, WSU gymnasts, against UBC, won 9 first places. (Woody Davis and Steve James each got three firsts.) Jay set the record the rope climb at Bohler Gym with a time of 4.6 seconds and then later at 4.4 seconds. Jay defeated powerhouse Deiter Weichert at UBC on side horse. (Deiter was on the Canadian Pan American team the year before.)

For the sixth year in a row, WSU traveled to California. For the sixth year in a row, they beat San Jose State and Stanford in a tri-dual meet. WSU 72.5, San Jose 58.5 and Stanford 46. The next day they placed eighth out of sixteen teams at the Pacific Coast Championship meet at Berkeley. At the Inland Empire AAU Meet, held at Cheney, saw the WSU cougars win the senior division. Jay Eliason won rope climb and side horse. Thirteen Cougar gymnasts spent their Spring Break touring Western Washington High Schools, putting on exhibitions. They went to Chehalis then to Centralia, Olympia, Fife, Bethal, and Bothell. This was not a new thing for WSU. Hubie started doing tours soon after he arrived at Pullman.

At the Pacific NW College meet in Seattle shows UW winning, with WSU taking 3rd. Jay Eliason set a new all-time PNW record with 4.1 in rope climb. WSU did not attend the PNW AAU meet this year.


Dr. J. Fred Bohler died in 1960. He was a coach, athletic director and PE administrator for 42 years.

WSU traveled to Cheny on Jan. 21st for a tri meet against UBC and Eastern.(Eastern was now being coached by WSU alumni Thorne Tibbitts.) WSU was second with 73.5 to Easterns 75.5 and UBC's 69.5. Eastern again beat WSU on Feb. 4th, 72.5-71.5. The Cougars hosted UW the next weekend and beat the Huskies 76-68. WSU traveled to Vancouver at the end of Feb. and lost 93.5-66.5.

At the PNW College Invite, at home, WSU placed 4th, and at the Inland Empire Open, WSU won. They did not compete at the PNW AAU meet, but rather went to the Western Intercollegiate Gymnastics Assoc. Championships, in L.A. They finished 11th with only 9 points.


They started their season on Dec. 9 at the Inland Empire Gymnastic Meet. WSU took second. On Jan. 13th , Eastern came to Pullman with the Cougars winning 76-52. UBC came to Pullman the next weekend and WSU won 84.5-43.5. On Feb. 17th, the Cougars went to Cheny where they lost to Eastern 66-62. The next weekend, the Cougars hosted Eastern. The meet ended in a tie 64-64.

At the Inland Empire43 Meet, WSU took second, and at the PNW College Meet, they were third. At the Western Intercollegiate Gymnastics Assoc. Championship meet, WSU was third. Dick Van Hersett won Tumbling and Tramp titles at the PNW AAU Open and Stu Rehnstrom won AA. Robert Olds, Stu Rehnstrom, Richard Van Hersett, and David Vik advanced to the 1962 NCAA Championships. Van Hersett placed 7th in tumbling.

At a ceremony after the NCAA Championships, Hubie Dunn was named "Outstanding Gymnastics Coach in the West". He was also called "the Father of Intercollegiate Gymnastics in the West." This NCAA tournament was Hubies 15th, and last year as the WSU coach. He went on the a distinguished career at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. He was inducted into the USAG WA. Hall of Fame in 2004 for his contributions to Washington gymnastics.


James Sweeney became the head coach this season. The information for the next few years is scanty. The Cougars first meet was in Cheney against Eastern where they lost 65.5-63.5. Easterns "Savages" came to Pullman and WSU won 67-61. UW then beat the Cougars 85-43. At the Inland Empire Open Meet, WSU took second. WSU took second at the PNW College Championships and fifth at the Western Intercollegiate Gymnastics Association Meet and at the Big 6 Conference Meet. WSU joined the Athletic Association of Western Universities which later became Pac-8 and then Pac-10.


The only recorded regular season meet showed the UW beating WSU 80.5-47.5. The Cougars took third place at the PNW College Meet, and sixth at the Big 6 Championships. Bob Olds completed three varsity season undefeated on Side Horse.

Pictures of Jerry Penney's Penney German


On Jan. 23 at Cheney, WSU lost to Eastern and then again on Feb. 13th at Pullman. They lost to UW the next weekend, 91-29. They placed third at the PNW College Meet, and 5th at the Athletic Association of Western Universities Gymnastics Championship Meet (AAWU).


WSU had a season of 7 wins and 1 loss in dual meets. They beat Eastern, the U of Oregon, Chico State College, UBC and Eastern Montana, with their one loss to UW 177.85-168.30. WSU took third at the Inland Empire Meet and at the PNW college Meet. They took fifth in the AAWU Meet. This was Jim Sweeney's last season with the Cougars, as he returned to Ohio State.


Rex Davis, former coach of the Richland "Bombers" High School team for the past ten years, became head coach. Records are incomplete for this season, but do show the Huskies beating the Cougars 180.2-161.7. WSU finished third at the Inland Empire Invitational and third at the PNW College Meet. They were again fifth at the AAWU Championship Meet.


The team was 4-4 during the dual meet season. In the Dec. 14, 1968 season opener against Central, WSU won with 129 points. They then lost to UO 142-127.3. WSU beat Chico State 127-83. Against UBC, the Cougars won 139-128. Next, Eastern beat WSU 166-148. Central lost to the Cougars again, 134-124. UW beat WSU 178.85-142.10. In their last regular season meet, Eastern beat the cougars 166-147.

WSU took fifth in the PNW College Meet,and seventh at the AAWU Meet. Pac -8's at U of Oregon. Coach Rex Davis took Capt. Toby Elliott, Richland; Larry Amos, Aberdeen; Mark Siks, Seattle; Jerry Penney, Renton; Bob Slack, Helena, Mont.; John Thorne, Centralia; Rob Smallwood, Seattle; Glenn Clinton, Palo Alto, Ca.; Dean Weathers, Walla Walla; Dick Freiheit, Issaquah; Jerry Johnson, Chehalis; and Stan Schroepfer, Spokane.


The season of dual meets shows three wins and four losses: Central winning 118.725-117.350; Eastern Montana College lost to WSU 109-139.950 (Montana was now being coached by former WSU gymnastics team captain Jay Shaw); Eastern over the Cougars 138.750-126.150; UW 152.175-126.150; WSU over Central 124.700-123.350; Eastern over WSU 135.250-124.700; and the U of Oregon beat WSU 130.160-120.690.

Coach Rex Davis took the team to the Pacific Northwest Championships at UW where they finished fourth, and also finished fourth at the Inland Empire Invite. The 12 man squad went to Los Angeles for the Pacific-8 championships. (They finished 7th out of seven teams.) The team consisted of: Capt. Glenn Clinton and Dan Holtman both from Highline (Burien); John Thorne, Centralia; Rob Smallwood, Seattle; Chuck Barrett, Kent; Jim Lute, Tonasket; Alan Meyers, Portland, OR.; Stan Schroepfer, Spokane; Jim Chatters, Pullman; Mike Bitow, Honolulu; John Phillips, Bothell; Alan Meyers, Portland; Bill Fultz, Olympia; and John Gasdick, Medical Lake.

Spring: Rex Davis quit as gymnastics coach but continued as tennis coach and as P.E. teacher. Davis graduated from WSU in 1953. He taught for 11 years in the Richland public schools before going back to Pullman as Assistant professor of P.E. in 1966, and as gymnastics and tennis coach.


Dan HoltmanCoach Bob Peavy started his WSU coaching career this season. Peavy competed for San Jose State Spartans, and later coached the Spartans in 1968-69.

Captain is Dan Holtman, junior from Federal Way. In their first meet,WSU was 119.85 to Easterns 107.7 and Centrals 105.15. Holtman won Fl. Ex., horizontal bar and still rings. Kelly Bogan, Spokane won side horse, and Mike Bitow, Hawaii, won vault. They then went against the same two teams, taking 2nd. (Cental 115.45, WSU 112.20, Eastern 112.15.) Dan won the all-around and vault. In late Feb., WSU beat Central 123.65-116.95 at home. Dan Holtman was 1st all-around and Dan Hunter from Everett, was 2nd. Hunter also won floor ex. Mike Bitow was 1st on rings, and Kelly Bogan 1st on parallel bars. Against UW, WSU lost 149-117.95. The team placed third at the PNW College Meet, and they competed at the Inland Empire Invite.

In the program for the 1970 Pacific-8 Championships, which were held at UW on March 26th through 28th, Dan Holtman's picture is on the first page unhder the title "Stars To Watch".

The team included: Greg Allwine, Jerry Allwine, Jeff Bare, Kurt Bergeron, Mike Bitow, Kelly Bogan, Mike Hall, Dan Holtman, Jon Hulen, Dan Hunter, Brad Loan, Al Meyers,



Rea Anders coached the team this season while Bob Peavy worked on his doctorate at the University of Utah. At this time, Rea was a 23 year old gymnastics coach at Baldwin Park High School and assistant coach of the Cal State team at Fullerton, CA. He also was an assistant coach at Sacramento State College for the 1968-69 school year and was rated among the top 10 gymnasts in the NCAA in 1968.

Some of the Alumni returned to WSU to compete against the Cougars were Rex Davis, Thorne Tibbitts and Jerry Penney. Tibbitts, the former men's coach at Eastern and at this time was working on his doctorate. Jerry was a PE grad student at WSU at this time.

The team competed with UO, Eastern, Central, Portland State, and UW. Against the Huskies, WSU lost 150.40-136.50. They placed third at the PNW College Meet in Vancouver, and finished sixth at the Pac-8's. Dan Holtman, senior from Federal Way, was team captain. He won the AA and first in Vault at Central in a tri-meet that also included Eastern. Rae Anders took four gymnasts to the Berkeley Christmas Classic in Dec. They were Dan Holtman, Federal Way; Dan Hunter, Everett High; Steve Griffin, Kent; and Paul Mengedoht, Seattle.

In December, Mike Wilson, from the WSU Athletic News Service, had written a nice article on Jim Holt, who has one leg. Jim (Lincoln High, Tacoma) said, "I don't look at the leg as a handicap. In all honesty it has helped me as much as hindered." Jim was born with a deformed right leg, had four operations, and when he was nine they amputated his foot leaving just the stump. In high school, he did wrestling and gymnastics. Concerning wrestling: "The first year I wore my artificial leg when wrestling, but in one match I was trying to put a cradle on my opponent. My artificial leg slipped and it hit my opponent on the head knocking him out. It was the easiest pin I ever had, but the next year they made me wrestle without the leg." Jim became interested in gymnastics in his sophomore year. Lincoln High didn't have a team until Jim's senior year, however. He competed rings, and he placed third at the state meet.

WSU won it's first two meets of the year with Senior Dan Holtman and freshman Paul Mengedoht leading them. They beat Eastern and Central in a double dual. Jim Holt took 2nd on rings. On Feb. 3rd, the Cougars beat Eastern Montana with Dan Holtman taking 1sts in FX., vault, P. Bars and the All-around. The Cougars lost to UW in Feb. 150.40-136.50. (Which was a record for WSU.) In March, Dan Holtman became the first Cougar to make it to finals at the Pacific-8 conference. He ended up fourth in compulsory vault and eighth in the finals. WSU finished 6th in the seven team conference.


Bob Peavy was back coaching this year. This year had eight returning lettermen. (Todd Chisum, senior, captain; Terry Hill, Bothell; Ken Hovermale, West Seattle; Brad Loan, Auburn; Steve Griffin, Kent-Meridian: Jim Holt, Kent; Dan Hunter, Everett; and Paul Mengedoht, West Seattle;.)

Other members were Andy Alexander, College Park, CA.; Tim Nakken, Inglemoor (WA State High School 1971 Vault Champion); Earl Ray Reid, Lincoln (Tacoma); Lindsey Mason, Newport HS (Bellevue); Larry Roske, Kent; Ben Stewart, Seattle and David Young from Lincoln (Tacoma). Junior Dan Hunter was anticipated to be one of the team's leading all-arounders with his strengths being Horizontal bar and rings. Sophomore Jim Holt was recognized as the team's leading scorer on rings.

WSU hosted the Pac-8 Championships this season. At the Pacific Northwest Championship, WSU was 3rd out of 5 teams, and 6th at the Pac-'s. Dubi Lufi, Israeli National all-around champion began his competition at WSU - he enrolled for the second semester. He was a 23 year old freshman, who only would be allowed 2 years eligibility by NCAA. He had competed in the 1970 World Games in Yugoslavia as an Israeli national team member. Lufi finished 3rd in the Pacific -8's and 10th in the NCAA all around. Jim Holt placed fourth in the 1972 National AAU Men's Senior Championships, the highest place for any WSU gymnast to date. It was reported that Lufi placed third in the all-around competition at the Olympic trials in March 1972 in California.(He was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 1989.)

2012 note from Lindsey Mason: "I was an all around at Newport HS (Bellevue) and graduated in 1971. I trained at the Seattle Downtown YMCA with a number of UW Huskies and among others, Jim Holt. Jim made quite an impression on me then and later at WSU. I  was on the team at WSU in the 71/72 school year when we hosted the Pac-8. I did not compete that year (my idea was to red shirt), but I felt very much a part of what was going on. Bob Peavy was an outstanding Coach and Waichi complimented him greatly. I transfered schools the next year but I have always considered that year one of my best training years. Since then, I have coached and judged High School Gymnastics in Juneau Alaska, and clubs in Santa Cruz California, Farmington NM, and Durango, Colorado." Lindsey Kurt-Mason


Jim Holt was team captain this year. Dubi Lufi, Ken Hovermale and Andy Alexander were expected to do well for the Cougars. John Cummings from Kalispell, MT. John was the MT. State all-around champion the year before, and Bob Dickmeyer who was all-around runner-up at the WA. State Meet, were also expected to do well. (Other team members were: Mike Booth, Ron Brunke, Shannon Burke, Randy Jensen, Gene Hohnson, Dave Killman, Dave Pratt, Ted Ridge, Bob Thome, Larry Roske, Larry Roske, Scott Wheeler, and Dave Young.)

WSU beat Chico 138.70-136.55. The Cougars then beat EWSC and Central. Without Dubi Lufi, sick with the flu, WSU lost to the UBC 135.15-125.55 in BC in early Feb. 1973. The opening home meet of the year was against the Oregon Ducks on Feb. 9. The Ducks won 152.40 to WSU's 149.10.

Against Stanford 158.25and UW 158.45, WSU came in third with 149.50. WSU then beat Portland State and Montana State with 142.95 points.
At the Pacific Northwest Championships in Portland, the Cougars took third. Lufi was first in the all-around and parallel bars, and Bob Dickmeyer first in vault. At the Pac-8's, Lufi finished second all-around to Steve Hug, the defending National NCAA Champion. The team was 5th out of six teams. Hubie Dunn was inducted into the Helms Hall of Fame. (Eric Hughes, UW coach, was also inducted this year.)


Team members: Andy Alexander, Mike Booth, Rom Brunke, Shannon Burke, Bob Dickmeyer, Jim Holt, Ken Hovermale, Randy Jensen, Gene Johnson, Dave Killman, Dubi Lufi, Dave Pratt, Ted Ridge, Bob Thome, Larry Roske, Scott Wheeler, and Dave Young.

In a December news release, Dubi Luft returned to Israel at the request of his parents because of the "current political pressure and threat of war in Israel." He returned to school and made up missed work by carrying a 17 hour load along with gymnastics. The Japanese team competed against the WSU team this season in an exhibition meet. Tsukahara and Homma were on the Japanese team.

Another news release from Pullman noted that Lufi became interested in gymnastics while living in a Kibbutz in Israel. He and his brother built their own equipment. Lufi had a major in psychology and was involved with a Pullman handicapped program for children, and with the mentally handicapped program at Pullman's Epton School. He also competed in the World Games at Varna, Bulgaria. Andy Alexander competed a forward double somersault vault.

WSU hosted this years (15th annual) Pacific Northwest Championships. (Teams invited included Portland State, Eastern Montana, Eastern WA., Oregon College, UW, and Oregon State.) Optional and Compulsory routines were performed. Under Coach Bob Peavy, WSU had it's best NCAA finish. Dubi Lufi was 2nd on P.Bars; and Bob Dickmeyer was 7th in vault. Gene Johnson from Westminster, CA. was 15th on rings. At the National AAU meet, WSU took 4th place, with Lufi 2nd on P.Bars, and Johnson 3rd on rings. Jim Holt won the YMCA National Ring Championship.


Returning athletes include Andy Alexander, Olympia, Bob Dickmeyer, Woodinville, Dubi Lufi, Israel, and Jim Holt, Tacoma. Freshman Tim Wagner, who won the WA. State H.S. Championships, joined teammate Gerhard Carlson, both from Bothel. Lufi won the Pac-8 conferences parallel bars and was 2nd in the all around to earn a berth to the NCAA Championships. At the Pac-8's WSU took 3rd which was their highest finish to date. Bob Peavy was named NCAA Western Region Coach of the Year by his peers. The team took 2nd at the PNW Championships. Coach Peavy invited the Japanese National Team to Pullman in January. Andy Alexander was a Pac-8 finalist on parallel bars.

Dubie Lufi was inducted into the WSU Hall of fame in 1989



A press release stated that Saturday morning gymnastics for children 7 1/2 years of age and older were held with Dubi Lufi, Dave Pratt, Bob Thome, and Bob Dickmeyer as instructors. Dubi was an assistant coach this year for the men's team. Dave Pratt was a Pac-8 finalist in the pommel horse this year.


Dubi, two-time All-American, competed in the 1976 Olympics for Israel. He was listed as Israil's one-man gymnastics team, and was ranked 12th in the individual competitors (those not competing with teams) after the first day of compulsories. (1976 WSU news release.) After optionals he was listed as 68th out of 150 competitors.

This years team included John Cummings, Kalispell, MT.; Jim Femling, Bothell; George Konzek, Richland; Richard Langendoen, Woodland; Leonard Lewis, Seattle; Bill Smith, Bellevue; Ric Stahl, Tigard, OR.; Bob Thome, Bellevue; Mike Petrovich, Tacoma. Bob Peavy was coach, with Gene Jackson and Dubi Lufi as Assistants.

The team took 3rd at the PNW Championships. In a news release, it is noted that for the annual alumni meet, that Dave Pratt flew in from Kentucky where he was stationed in the Army as a second lieutenant. Andy Alexander also competed for the alumni "prior to his departure to Mexico as a medical student". (Info from 1977 WSU Athletic News Service.)

Mike Waichiro (assistant coach 1971-1973) also competed. The Cougars took 6th at the Pac-8's. Mike Petrovich took 7th on pommel horse, John Cummings 8th on pommels. Peavy was elected president of the National Assoc. of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches. (He was vice president in 1975 and secretary in 1976.)


Ward E. Black was named interim coach for the men's team while Bob Peavy went on a year's leave. Ward was a gymnast at the U of Michigan. He placed 2nd on Floor Ex in the Big 10 conference in 1971 and 1972. His team was NCAA champs in 1970.

The team included Rick Langendoen, Battle Ground; George Konzek, Rob Roll, Jim Femling, Bill Smith, Leonard Lewis, Tom Sullivan, Dan Starner, Karl Jensen, Mike Petrovich, Bob Quint, Mark Hampton and Greg Skinner (Everett). WSU beat Eastern 199.35-183.80 in Feb of 1978. That moved them to 5-3 for the season.

2010: "Greetings. My name is Bob Quint. I stumbled onto your WSU gymnastics website, and I have some information which I hope you will find interesting. I was a member of the WSU varsity gymnastics team from 1977/78 until the team was cut in 1980, my senior year. I was on the same team in 77/78 as Tom Sullivan, Leonard Lewis, etc. under coach Ward Black, standing in for Bob Peavy. I would greatly appreciate it if you add me to the team member list. I believe I am on record as achieving the highest score by any WSU athlete in a men's gymnastics meet. I did a perfect double-front vault in, I believe, the Pac NW Championship in Oregon in 1980. My score was originally 9.8, but was reduced to a final score of 9.7 after all the dust settled, as it was an extremely high score for the era. I still have a picture of the write up of it in the glass casing outside of the gym at WSU. I started gymnastics when I was 5 years old with Dr. Hughes at Hech Ed in U of W, along with his son Kip. I competed against Jim Holt in college, who coached my daughter a long time later at Roosevelt HS in Seattle."

This is where my information from WSU and Bob Peavy and Hubie Dunn ends. Please send any information you have to me at the email address at the top of this chapter.



The last year of the program.

Washington State University Men's Team Coaches

Herbert Dunn 1948-1955
Gerry McHugh 1955-1956
Hubert Dunn 1956-1962
James Sweeney 1962-1966
Rex Davis 1966-1969
Robert Peavy 1969-1970
Rea Anders 1970-1971
Robert Peavy 1971-1977
Ward E. Black 1977-1978
Robert Peavy 1978-

Assistant coach, Dwight Mowry 1969- 1972. He was an assistant coach and grad of Colorado State U and National ring competitor. He received his Phd in Psychology and was still competing in invitational meets at this time.

Assistant coach Waichiro Miki 1971-1973. He competed at Nihon U., Tokyo, Japan, coached by Yukio Endo - World and Olympic Champion and coach of the National Japanese Team. Miki earned his Masters Degree in PE at WSU. He was recognized as one of the foremost technicians of gymnastics in the U.S. at the time. Owned his own club in Santa Clara.

Assistant coach Paul Mengedoht 1973-74.
Assistant coach Gene Johnson 1976-
Assistant coach Dubi Lufi 1975-1978 Dubi was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 1989.
Assistant coach Al Sanders 19?-19? (National NAIA floor ex champ at Georgetown U. in Chicago. Worked with Waichiro Miki.)

Where did they go?

Roger Richert became an engineer in Seattle and Ron Sullian went on to Eastern Washington U.
Chuck Hunt and Al Stout completed studies in veterinary medicine.
Jay Eliason became a geologist and retired from Hanford in 1987. He and his wife Valerie moved to Deary, Idaho and ran their business Geologic Analysis and Consulting Services.

Jim Holt stayed active in boys and girls gymnastics and still coaches and judges. Read more about Jim in Who's Who Chapter. Or read his book, Chasing Impossible Dreams
Dave Pratt (1972-1976) graduated with a degree in Psychology and went on to get a Masters Degrees in Hospital Administration (Baylor University) and Management (Webster University), and retired as an Army officer with twenty years in hospital admin. and a background in military intelligence. He is a mystery writer: Buried in the Records, 2005, Published by Publish America. He lives in western WA. (
Gene Johnson (3rd in rings in 1974) graduated with degree in PE in 1978. He became a coach and and from 1981 to 1987 had a gym in Pullman. His family eventually moved to Lompoc, CA. where he owns Gymnastics North ( and makes and sells a specialized line of gym equipment.

Below, March 2011, WSU grads/coaches Brad Loan, former owner of PSSG, coach at Roach Gymnastics, WA; Brent Garland, owner of Garlands Gymnastics, WA; John Smith, owner of NASA Gymnastics, WA; Jim Holt, former UW coach, international coach.


1947 Dunn comes to WSC
1949 1st college gym competition by a WA. team
1950 1st college meet ever held in state
1951 Joint sponsorship for PNWAAU. Meet reinstated
1955 1st PNW College Invitational -held at WSC
1955 Gerry McHugh coaches for 1 year at WSC
1959 1st Inland Empire Open Gym Meet
1962 Dunn leaves WSU
1962 Sweeney takes over team for 4 years
1966 Rex Davis takes over team for 3 years
1969 Bob Peavy coaches for one year
1970 Rea Anders coaches for one year
1971 Bob Peavy once again coaches until 1977
1977 Ward Black coaches for one year
1978 Bob Peavy back again
1980 Last year of the program


Three Former WSU Cougar Assistant Gymnastic Coaches- Dianne Palmer 1980-1986, Jerry Penney 1969, John Smith 1980, all still involved with USA Gymnastics Washington in 2011. Dianne Choreographer/Beam coach for the women's team - Jerry Men's team assistant coach and John women's team assistant coach serving as spotter for Head Coach Al Sanders. (Dianne is a National rated judge and former ownerof Palouse Gymnastics. Jerry has been the Sammamish High School girl's team coach for over 40 years, and John owns NASA Gymnastics in Gig Harbor.)



return to top

History Home Page

PLEASE SEND ANY INFORMATION that you feel would be of value to this chapter or any chapter to Lee - Or fill out an online form - simply add your story and and click submit.