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Originally published Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:47 AM

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Moos to get look at Oregon program he helped build

Bill Moos helped build the Ducks into a football power during his 12 years as athletic director for Oregon.

Associated Press Writer

SPOKANE, Wash. —

Bill Moos helped build the Ducks into a football power during his 12 years as athletic director for Oregon.

He'll view his handiwork from the other side for the first time this Saturday, when No. 3 Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) travels to Pullman to play Washington State (1-4, 0-2), where Moos has been the athletic director since February.

There won't be any divided loyalties for Moos, whose departure from Oregon was the result of an unspecified falling out with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, a major booster.

"I'm a Cougar and I work for the Cougars, so people know where my heart is," said Moos, a star player for Washington State in the early 1970s. Indeed, the answering machine message on his cell phone begins with an extended rendition of the WSU fight song.

Moos, 59, was athletic director at Oregon from 1995-2007, where the rising fortunes of the football program brought dramatic increases in sports revenues. Moos and Knight have never talked publicly about their split, but many found it telling that Knight gave a $100 million donation to Oregon's athletic department right after Moos left.

Moos claims to have no hard feelings, calling the Ducks the best team in the country right now. They are five touchdown favorites this Saturday.

"We spent 12 very good years at Oregon and feel very proud of our part in building that program," Moos said. "I continue to be impressed with how they have continued to grow it."

Under a noncompete clause with Oregon that paid him nearly $200,000 a year, Moos spent three years developing a ranch south of Spokane, and caught up on issues at his alma mater.

When athletic director Jim Sterk decided in February to leave for San Diego State, WSU boosters demanded that the administration hire Moos as the replacement. Moos negotiated a deal with Oregon regarding the noncompete and then went to work.

What WSU boosters were looking for is the same kind of magic Moos worked in Eugene, where the athletic department budget grew from $18 million in his first year to more than $40 million by 2007. The donor base increased from 4,900 to 12,290. Moos oversaw the expansion of facilities, and the Ducks enjoyed their longest stretches of success in football and men's basketball.

Moos believes a similar renaissance can occur at Washington State, where the $30 million athletic budget is the smallest in the Pac-10 and football attendance has dropped after two dreadful seasons.

"I want our fans to realize this can be done at WSU," Moos said.


Much depends on the fortunes of the football team, which was 3-22 in coach Paul Wulff's first two seasons and continues to struggle this year.

Moos remains confident that Wulff can turn the program around.

"Paul and his assistants are doing a great job of recruiting," Moos said. "I'm seeing signs of improvement."

"We changed the culture and mindset at Oregon, but it wasn't done overnight," Moos said. "Our design there is similar to what we are doing here."

That includes trying to make lots more money from football. Moos believes the football program should generate two-thirds to three-quarters of an athletic department's budget. At WSU, football generates about one-third, $10 million, because of low attendance and lower television income than other Pac-10 teams, Moos said.

"We've got to increase our revenue streams and have money in the bank," Moos said.

A major step in that direction could come at this week's meetings of Pac-10 athletic directors. The meetings are part of the effort to hammer out new revenue sharing agreements as the league adds Colorado and Utah in 2011. In the Pac-10, participants in a televised game split 64 percent of the money, with the other eight teams getting just 4.5 percent each.

Moos favors sharing the TV revenue equally, as many other conferences do, which could be worth $10 million to $15 million a year for the Cougars.

Moos noted that Washington State has gone to the Rose Bowl twice since 1997, but failed to keep the momentum going.

"We have to work to get back there and then have a plan in place to sustain it," Moos said. "The latter is tougher than the former."

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