A report surfaced yesterday that WSU athletics director Bill Moos had extended baseball coach Donnie Marbut. It came from a radio station, but there were no quotes, and it seemed just ... well, odd, given how Moos generally does business.
Today, audio was added to the original report, and yes: Moos did in fact announce that he has extended Marbut.
"We certainly are improved, and I'm proud of Donnie and I just gave him an extension on his contract," Moos said on KQQQ's "Morning News." "I like the looks of what we're doing in regards to Cougar baseball."
I'm not sure why the original report didn't just include a quote or the audio in the first place, but whatever. This deal is now done, and unless Moos breaks from his own precedent -- which, hey, he could have done since he's always said he's never going to comment on a coach's status until the end of the season -- it's one year added on to the current roll-over contract to keep Marbut's deal at two years remaining.
An interesting aspect of what Moos said is that the team is improved. While that's technically true -- the Cougars have already won four more Pac-12 games than last year with this weekend still to go -- the team is going to miss the postseason again. Bigger things were expected by most observers than a failure to get back into the Pac-12's upper half.
Additionally, while the team won more games this year, it's fair to wonder if the team is actually going to be improved again. Two of their three best hitters could be picked in the top five rounds (Yale Rosen and Ben Roberts), the team's only serviceable leadoff hitter is gone, and there are always other unexpected departures.
Put simply, I don't share Moos' optimism. But maybe there are some players in the incoming class that are destined to make a big impact, or some young guys just waiting their turn. Or maybe Moos just decided he didn't want to pay for two baseball coaches right now, given that he's paying two basketball coaches, and figured it was better to do this than to neuter the program by letting Marbut get to lame duck status.
Whatever it is, Marbut's your coach next year. You OK with that?