Oregon Huskies

Husky profile: Thane Cleland, ’87


A passionate advocate for higher education, Thane Cleland, ’87, has been fostering UW community through the Portland Huskies UW Alumni Association Chapter for the past 20 years. A former student athlete who played football for legendary Husky coach Don James, Cleland was the UW’s punter from 1983-86. He still holds the school record for punts in a career with 244 and is second in UW history for punts in a season (75 in 1984, which was the same year the Huskies went 11-1 and finished #2 in the country).

Cleland has worked as an institutional portfolio manager and analyst in the Portland area since graduating. In 2000, he founded CWC Advisors, a portfolio management service for individuals and institutions, which he continues to run today. He has served on the foundation board for Portland Community College for the past 12 years as well.

Read on to learn more about Cleland, his favorite memories from UW and what being a lifelong Husky means to him.

UWAA: How did your UW experiences help prepare you for your career today?

TC: I majored in Economics at UW so my formal schooling plays nicely into my every day activities. And the life skills I learned from playing on a team coached by Don James have been equally important. I didn’t realize the magnitude of lessons I was learning from him at the time.

UWAA: In what way? What was it like to play for Don James?

TC: Coach James was there to whip us into a highly functioning unit and teach us the correct way to play football and conduct ourselves off the field. He coached the assistant coaches, and they coached us. There was never any doubt as to who was in charge. When he entered the room, everyone stopped what they were doing and sat up straight in their chairs—including the coaches.

I think his success stemmed from his fantastic organizational skills. Nothing happened on game day that he wasn’t prepared for; he’d already thought through every possibility before it happened. Coach James was tough but fair, consistent in his message and highly organized.

UWAA: Why did you decide to attend UW?

TC: I was recruited as a wide receiver out of high school, and my two top choices were UW and Stanford.  UW offered me a scholarship up-front, while Stanford put me on a wait list. I committed to UW two weeks before Signing Day. Not long after I did, Stanford came through with an offer. But it was too late—my blood had already turned purple.

UWAA: What’s your favorite memory from your time at UW?

TC: I have so many! Of course, game days in Husky Stadium and bowl game wins are on the list, but there’s also the people and the bonds that formed between teammates. Some of my college roommates became my lifelong friends, and I was fortunate to play football the same years as Jeff Jaeger, ’86. We held down the specialist jobs for four years together–that was special. Speaking of football, I’ll never forget the locker room banter—it can’t really be explained, or beat!

UWAA: In addition to the Portland alumni chapter, you’re active in the Portland Husky Business Networking Group. Why is this an important program for Portland Huskies?

TC: Sometimes it can feel like Husky professionals are floating adrift in Duck and Beaver territory here! This group provides opportunities throughout the year for us to get together and network without having to defend our collegiate allegiance.

UWAA: You’re also in the Big W Club and are a lifetime member of the UW Alumni Association. What motivates you to stay active with UW through its alumni community?

TC: I cherish the memories I have from UW and want to do my part to make it possible for other alums and future Huskies to do the same. Our Portland alumni community consists of a tight-knit group of people who work together to ensure the chapter’s success. It has been a real pleasure getting to know them—the relationships we’ve built together have provided countless rewards.


Keep up with the Portland Chapter on Facebook, and learn more about their regular events and activities, such as the Husky Business Networking Group.