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Friday, October 15, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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WSU Football

Catching up with Dan Lynch: Guard talked his way into history

Seattle Times staff reporter

The All-American guard who opened holes in Washington State's remarkable 1984 comeback win over Stanford and who later uttered the most famous quote in Apple Cup history now lives in the Czech Republic.

Dan Lynch, a guard from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, is best known for telling a reporter during his final Apple Cup week:

"There are four important stages in your life. You're born, you play the Huskies, you get married and you die."

Today, Lynch lives in Prague with his Czech wife, Hana, and two daughters.

"I came to Budapest in the summer of 1991 shortly after the Berlin Wall came down," he said in an e-mail interview. "I had just finished my MBA at the University of California and took what I thought was a one-year consulting assignment to help with the Hungarian privatization process. Thirteen years later, I now run a venture-capital fund targeting telecoms and technology businesses in the Central European region. I get to travel around the region that I have come to love, and I speak Hungarian and Czech."

Lynch said he met his wife, a lawyer, in Prague. They have two daughters, Kaja, 3, and Nikki, 15 months.

"Both wear WSU pajamas," he said.

Lynch uses the Internet to listen to Cougars games.

"Having the voices of Bob Robertson and Jim Walden coming through my speakers makes me feel close to home. The time difference is nine hours, and my wife thinks I'm crazy listening to football games in the middle of the night."

In 1984, the Cougars trailed Stanford 42-14 with less than 3-1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, then staged one of the greatest rallies in NCAA history to win 49-42 by scoring 35 unanswered points.

"I thought the season was slipping away from us when we got down so far," he said. "Then Rueben Mayes went crazy. On the offensive line, we blocked our assignments for a few seconds, then watched Rueben dash and weave his way down the field."

Mayes scored four of the Cougars' final five touchdowns and finished with 218 rushing yards.

Lynch said the famous Apple Cup quote "just came out" when a reporter asked him to put the rivalry in perspective.

"That quote has had a longer and more illustrious career than I have," he cracked.

The Cougars' 6-5 1984 season ended with a disappointing 38-29 loss to the Huskies. Lynch was an Associated Press first-team All-American and was drafted in the 12th round in 1985 by the Denver Broncos.

"I was having a good camp, but I kept losing weight and getting weaker," he said. "I finally couldn't play anymore as my weight had dropped from 270 pounds to 225. Shortly after that, I wound up in the intensive-care unit of a hospital with Addison's Disease (adrenal failure) and my weight was down to 170. It took me about a year to recover, and I still have to carry medication with me wherever I go."

Lynch gets back to Spokane about once every two years to see his mother and brother, Pat, a former Cougars nose guard who is an orthopedic surgeon. He admits to occasional bouts of homesickness.

Imagine his surprise when he was driving near his village in the Czech Republic not long ago and saw a billboard with a Cougars football player on it.

The photo was of linebacker Mawuli Davis facing two Oklahoma linemen in the 2003 Rose Bowl. On the billboard, Davis was wearing the same No. 58 that Lynch wore 20 years ago. The billboard was advertising a photography contest sponsored by Russell Athletic, maker of the crimson uniform Davis was wearing.

"It's hard to overstate how surreal it was to see this right here near my home in Prague," he said. "They could have chosen any sport, any team, any number, any pose, any place to put the billboard, but this is what they did."

It made a Cougar's day.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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