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Originally published Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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WSU Football | Eastern's Wulff not yet contacted

Eastern Washington coach Paul Wulff is believed to be among the leading candidates to succeed Bill Doba at Washington State, but he hasn't...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Eastern Washington coach Paul Wulff is believed to be among the leading candidates to succeed Bill Doba at Washington State, but he hasn't heard yet from the Cougars.

That could be because the logistics of a Wulff visit will be pretty simple. He's just 70 miles away in Cheney. Also, WSU athletic director Jim Sterk has been on the East Coast to attend a football awards banquet, but the journey likely included a stop or two to meet candidates.

Wulff said Wednesday, "Obviously, it's a job I'm very interested in."

His Eagles (9-4) were eliminated in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals Saturday by defending national champion Appalachian State.

Wulff is the choice of former Cougars coach Jim Walden, who recruited him as a player to WSU in 1985. Wulff's Cougars career included playing center on the 1988 team coached by Dennis Erickson that beat No. 1 UCLA and went to the Aloha Bowl. The next year, he was second-team All-Pac-10 center on the team coached by Mike Price.

Wulff, 40, has a 53-40 record at Eastern and only one losing season. He has been Big Sky coach of the year three times.

Walden said he thinks Wulff is the right choice because:

• "He was a Cougar and he knows the terrain."

• He grew up in California and could say to recruits, "I was born and raised right here in California and the greatest decision I ever made was to go to Washington State."

• "He is creative as a coach. ... He changed a lot of his offense this year."

• "He probably knows every high-school coach in Washington."

Indeed, EWU's summer football camp draws more than 1,500 players who arrive with their teams and coaches.

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The Eastern Washington roster has averaged about 85 percent in-state players.

Wulff joined the EWU staff in 1993 as a volunteer coach after playing in the World Football League. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1998 and to head coach in 2000.

Wulff's life has included tragedy. His mother disappeared in 1979 when he was 12 and her body never was found.

"My dad was the suspect but there was never enough evidence to go to trial," said Wulff, who was raised by an aunt and uncle and later lived with an older brother. The family lived in Davis, Calif. His father died about 1 ½ years ago.

Wulff's first wife, Tammy, a Bainbridge Island native, died of brain cancer in 2002. He is remarried and he and his wife, Sherry, have sons ages 4 and 1 plus her 12-year-old daughter.

Asked to name his strength as a coach, Wulff said, "Evaluating coaches and players. ... Always looking to try something new to stay on top of the curve. Making sure we are one step ahead of somebody somehow, some way."

Note

• The Los Angeles Times reported that Washington State has made contact with representatives of DeWayne Walker, UCLA defensive coordinator promoted to acting head coach after the firing of Karl Dorrell.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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