New WSU athletic director Moos appeals to Cougs' loyalty
Bill Moos was introduced as Washington State's new athletic director on Wednesday. "Cougars everywhere love their alma mater. ... The common theme from me will be, 'If you like the sermon, show it when the collection plate is passed around.' "
Seattle Times colleges reporter
Bill Moos said Wednesday he'd begin his new job with some restraint. But not without grand ambition.
Moos, 59, was introduced as Washington State's next athletic director at a campus news conference. He will take over no later than May 1.
While the resuscitation of the Cougars' renovation project for Martin Stadium appears the key priority, Moos said he'd begin by taking a wider view of possible facilities needs.
Even before that, he wants to address a mindset, and in massaging that, he envisions capital improvements.
"One thing I'm going to focus on is the culture," he said. "I will never look at the program as underdogs. We're not underdogs; we're not going to use the term 'Couging it.' We're going to set forth a path that leads to championships.
"Cougars everywhere love their alma mater. They're going to hear from me that that's important. The common theme from me will be, 'If you like the sermon, show it when the collection plate is passed around.' "
The so-called Phase 3 of a renovation to Martin Stadium would put luxury suites, loge boxes and club seats on the north side of the facility. It would add 2,200 seats, but the key element is the revenue stream created by the additions.
"Certainly Phase 3 is extremely important," Moos said, "and one day, it's going to be a supply-and-demand importance, because there aren't going to be enough seats available. That's not the case right now, but we'll move in that direction."
Moos said outgoing AD Jim Sterk and his staff "did a nice job of setting the table" with Phase 3, but noted that the project — which has about 52 percent of the necessary 80 percent of proposed seats pledged before work could begin — would be an easier sell during better times for football.
"I'm certainly not saying there's a chance we're going to scrap it," Moos said. "I just want to get educated on it, take a good, hard look and go from there."
WSU president Elson Floyd announced Moos' salary at $455,000 annually, saying that a Pac-10 survey that includes nine schools would put Moos' guaranteed money at third in the conference.
Still at issue is Moos' separation from a noncompete contract with Oregon. When he left the Ducks as athletic director in 2007 after a falling-out with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Moos agreed to a roughly $2 million buyout over 10 years, about $1.4 million of which remains to be paid.
Moos said he would spend his early days on the job doing a lot of watching, listening and traveling the state.
"Somebody who comes in and breaks up the furniture and makes a big splash is usually looking for his next job," he said. "I'm not going to have a next job."
This is Moos' third job as the head man at a Northwest school. After serving as an assistant AD at WSU from 1982-90, he became AD at Montana, then moved to Oregon in 1995 for a 12-year run.
Moos, an All-Pac-8 offensive lineman at WSU in 1972, counted four times he'd been around Pullman in a different form.
"Somehow, in my life, all roads lead back here," he quipped. "The fifth time will probably be in a hearse."
Moos clearly takes a wary view of expansion of the Pac-10, which new commissioner Larry Scott is assessing. At Oregon, Moos battled to implement a full round-robin schedule for football in the league, which became reality in 2006, and he noted that expansion would scuttle that schedule as well as possibly distance Northwest schools from Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
As for WSU football, he recalled that the early years of the Jim Sweeney era when he played were marked by some of the Cougars' darkest times, but by 1972, they went 7-4 and earned a national ranking.
"In conversations with (coach) Paul Wulff, we had a very good recruiting year on the back of a pretty good one the year before," Moos said. "I know how hard they're working in recruiting, and I'm certainly hoping that will transform into victories this fall."
After the split with Oregon, Moos and his wife Kendra developed a cattle ranch south of Spokane, something that very soon won't be getting a lot of his time.
"Our ranch at Valleyford is named the Special K ranch, after Kendra," Moos said, pointing to his wife in the audience at the Compton Union Building. "You're going to be running it now. You go, cowgirl."
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Bud Withers
Bud Withers gives his take on college sports, with the latest from the Huskies, Cougs, and the rest of the Pac-10.
email@example.com | 206-464-8281
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.