WSU Football Notebook | Talk of Doba on hold
The most-asked question about Washington State football these days is whether coach Bill Doba will be back next year. Athletic director Jim Sterk...
Seattle Times staff reporter; Seattle Times staff reporter
The most-asked question about Washington State football these days is whether coach Bill Doba will be back next year.
Athletic director Jim Sterk is aware of fan discontent but said Tuesday night, "We've got five games left. There's a lot of football to be played. A decision will be made after that."
Sterk said the best thing Cougars fans can do to help the program is to support the team in the final five games.
"Any kind of other talk is distracting to what the coaches and the players are trying to do," Sterk said in a telephone interview. "They are trying to finish off the season strong, so the best thing everyone can do is cheer for the Cougars on Saturdays."
Sterk said he isn't going to give Doba a public "vote of confidence" now "because that's like the kiss of death."
The Cougars (2-5, 0-4 Pac-10) will try to snap their four-game losing streak Saturday in Pullman when UCLA (5-2, 4-0) visits for a 3:30 p.m. televised game. UCLA upset California last Saturday.
The Cougars then play at Cal next week before completing the season with November home games against Stanford and Oregon State, and the Apple Cup against Washington in Seattle.
Sterk said he will be making the decision on Doba's future in consultation with other university leaders, notably new president Elson S. Floyd.
"Those are not decisions you take lightly; it impacts a lot of people," Sterk said.
"We'll need to sit down with Bill and see where he's at and where the program is and then we get an indicator of what the future holds that way," Sterk said.
Sterk acknowledged that buying out the contracts of Doba and his assistants would cost WSU $2.8 million.
Doba's contract runs through 2009. He is in his fifth season as head coach and his record is 27-27. His only winning season was 10-3 in 2003. The Cougars were 6-6 last year.
Doba, 67, has been at WSU since 1989 when he arrived as linebackers coach for Mike Price. Doba was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1994.
The state of recruiting will be a topic in postseason talks regarding Doba's future. The Cougars have yet to receive a commitment for next season, according to recruiting sites. However, Sterk said he is impressed with the players that make up this season's class of newcomers.
Sterk said he thinks Doba was able to "get more involved [in recruiting the 2007 newcomers] than the past three years because of circumstances."
Doba's wife, Judy, fought ovarian cancer for four years and died in April 2006.
"During the couple years where Judy was really sick I think that impacted significantly his time and energy," Sterk said. "I think they had a really good recruiting class this past year."
In his current column on the WSU athletic Web site, Sterk also defends the attrition rate in Doba's first three recruiting classes, saying it is similar to the rate in the three years after the 1997 season with WSU's Rose Bowl appearance.
Sterk said Tuesday night the renovation of Martin Stadium now under way should help recruiting.
"Our stadium renovation is long overdue," he said, mentioning how Oregon and Oregon State have upgraded their stadiums. Fund-raising is continuing for the Martin Stadium project.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
UCLA extends win streak in Pullman to 18
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