At the recent team banquet commemorating Woodinville’s football season, assistant coach Mike Monan fired up the room with a big announcement: Offensive tackle Andre Dillard had given his verbal commitment to play football for the Washington State Cougars.
Dillard received the scholarship offer when he and his father Mitch traveled to Pullman to see the Cougars play Utah on November 23rd.
"I was excited for the trip and I was a little bit hopeful because they had provided free passes for me and my dad," Dillard said. "I had been a Coug fan since I was a little kid. So I was pretty excited to visit there with my dad. He used to be a Coug."
Mitch Dillard played for the Cougars back in the 1980s. And as father and son took a campus tour and mingled with coaches and players, the elder Dillard was all smiles.
"He was having a great time," Andre said. "He said it was great to be back after 26 years. He’s all about the Cougs."
During the visit, and after receiving the scholarship offer, Andre finally encountered WSU head coach Mike Leach.
"I was walking with my dad and coach (Clay) McGwire," Dillard said. "I met coach Leach on a staircase. I was like ‘oh wow, it’s really him.’ I had only seen him on television. He said that they were really excited about me, and that he had been told a lot about me and liked what he saw on film."
Given that many Husky fans nourish the suspicion that the mercurial Leach is a pass-happy lunatic, Dillard begs to differ.
"He’s a very straight-forward person who goes by his rules seriously," Dillard said. "He has a very dry sense of humor. He’s about as real as you can get."
When Dillard returned home to Woodinville, he attended the Falcons’ season ending banquet. When it was announced he would be playing for the Cougs, Dillard was stunned by his teammates’ reaction.
"The applause made me so happy," he said. "Because everyone was clapping and cheering so loud and I got a little shy. I had the biggest smile on my face."