WSU’s Moos riding wave of excitement

January 17, 2012 by  

AD says Leach hiring has fans, boosters rejuvenated||

YAKIMA, Wash. — It’s the fervor normally reserved for college football teams fresh off bowl victories or at least winning seasons, not ones with nine total wins over the past four campaigns.

Then again, Washington State did make a splash of a coaching hire when it tapped Mike Leach and his video game-like ‘Air Raid’ offense to take the Cougar reins.

Since the late-November hiring, WSU has been riding a wave of national interest, rejuvenated fans and record donations.

That wave briefly swept into Yakima on Tuesday when WSU athletic director Bill Moos spoke to the annual Yakima growers meeting.

“It’s very exciting, there continues to be a national buzz,” he said shortly after addressing the group of more than 600 at the Yakima Convention Center.

Moos was a break from the agriculture-heavy lineup that included sessions on stinkbugs, coddling moths and fungicides. With many WSU alums among those in attendance, though, his message fit the occasion.

“The synergy was there,” said Darrin Belton of Zillah, who lined up the affable AD’s appearance.

Moos, himself a 1973 graduate, pulled the trigger on hiring Leach, who won 84 games in 10 seasons at Texas Tech but was fired in late 2009 after allegations he had mistreated a player.

The move meant firing fourth-year coach Paul Wulff, whose own hiring was due in good part to Moos, the chair of the selection committee that picked the former Eastern Washington coach in late 2007.

Wulff had helped bring back, if only incrementally, a football program that had three straight 10-win seasons a decade ago.

“We were improving, yet had an apathetic fanbase,” Moos said. “I just felt we were a junction where I had to make a decision.”

More than 1,300 new season-ticket orders, a million-plus dollars in donations and visions of a chuck-it-everywhere offense later, those fans have been galvanized.

“I called them caged Cougars,” Moos joked of the alums and fans who have been re-energized by the Leach hiring.

Their role, though, is just beginning, Moos said. Eventually he wants donations to cover the cost of scholarships for the athletes.

Money the school gets from the Pacific-12 Conference’s $3 billion television deal will help pay coaches competitive salaries — as it did with Leach’s $2 million-a-year contract — and improve facilities, Moos said.

“People need to realize they’re not off the hook,” he said.


Filed under * WSU Cougars, All


2 Responses to “WSU’s Moos riding wave of excitement”
  1. Jenkins says:

    Hope to see some more of us in Yakima attending games and supporting the Cougs financially. The Pac-12 is getting very competitive and Bill took a big step to let the Cougs do well in the Pac-12 with the hire of Mike Leach. Alumni and other supporters need to back him up!

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