Some of you have probably been wondering what Bill Moos has been up to since he took the athletic director job. While it's true he won't officially start his duties for another month, he's still been at work laying out plans and selling his ideas to the higher ups at Washington State University. One item of note that's been glossed over most places was his meeting with the Board of Regents in the Tri-Cities last Thursday. The Daily Evergreen has a summary of it here.
The story from the Evergreen comes with some notable items. It's apparent right away to anyone who has heard Moos talk that he has an ability to motivate with words. It's a big reason why he's been so successful in his work before. He also doesn't go into a job with half an idea, he does it full-on pedal to the medal. There are a few parts of his presentation to the Regents that deserve a closer look and after the jump, we'll do just that.The first item most people want to know about is the stadium expansion. Moos has hinted before that he may put it on hold and in his presentation he explained why it may be a good idea to put the brakes on expansion.
Football players spend six days a year in Martin Stadium, he said, and six days a week in the weight room. He applauds the stadium renovations so far but plans to improve training facilities while construction costs are low.
As much as we've wanted to see the stadium get done, most of us may have gotten tunnel vision and not realized what was going on in the bigger picture. Without a quality product on the field, having a bigger stadium with luxury suites isn't necessary. People won't want to come to Pullman and pay premium pricing to watch the Cougs get blown out. Moos is taking the approach that improving the product by luring better athletes, like he did at Oregon, will lead to expansion in the future. Creating a better environment for the athletes themselves should be priority for the university. While it would be nice to have the increased revenue from a stadium expansion, it won't matter if you can't fill it. In the long run, catering to the athletes in an effort to bolster recruitment can be a much bigger way to make money (by using success on the field to increase donations) than an immediate stadium expansion.
He will have a home in both Pullman and Spokane, which will give WSU unprecedented presence in Spokane, he said.
Another big part of his plan is connecting alums and donors to the program by reaching out to them. This doesn't mean a phone call every couple months asking for money, but does mean bringing athletics to their doorstep. The first step, and it's a good one, is to start with locations near WSU. Expanding the WSU presence in Spokane, Tri-cities, and Vancouver, places where WSU already has extensions, is an easy way to make donors feel more like they're a part of the program. Moos goes on to detail how he will have a weekly call-in show on Spokane radio to talk about athletics and WSU as a whole. He also floats the idea of having a spring scrimmage and coaches clinic in Spokane, as well as other scrimmages throughout the state. What better way to promote your product than to take it right into someone's back yard?
"We don’t play second field to anybody," he said. "We’ve got so many things that are top notch and first rate, and it’s time that we dwell on those and put to rest, finally and forever, the underdog philosophy. We aren’t going to Coug it anymore. We’re going to Cougar it."
One of the biggest things Moos wants is an attitude change in the program and from Cougar nation as a whole. He expects us to be in, and presumably stay in, the top half of the Pac-10 rankings in both football and basketball within three years. In order to do so, the school needs to upgrade its facilities to appeal more to big time athletes (even when talking to the Regents he's making a sales pitch). He exudes confidence in what WSU can be and is focusing on the positives instead of embracing that underdog role. Most Cougs have taken that underdog role and run with it, but to be the best the Cougs need to have the attitude that they can compete with the best.
And, finally, I leave you with this:
"And certainly, mark my words, I am not afraid to go over Snoqualmie Pass and take those guys on, too," he said. "I’ve got some ideas about the Huskies as well."
What do you think of his plans? Is losing the underdog mentality a good thing? Is it a good idea to drop the stadium expansion for now and focus on facilities for the athletes?