"They finally respect us. The University of Washington athletic department finally respects Dawgman.com."
Those words, said to me four years ago by owner Kim Grinolds, sounded the death knell for Dawgman.com, as far as I was concerned.
It goes without saying, Dawgman.com remains a very influential player on the Husky Football stage. But their philosophy changed profoundly. In my view, they became a satellite to the University of Washington as opposed to an independent website reporting on the Husky football.
How bad has Dawgman become? After the recent Apple Cup loss to WSU, Grinolds told his subscribers that they had criticized Sarkisian enough, and from now on any negative comments would be deleted or removed from the main board. Many people who've remained as subscribers are increasingly frustrated by not only the perceived censorship but also the condescending treatment from staff members.
In the view of many, the Dawgman.com we all knew and loved has officially gone full Soviet.
So a group of wayward Husky fans decided to create a community where open discussion was encouraged and where the common battle cry was to see Washington return to national prominence. This would hold true even if it meant openly questioning the head coach or administration. Be it the performance on the field or the questionable marketing off it (see above photo). After a decade of underwhelming football, we yearned for Washington to reclaim its rightful powerhouse status. A return to UW tradition. We also wanted a place where we could have a lot of fun again -- like the old days on the Dawgman.com message boards.
Alas, HardcoreHusky.com was born. Our primary focus is having a lively message board community. It's a given that we've got places to talk football, basketball and recruiting. But we've also given Mike Damone (a former legendary Dawgman poster) his own bar. We've also built a bistro for Mello, aka Matt Gregory, in which he can talk soccer with other liked-minded folk.
We're not looking to compete with Dawgman.com per se, as their forte lies in high school recruiting, and we're not going there. But we're offering an alternative for anyone looking to a place where they can freely voice their opinions. A place to freely joke around without a grim-faced warden with an agenda shouting them down every time they don't properly toe the line.
In the weeks to come, look for periodic articles from Race Bannon and myself. In the meantime, have a look around and feel free to join the conversation in our forums.