Road to 1991 Perfection: Andy Mason Always Talked and Played a Good Game

The UW defensive end became a starter as just a sophomore for the national championship team. He grew up quick and played well.
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Andy Mason hails from Longview, Washington, which is about halfway between the the University of Washington and Oregon campuses.

He was a sophomore starter on the 1991 Husky defensive line, the younger guy lining up at defensive end alongside or even in between All-American Steve Emtman and Oklahoma transfer Tyrone Rodgers, the defensive tackles.

Considering where he grew up, Mason always looked forward to playing against the Ducks and what he considered a heated rivalry even then — because they were border states and Northwest teams — in spite of the Husky dominance at the time. 

"There was such a rivalry, believe it or not, more than what people know now as the good Oregon," he said. "It was kind of mirror programs. In my four years against Oregon, it was always a bloodbath."

Mason was one of the fun interviews from the 1991 team. Early in his career, he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (and me) that he and Hillary Butler were something entirely new and different to the Husky program. New-age linebackers. The total package, as he put it.

"I think Hillary and me are ahead of the times," Mason said memorably during spring football practice, when both were reserves making their way. "We're the year 2000."

Following that heady proclamation, Mason said he never heard the end of it, chided by his teammates throughout the rest of his Husky career for being so outspoken. 

Year 2000?

Andy Mason and Hillary Butler were memorable interviews back in the 1990s.

Newspaper evidence of Andy Mason's confidence. 

This is another in series of vignettes about the UW 1991 national championship football team, filling in the conversation before the pandemic-delayed season begins next month. This is week 7 of the perfect 12-0 run.

Mason would end up making a lasting name for himself on that UW defensive line, first taking advantage of the Emtman factor and then becoming force himself after the big man left. He was greatly undersized, just a 238-pounder, but he made it work.

Coming off the edge in frightening fashion, Mason still ranks eighth in school history in tackles for loss with 43.5. From the national title team, only inside linebacker Dave Hoffmann had more TFLs with 46. 

Mason today owns a construction company that works on federal projects and he lives in Surprise, Arizona. He's done well as a businessman. We caught up with him at the Arizona-New Mexico border last week, while he was traveling for work. 

Three decades past the national title run, Mason laughs at how he had to grow up quick as a football player. He wasn't quite the year 2000 just yet. But it all worked out in the end in 1991.

"I remember going into every game going oh gosh, oh gosh," he said. "But once we started rolling ... "

Mason talks about his current career and life in the Southwest in this second video. 


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