Glenn Osterhout made a $250,000 donation to rename the WSU recruiting center in Steve Gleason's honor

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Washington State announced Wednesday that Bellevue-based booster Glenn Osterhout has donated $250,000 to the WSU athletic department to rename a room in the football operations building in former linebacker Steve Gleason’s honor.

Osterhout, who graduated from WSU in 1983 and currently sits on the WSU Board of Trustees, asked that the recruiting center on the fifth floor of the football operations building be renamed the Steve Gleason Recruit Suite.

Gleason was an all-conference linebacker for WSU from 1996-99 who signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2000, and went on to make a name for himself as a safety with the New Orleans Saints from 2000-07. In 2011, he was diagnosed with ALS. In the five years since, ALS — which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — has left Gleason wheelchair-bound and unable to speak without technological assistance.

“Gleason,” a biopic depicting Gleason’s life since his ALS diagnosis, debuted this year at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and has since earned rave reviews from critics all over the country.

Gleason and his wife, Michel, both joined Osterhout in Pullman on Wednesday for the ribbon cutting ceremony to christen the recruiting center.

“I am stoked to be a small part of this, thanks so much for including me,” Gleason said before the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We need to thank Glenn Osterhout for providing the funding for the room and facility. Finally, I’d like to thank my man Jason Gesser for coordinating this. Pullman has been a big part of my development. I have amazing memories from my time here and I am excited I could be here in person today. Thanks again for including me. Go Cougs!”

Osterhout is a certified financial planner at Cetera Advisor Networks in Bellevue, and the chairman and founder of CougsFirst, a non-profit organization aimed at encouraging WSU alums to look within the WSU network for products and services.

“We wanted the recruiting suite to be named after someone who served as an inspiration, motivator and leader, someone who has courage,” Osterhout said. “Because all these young student-athletes are coming to Washington State and going through the recruiting suite, and we wanted them to know Steve Gleason specifically — his story and the fact that he was a Coug.

“I wanted the recruiting suite to be named after somebody who would resonate with young athletes.”

Gleason played football and baseball at WSU and was a two-time captain on the football team. He finished his career with 282 tackles — ninth in school history — and was captain of the baseball team during his senior year.

Osterhout, 56, said his first memory of Gleason dates back to when he watched the former linebacker lead the 1998 WSU football team to the Rose Bowl as a sophomore, but until Wednesday, he had never met the man who’s since become an icon in the search to raise awareness and improve the lives of those living with ALS.

This marks the first time a room in the WSU football operations building has been named for an athlete by a donor, Osterhout said. He has previously also donated money for naming rights to a smaller room in the football operations building.