Once A Coug, Always A Coug - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Once A Coug, Always A Coug

Posted: Updated:

BENTON CITY, Wash. -- Saturday is the annual WSU spring football game so you'll be sure to see plenty of crimson and gray up in Pullman. But, as we see in our area, the pride of Cougar Nation extends far beyond the outskirts of Pullman.

If you've ever traveled down Interstate 82 near Benton City, you have probably seen the Conoco gas station. Inside is the Cougar Café.

"I like to think it's a really great place where people can go. In fact, I know they come in here just because it's the Cougar Cafe," said Nadene Harris, Cougar Cafe Owner.

"Yea, I have a lot of people who come in here and get their pictures taken with the Cougar outside and go out there with the pond," said Cafe Employee, Lisa.

In 1996, the Cafe opened its doors. It is all thanks to a devoted former Cougar football player named Jim Harris. He passed away in 2002 of testicular cancer, leaving behind the Cafe. He was 62-years-old.

"It was Jim's legacy to me," said Nadene. "And it brings back a lot of memories of watching him out there and working beause he'd work all night long."

His wife of 23 years maintained the Cafe after his death, keeping Jim's Cougar spirit alive.

"In fact, I think his ghost still lives there. Some of the clerks think he's moving stuff on them. They swear it's Jim," said Nadene.

"The Cougar is still alive," said Tyler, a Cafe Employee. "We can't really disclose the secret information. The legacy is still alive."

It just goes to show, once a Cougar, you're a Cougar forever.