Mel Hein, Center, inducted in 1954 –
Hein spent three seasons at Washington State, from 1928-30, and played in the “one-platoon era” where centers often played on the other side of the ball. A linebacker on defense, Hein once intercepted eight passes in a game against Idaho. The Football Writers Association pegged him as the center on the all-time modern All-America team (1920-69) and he was named an All-American after the 1930 season. Hein spent 15 years with the New York Giants and was an all-pro on eight occasions. He also set the Giants record by playing in 172 consecutive games. Hein also played in virtually every game for the Cougars and led them to the 1931 Rose Bowl – a loss to Alabama.
Albert Glen “Turk” Edwards, Tackle, inducted in 1975 –
Edwards was one reason the Cougars dominated Pacific Coast football during the 1930 season. He made a pivotal play in a game against Oregon State that would bring WSU one step closer to the Rose Bowl, intercepting a pass and returning it the other way for a touchdown to secure a 14-7 win. Edwards and Mel Hein made up one of the most nightmarish defensive tandems in the country and disrupted opposing offenses all the way to Pasadena, where the Cougars lost to Alabama 24-0 in the Rose Bowl – their only defeat of the 1930-31 season. During Edwards’ WSU career, from 1929-31, the Cougars went 25-7.
Orin “Babe” Hollingberry, Coach, inducted in 1979 –
Hollingberry oversaw what arguably was the greatest era of football at Washington State. In his 17 seasons, the Hollister, California, native led the Cougars to 93 wins – more than any other coach in school history – 53 losses and 14 ties. A college coach who never actually attended college, Hollingberry suffered only two seasons and guided the Cougars to their first Pacific Coast Conference championship in over 40 years. The Cougars didn’t lose a home game from 1926 to 1935 and went to the 1931 Rose Bowl under Hollingberry. In addition to fellow Hall of Famers Mel Hein and “Turk” Edwards, he coached the likes of Dale Gentry, Ed Goddard, Harold Ahlskog, Elmer Schwartz, Bob Kennedy, Nick Suseoff, Bill Sewell, John Bley and Herbert “Butch” Meeker. When Hollingberry took over, the Cougars had lost to Idaho in three consecutive games. The new coach ensured it wouldn’t happen again under his watch and WSU proceeded to go 16-0-1 against the Vandals over the next 17 seasons. Hollingberry Fieldhouse on the WSU campus was renamed for the coach in 1963.
Rueben Mayes, Running back, inducted in 2008 –
The 6-foot, 200-pound Mayes had his name on every rushing record in school history by the time he left school in 1985 and was not only recognized as the greatest running back in WSU history, but was also recognized as one of the most productive in the history of the Pac-10 Conference. When his college career was over, Mayes was a consensus first-team All-American who’d set 15 school records, including single season rushing yards (1,637) and career rushing yards (3,519), career rushing touchdowns (23), rushing average (5.53) and 100-yard games (13). The two-time Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year was the first Cougar with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Mayes especially left his mark on one game, against the Oregon Ducks in 1984. Mayes ran for 357 yards, setting the NCAA FBS single-game record. Mayes was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1986, when he’d also be named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Michael Utley, Offensive guard, inducted in 2016 –
Utley is one of the most decorated players to have walked through the halls in Pullman and left school as just the second consensus first team All-American in Washington State history. Utley, the fourth Cougar player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, was a three-time All-Pac-12 selection and an all-league first teamer in 1988. That season, Utley helped lead WSU to its best record in 58 years (9-3) and a 24-22 victory over Houston in the Aloha Bowl – the Cougars’ first postseason victory in 72 years. Utley anchored one of the strongest offensive lines in school history, helping Timm Rosenbach throw for 3,000 yards and two individual running backs each rush for 1,000 yards. Utley also helped lead the Cougars to their first-ever win over a top-ranked program (UCLA, 1988) and started a school-record 43 straight games before being taken in the third round of the 1989 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.