Class of 2001
Emerson Morgan - Football, Coach
Emerson Morgan dedicated his life to his community. Whether it was coaching football or baseball at Pasco High, being the principal at the school, working on the school board, or city council, he was always there.
Born just outside Walla Walla in the little town of Dixie, Emerson Morgan moved to Pasco at the age of four and wound up as one of the most famous people in the city's history.
A 1928 graduate of Pasco High School, Morgan was a standout athlete and planned on heading to WSU to play football. But, while sitting in a train depot, waiting to go to Pullman, he ran into the Gonzaga football coach who talked the Pasco man into going to Spokane.
After winning the prestigious John Lewis Barrett medal at Gonzago his senior year, in 1934 he was hired from a field of 200 applicants at Touchet, who had an opening for a coach and teacher. Morgan got the job because of a school board member who remembered Morgan's great high school career at Pasco.
After leading the Indians to an undefeated season (which included a victory over his alma mater, Pasco,) Morgan was hired at Pasco in 1935 where he was hired to teach and coach the football team. He would wind up coaching football, baseball, basketball, and track there until 1952 - except for one season, 1947, when he was president of the Toastmasters and spoke around the nation.
People remember Morgan as a classy individual who cared for the underdog, let alone the Bulldogs. A member of the state coaches Hall of Fame, he came to the crossroads of his career in 1952. Although a number of people wanted him to apply for the head-coaching job in football at WSU, he decided to stay in Pasco (which he loved) and become their high school principal.
He passed away in 1989, but the legacy of Emerson Morgan will be forever etched in history, not only in Pasco, but also throughout the Columbia Basin.
Art Dawald - Basketball
When Art Dawald arrived in Richland in 1947, he had just won two straight Class B state boy's basketball championships at Colfax. He carried on his winning ways during his 22 years with the Bombers, where he completed his career in 1970 with a 406-149 win/loss record, 13 league championships and 17 entries into the state tournament.
In addition to his state title team in 1958, Dawald's Bombers also finished third five times, fourth once and seventh once. Dawald also achieved several other milestones while at Richland; his 1956 team became the first Tri-Cities team to score more than 100 points in a game and his 1957 team opened the season with 20 straight victories before losing three games by a total of four points and finishing seventh at state.
During his tenure as Richland's basketball coach, Dawald established several traditions that remain in place today. He believed in fast-break basketball, teamwork and in tough, man-to-man defense.
"He was a taskmaster," noted Jim Castleberry, who was a 2nd team all-state selection for the Bombers in 1958. "He was very demanding and challenged you every night at practice."
"He taught terrific fundamentals and a style of basketball that was fun to play," added Castleberry. "Art always pushed the team concept, he wasn't interested in who was the high scorer."
Following his retirement, the Richland gymnasium was named after him and he was inducted into the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame in 1975.
Dawald passed away in 1993 at the age of 88.
Clint Didier - Football
The biggest stage in all of sports is the Super Bowl and Clint Didier made three appearances on Super Sunday with the Washington Redskins, making significant plays to help their cause.
Although he now makes his home around Eltopia working his 1,000 acres, Didier's career began at Connell High School and took him to CBC for two years before he graduated at Portland State with NFL great, Neil Lomax.
As a wide receiver for the Hawks, he helped CBC to the mythical state championship before being spotted by run-and-shoot passing guru, Darrel ‘Mouse' Davis, whose offensive innovations would soon change football around the globe.
Although Didier said he had a tough beginning at PSU, he quickly settled in as one of Lomax' favorite targets and Didier was drafted by the Redskins in the 12th round of the 1981 draft.
After spending his first year on ‘injured reserve' (which Didier called a blessing because he got to learn Joe Gibbs' complicated schemes), Didier became one of the staples in the Redskins' passing game.
In Super Bowl XVII in 1983, Didier threw the block that helped spring John Riggins' game-winning touchdown run in the 27-17 victory over Miami.
Five years later, he caught an 8-yard TD pass from Doug Williams to help spark a 35-point outburst in the second quarter as Washington clobbered Denver 42-10.
These days, Didier is still in the spotlight, helping coach Connell's high school football team and making radio appearances while raising alfalfa, grass seed, wheat, and popping corn. He and his wife, Kristin, have four children, Brandie, Travis, Justin, and Zach.
Jake Kupp - Football
Even by yesterday's football standards, "Big" Jake Kupp was a bit on the smallish side. But, he was all heart and his football career covered 12 years of excellence.
After graduating from Sunnyside after a brilliant sports career in 1959, Kupp played in the all-state football game and caught the eye of former Washington Husky football coach, Jim Owens.
6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Kupp soon bulked up to 220 pounds and played tight end, wide receiver and offensive tackle on some outstanding Husky football teams-including the 1964 Rose Bowl squad.
A standout football player, Kupp also pitched for the Husky baseball team.
Drafted as a wide receiver in the ninth round of the NFL Draft in 1964, he was soon shifted to offensive guard and he made the 1964 NFL all-rookie team. Three years later, Kupp was traded to the Washington Redskins where he played one season before being taken by the expansion New Orleans Saints.
Although he would spend the bulk of his career with the Saints, Kupp was traded to the Atlanta Falcons before he ever donned a New Orleans uniform. The following season, he was sent back to the Saints where he made a Pro Bowl appearance and was named the team's captain.
In 1970, the Sunnyside native was named New Orleans' MVP. He would later be inducted into the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and honored as a selection on the Saints' 25th anniversary all-star squad.
Kupp and his son, Craig, a quarterback, are the only father-son duo to have played for the Dallas Cowboys.
Byron Beck - Basketball
The old American Basketball Association was more than just a slideshow to the NBA. It was more than the red-white-and-blue ball, the 3-point shot, the Afros and the fun-and-gun style of play. It was about talented players; legends that changed the way the game would be played forever.
There was Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Rick Barry and Artis Gilmore. But there were hundreds of standout players who played major roles in the ABA 's nine-year existence (1967-1976) and it's eventual merger with the NBA. One of them was Byron Beck.
A 1963 graduate of Kittitas High School and a former star at Columbia Basin College, he played nine seasons with the ABA's Denver Rockets/Nuggets and one with the franchise after the merger.
At Kittitas, Beck was named an all-state selection three straight years and drew the attention of several colleges. However, believing he wasn't ready for the NCAA, he enrolled at CBC.
With Beck leading the way, they were a force during the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons, finishing 52-3. They won conference titles both years and went undefeated in 1964-65.
After graduating at CBC, Beck went to the University of Denver because he liked the mountains. He also was impressed with the school's schedule, which included several of the nation's top teams which meant exposure. After two strong seasons with the Pioneers, both Denver and the Chicago Bulls drafted him on the second round.
A 6-foot-9-center/power forward, he was the first player signed by Denver in 1967 and went on to average 12 points and 7.4 rebounds in his career. He made seven playoff appearances and was named to two all-star teams (1968-69 and 1975-76). He is one of only two men to play their entire ABA career with one team and his jersey was retired by the franchise after he quit playing.
Hub Kittle - Baseball
Some say Hub Kittle has forgotten more about the game of baseball than most of today's players will ever know.
At age 84, and after a brief retirement, he's back in professional baseball, a game in which he's spent more than 60 years.
Currently, a minor-league pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners, Kittle has lived in Yakima since 1939 when his contract was sold to the Western International League's Pippins.
Today's ballplayers have no idea that Kittle won 20 games that first year in Yakima, or that he was named the Sporting News' Minor League Executive of the Year in 1960, a year after he saved the Northwest League after securing affiliations with major-league teams for the Portland and Tri-Cities franchises.
They don't know that Hub is the only man to pitch in six decades, accomplishing the feat in 1980, at age 63, when he threw a perfect inning in Class AAA.
Some of them might have heard that Hub has a World Series ring, which he received as the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982.
But one thing that today's players do know is that Kittle knows pitching. That's evident from the moment he starts working with them. Also a former manager of the Yakima Bears, Kittle is one of the most-respected baseball minds in the game.
Bruce Kison - Baseball
When Bruce Kison pitched for Pasco High back in 1968, he was already 6-foot-4 1/2 and so slender that one manager later cracked he could look right through him. But his size did have its advantages.
When Kison uncoiled his long right arm and stretched out to the plate, there were very few right-handed hitters who could keep both feet in the batter's box. Kison also threw mostly sidearm back then and intimidation was as much a part of his game as his 95-mph fastball.
He threw three no-hitters during his senior season at Pasco and only a bad hop kept him from throwing three-in-a-row. Three years later, he was pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kison pitched 15 years in the Major Leagues, but coming out of high school, he hoped to play college baseball. When no offers came, he signed with the Pirates for $1,000 after a tryout camp in Sunnyside.
Kison was 30-9 in the minors and was called up in the middle of the 1971 season and was the winning pitcher when Pittsburgh beat San Francisco to make it into the World Series. He later became the winning pitcher in the first night game ever played in the classic.
After tearing his rotator cuff during winter ball (which was usually a career-ending injury at the time), he spent 14 more years in the Majors and changed his throwing motion.
The Pasco grad also has spent time as pitching coach for both the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles. Currently, he is a scout and pro baseball pitching instructor.