For the last year or so, we've pretty intentionally stayed away from any substantial discussion of Paul Wulff's job status, mostly because we received no indication that it was likely to change. We put together a pretty exhaustive look at it in that vein near the end of last season, and it seemed pretty clear to us that there was just no way Jim Sterk was going to fire Paul Wulff.
Against that backdrop, let it be known:
- We did not start this.
- Bill Moos did.
- And now that the cat is out of the bag, it's never going back in.
Moos made some comments this morning regarding Wulff that raised a few eyebrows on his call-in show on ESPN 700-AM in Spokane. I can't find an archived version of the audio online, but Cougfan.com summarized the passage as Wulff is "doing a good job in recruiting, that he's WSU’s football coach in 2010 and that he needs to be supported by the fans."
Now, this is not the first rodeo for Bill Moos. He is a man who chooses his words carefully, and he also generally does not mince them. So ears rightly perked up regarding both what was said (2010) and what was not said (anything beyond that).
Since Cougfan apparently has the super secret number for the Bat Phone, they called Moos for some clarification. Again, remember that Bill Moos is a man who chooses his words carefully:
"My intention on what I said was don’t start calling in and grousing and complaining. He’s our football coach, and we need to support him. I don’t like the in-season grousing and all that kind of stuff," Moos told CF.C. ...
"Like I’ve always done every place, I assess every coach’s job at the end of the season, when we have our talk – that’s whether they’ve gone undefeated or they haven’t won a game," said Moos. "There was no hidden meaning in that.
"There ain’t going to be another coach in 2010 so let’s support the one we’ve got… At the end of 2010, we’ll do what I've always done, we'll discuss what needs to be improved, what went well and we’ll go from there."
That ringing endorsement Jim Walden has been longing for? I sure as heck don't see it anywhere in there. In fact, saying let's support the one we've got because it ain't changing? That's about as low a bar for support as there is. Again, it's not so much what he said, but what he didn't say. And that speaks louder than any of these words possibly could, because he could have put an end to all of this by publicly declaring that he's 100 percent behind Wulff and that he'll certainly return for his fourth season.
Cougfan can try to dress this up as Moos downplaying it all they want, but I'm not buying it. Moos is a calculating man who does absolutely nothing by accident. And it's no accident that, when put on the spot, he wouldn't publicly commit to Wulff past this year.
Paul Wulff can complain all he wants about the outside pressures coming from fans -- and, by extension, the nebulous "blogs" and "message boards" -- but now it's coming from his own AD, who has elected not to throw his considerable metaphorical weight behind the coach.
Barring a distinct change of course over the next few weeks, this is going to get ugly. Really, really ugly.