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Moos makes coaching stability a priority at WSU

Bill Moos has made it clear that he wants Pullman to be a destination and not a stepping stone for coaches in all sports. He has backed this up with several contract extensions over the past year.

The past week in WSU sports was highlighted by the announcements of a coaching hire and a coaching extension. On Tuesday, Wayne Phipps was named the new Track and Field Coach. Phipps is replacing the retiring Rick Sloan. On Thursday, it was announced that Jen Greeny's volleyball contract would be extended through the 2018 season.

It is clear from the past year that coaching stability is a priority for Bill Moos. At a meet-and-greet a few weeks ago held in Pullman for new Men's Basketball coach Ernie Kent, Moos made mention of Sloan's long tenure at WSU at the ideal type of coach he is looking for. Sloan had been involved in some coaching capacity at WSU for 41 years before stepping down after this season. Moos used Sloan's tenure as an opportunity to recite his famous "Washington State should be a destination, not a stepping stone" phrase.

The goal of "coaching destination" has equated to Mike Leach, June Daugherty, Donnie Marbut, and Greeny all receiving extensions/contract rollovers in the past year. Leach and Daugherty were extended when their teams snapped long postseason droughts. A press release from the athletic department cited program momentum and improved academics as reasons for the Greeny extension. There has also always been an underlying faith that Greeny knows the recipe for success at WSU having taken part in it as a player in the 1990s. The Marbut extension was a little more puzzling after four years of mediocrity. However, Marbut has had success in the past, which may have factored into the decision.

The new hires of Steve Nugent, Ernie Kent, and Phipps also likely mean coaching stability in the coming years for their respective sports. Nugent's hire is somewhat shrouded by the fact that he will be the third Women's Soccer coach for the Cougs in the last four years. Losing Matt Potter to Oklahoma after 2011 and Kedaine McAlpine to USC after last season do not bode well for the "destination" mantra, especially considering programs' run of success. Still, Nugent seems very impassioned about coaching in Pullman and the needed improvements that persuaded his predecessors to go elsewhere are starting to happen little by little.

Moos's quest for coaching stability at WSU seems to driven foremost by a mandate to ameliorate the dreaded fan-related psychological disorder Cougar Coaching Complex (CCC). CCC is an eerie paranoia suffered by Coug fans that equates coaching success at WSU to imminent departure from Pullman.The level of CCC was pretty high when Moos took on the AD role with Tony Bennett's departure still very fresh in the mind of the Cougar faithful.

Secondly, I believe that Moos makes a clear effort to establish confidence in his coaches. Having job stability allows coaches to think long term rather than taking shortcuts that might lead to more immediate results. Remember Tanner Lancona? Also, with job security, coaches can give recruits greater assurance that the voice they are hearing over the phone or in their houses persuading them to come to WSU will be the same voice providing them with a game plan on their Senior Night.

Moos's movement towards coaching stability at WSU is the right direction to take. It might lead to some malcontent on the part of fans who often see coaching changes as being the solution to all program ills. Nevertheless, Moos seems to appreciate the fact that rebuilding cycles are still part of the landscape at WSU even though he is working to transform that landscape to one that sees success on a more continuous basis.

Moos also seems to be making an effort to reward loyalty. Each of the coaches seem to possess a deep sense of commitment to making or building upon on their name here at WSU. Yes, there does have to be some success in the equation. I can tell you that Ken Bone was extremely loyal to WSU, which may account for some of the patience that was shown to him among other factors. Regardless, I feel all the coaches WSU have in place are more in destination than transition mode.

The future of WSU Athletics looks relatively bright. There are not many teams headed for what I would call a "dreaded season" next year where some degree of success is completely improbable. And thanks to a year full of extensions and new hires, the faces in charge of overseeing that success will likely become very familiar ones.


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