Former Everett CC football star honored

Murray Cassidy didn’t hesitate when asked his favorite memory of playing college football.

It was 1969 and Cassidy and the other members of the University of Hawaii squad were on the mainland to play their third game of the season, against Santa Clara College.

Hawaii, which had lost its first two games, trailed by 21 points at the intermission and kicked off to start the second half. Cassidy, who played strong safety and special teams, flew down the field with his sights set on Santa Clara’s kick returner.

“I ran down and made a tremendous hit, an unbelievable hit,” Murray said.

The collision created a wave of momentum for the Rainbow Warriors, who went on to win. “That was the start of me being a special-teams captain and team leader,” Cassidy recalled.

Hawaii finished that season 7-3, and in 1970 the Rainbow Warriors were 9-2 and finished 10th in the nation in the NCAA’s Collegiate Division.

Cassidy, 60, played just two years at Hawaii, but his impact on the program was honored recently by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, which named him a special-teams member of its all-time University of Hawaii football team.

Cassidy, who graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1966, took a roundabout path to Hawaii. He was offered a scholarship to the University of Washington, but his grade-point average wasn’t high enough to enroll.

“With my physical education classes, my grade point would have been high enough,” Cassidy said. “But Washington didn’t recognize anything except academic grades then.”

So, Cassidy enrolled at Everett Junior College — which became Everett Community College in 1967 — and became a three-sport athlete, competing both years in football, basketball and baseball.

Everett was co-champion of the Washington State Community College Conference in football both years he played, and Cassidy was named to the all-conference squad in 1967.

Cassidy had offers to attend Montana State and Sacramento State, and had decided to head east to Montana, when Dave Holmes, Hawaii’s newly hired coach, offered him a scholarship.

Holmes had taken Eastern Washington to the NAIA national title game the previous year, and he combed the state for staff and players before leaving the mainland. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Cassidy said.

A knee operation forced Cassidy to redshirt his first season at Hawaii, but he played strong safety, weak-side linebacker and special teams in 1969. He was named a team captain in 1970, and played strong safety and on special teams.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in health and physical education.

“I was really proud of graduating,” said Cassidy, who dismissed any suggestion that attending college in Hawaii meant countless hours spent at the beach.

“I was a minority living in Hawaii,” he said. “When I lived in Mount Vernon, I didn’t know anything about that. I learned about discrimination, and I learned to be humble.”

Cassidy spent a year teaching in Hawaii before returning to coach at Western Washington State. He later coached at Mount Vernon High School, then joined the football staff of his former high school coach at Idaho State University in 1978.

He stayed at Idaho State just one year before returning to Mount Vernon.

“I realized high school was where I wanted to be,” Cassidy said. “I wanted to give back what people had given to me throughout my career.”

Except for one year, 1981, when he taught at Mount Vernon but coached Sedro-Woolley’s football team, Cassidy remained at Mount Vernon as a high school coach and teacher until retiring in 2005.


Linton leads UW to win: University of Washington freshman Kristen Linton won two events in just her third collegiate meet to help the Huskies earn their first Pac-10 victory of the season Friday at Bank of America Arena in Seattle.

Linton, a graduate of Meadowdale High School, finished first in the uneven bars with a score of 9.850, and the beam with 9.825, to help Washington beat Pac-10 rival California 193.975-188.450.

Washington improved to 1-1 in the Pac-10 and 1-2 overall.

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