The top three pillars of the program are in the video above — now check out who just missed the cut …
Washington’s history goes way back — it played in the first college football game in the Pacific Northwest (1889) and is one of just four charter members of the current-day Pac-12 Conference (1916). Along the way there has been an NCAA-best 64-game unbeaten streak (60-0-4) from 1907-17, 27 consecutive non-losing seasons from 1977-2003 (best in Pac-12 history), 15 conference titles (third all time), 14 Rose Bowl appearances with seven wins (both tied for third all time) and four national championships (1960, ’84, ’90 and ’91).
To have that much success great players are needed. And Washington has had more than a few. Wee Coyle went undefeated in four years as a starting quarterback (26-0-1) from 1908-11. Quarterback Bob Schloredt was the first two-time MVP of the Rose Bowl (1960-61). Al Worley (14 interceptions in 10 games in 1968) and Chuck Nelson (30 consecutive field goals in 1981-82) are major college record-holders. In all, 18 players have been voted consensus All-Americans and 10 have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. From personality to skill, we offer those who left an indelible mark on the program.
Quarterback | 1975-77
♦ Pac-10 Co-Player of Year (1977)
♦ Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (1997)
Offensive Tackle | 1989-92
♦ All-American (1992)
♦ Allowed two sacks in four years
Defensive End | 1989-91
♦ Outland Trophy (1991)
♦ Lombardi Award (1991)
Running Back | 1991-94
♦ Second-team All-American (1994)
♦ 4,106 rush yds; 5,832 total yds
Running Back | 1949-51
♦ All-American (1951)
♦ College Football Hall of Fame (1981)
Guard / Linebacker / Punter | 1962-64
♦ Two-time first-team All-American
♦ College Football Hall of Fame (1995)
Quarterback | 1970-72
♦ Sammy Baugh Trophy (1970)
♦ 5,496 passing yards
Quarterback | 1997-2000
♦ Pac-10 Offensive POY (2000)
♦ 7,374 total yards
Perhaps the most heralded recruit in Washington history, Napoleon Kaufman was the California high school player of the year and No. 2 national prospect when he signed with the Huskies in 1991. And Nip, as he was affectionately known, didn’t disappoint. Kaufman spent his freshman year for the 1991 national champions returning kicks before becoming the feature back in 1992. From there, he became the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.
By the time he left college, Kaufman was tops in the Washington record book in rushing yards (4,106, at the time the fifth most in Pac-10 history) and all-purpose yards (5,832), marks that still stand some 20 years later, and rushing touchdowns (34) and 100-yard games (17), now second in both, and 200-yard games (4), tied for first.
No matter in which manner you wish to refer to him as — the King, Hurricane Hugh or Hurrying Hugh — Washington has never had a runner before or since quite like Hugh McElhenny. It didn’t take long for McElhenny to begin cementing himself in Husky lore, when in just his second game he took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against Minnesota in 1949. In 1951, his 100-yard punt return for a TD against Southern California remains the stuff of legend. McElhenny is the only player in school history with three 90-yard scoring plays, his open-field running not seen since the days of Red Grange; in all, he had 10 50-yard scoring plays.
McElhenny was Washington’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 1950 — the Huskies didn’t have another one until 1976. In just 28 games he rushed for 2,499 yards, a record that stood until 1979. He broke an 84-yard TD run in 1950 to set a then-NCAA record with 296 rushing yards in one game, a mark that still stands at Washington. His 4,234 all-purpose yards still rank third in Husky history, and his 151.2 yards per game average is No. 1. He scored 233 points in his career for a non-kicker school-best 8.32 average.
McElhenny is the only Washington player in both the College Football and Pro Football halls of fame, was a charter member of the Husky Hall of Fame and was named to the Washington All-Centennial team in 1990. He also is a member of the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame and his 1951 All-America season landed him Seattle Man of the Year honors.
Rick Redman is Washington’s only two-time consensus All-American, earning the honors in 1963 and ’64. A three-way star, Redman played offensive guard, linebacker and served as the team’s punter.
He averaged between 12-15 tackles a game. In just seven recorded games in 1963, he had 82 tackles. He led the team in tackles with 121 in 1964. Redman remained close to the program after his playing days as an influential booster. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Sonny Sixkiller came at just the right time for Washington. Racial turmoil and a 1-9 season in 1969 left the Huskies with little to cheer about until the smallish quarterback with the Cherokee heritage and unique last name became a sensation. Pressed into duty after injuries to the first- and second-string QBs, Sixkiller helped turn around Washington’s fortunes. Head coach Jim Owens abandoned his wishbone offense to play to Sixkiller’s strengths, which was passing the ball despite his 5-foot-11, 155-pound stature. Prior to 1970, the Huskies had not averaged more than 100 passing yards a game in a season since 1965. In 1970, Sixkiller led the nation in passing and in his three years, he passed for 5,496 yards and 35 TDs (at the time UW records that stood for 23 years) in 28 games. His 196.3 yards per game passing average still ranks second in school history.
Sixkiller missed four games in 1972, but during his stay Washington went 22-10, further endearing himself to the Husky faithful. In fact, Sixkiller became a cultural icon: T-shirts, a fan club, a hit song, “The Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller”, and an appearance on the cover of the Oct. 4, 1971 issue of Sports Illustrated. He even had a small role in the 1974 film, The Longest Yard. He has stayed close to the program in his post-playing days, including serving as a color commentator and the co-authoring the book, “Sonny Sixkiller’s Tales from the Huskies Sideline”.
With a strong will to win and unyeilding guile, Marques Tuiasosopo became a fan favorite and a legitimate two-way threat for Washington at quarterback. Recruited mostly out of high school as a defensive back, Washington gave Tuiasosopo his shot and he ran with it — and passed with it, too. Especially in October 1999 against Stanford, when he became the only player in FBS history to throw for 300 yards and run for 200 yards in the same game. His 509 total yards from that day remain a Washington record.
The following season, also against Stanford,Tuiasosopo stamped his mark on the program by leading his team to the Rose Bowl on the strength of what became known in Washington circles as the “Drive.” With 47 seconds left and trailing by four, Tuiasosopo, made his three longest completions of the game, including a 22-yard TD pass with 17 seconds remaining. Tuiasosopo went on to earn Rose Bowl most outstanding player honors in a victory against Purdue; the Huskies haven’t been back to the Granddaddy since.
Tuiasosopo also has a 1-0 record as Washington head coach when he served as interim coach for the Huskies in last season’s bowl game against BYU after Steve Sarkisian left for the Southern California job. Tuiasosopo joined Sarkisian at USC this season.