Injured WSU receiver Kristoff Williams will participate in senior-night activities
Kristoff Williams suffered a concussion early this season that caused him to retire from football. A report last week said Williams was told by WSU coach Mike Leach he couldn’t participate in senior-night activities. Now Leach says he can.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Kristoff Williams apparently will be going through Washington State’s senior-night Apple Cup activities after a recent series of events that left his father upset at the way the wide receiver was handled this season by coaches after a concussion diagnosis.
“As far as I know,” WSU coach Mike Leach said Monday, to the question of whether Williams would be a part of those ceremonies revolving around the game Saturday night. “I haven’t talked to him and I haven’t paid attention to it. It’s fine with me.”
The Lewiston Morning Tribune reported last week that Williams, after suffering a concussion against Nevada and struggling to return to action, ultimately was counseled by training staff that he should consider retiring from football.
Williams has already been accepted to several law schools and told The Seattle Times last summer he wants to become a district attorney, and eventually, a judge.
The Tribune reported that Williams decided late in October to stop playing football, and when he went to Leach to ask if he would still be included in activities like senior night and the team banquet, Leach said no.
When The Tribune began looking into the issue, it ended up in athletic-administration channels, with a football-operations staffer eventually saying Leach had approved Williams’ participation in the events. But his father, Daniel Williams, an Army colonel, told the newspaper the change in flight plans has brought extra expense to the family’s travel from Florida.
“Our feeling was that Kris was being bullied and he was being pushed away from being allowed to do any of the senior activities,” Daniel Williams told The Tribune. “He (Leach) and his coaches are not owning up to things that they’ve done.”
His son was quoted, “It’s unfortunate this happened but I’m not going to let that affect my overall experience. I’m very grateful for Washington State football.”
Asked on his Monday teleconference if it had earlier been stated or implied to Williams that he couldn’t participate in the activities, Leach said, “Not by me.”
Leach made it clear he isn’t into the sentimentality of senior activities, saying, “There’s nobody in the nation that a month and a half before senior day plans what’s going to happen on senior day. I haven’t planned one my entire career and I’m not now.”
Return from concussions has previously been an issue not only with Leach but with WSU under his predecessor, Paul Wulff, who complained in late 2011 in an obvious push-pull with medical staff, “We’re getting more concussions than I’ve seen in my entire life.”
Before that, Leach’s departure from Texas Tech ended in controversy over treatment of Adam James over a concussion. And when WSU did an internal investigation two years ago that cleared the school of abuse charges by receiver Marquess Wilson, trainer Chris Lange, no longer at WSU, was quoted in a Deadspin.com story as telling his questioner in the report, “Lots of pressure to get them back on the field after an injury ... concussion diagnosis and return to play has been controversial.”
Pelluer has been a familiar name in the Apple Cup, and WSU freshman linebacker Peyton Pelluer continues it. His dad Scott was a Cougars linebacker from 1977-80 before an NFL career (and a stint as an assistant coach at the UW), his grandfather and great-grandfather played at WSU and his uncle Steve quarterbacked at Washington from 1981-83. Peyton’s brother Cooper played at UW.
Peyton says the extended family is supportive. Of his uncle Steve, he said, “He’s always shooting me texts after games and wishing me luck before games.”
A Skyline High product, Peyton said, “Basically, when I committed here, I had more purple in my wardrobe than crimson. But I’m blessed and thankful to be here.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com