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Kirk Schulz praises George Kliavkoff’s first year as Pac-12 commissioner

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 27 Pac-12 Media Day Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a year ago that the Pac-12 named George Kliavkoff as its next commissioner, ending the reign of Larry Scott once and for all. Kliavkoff officially started in the role on July 1, but the announcement of his hiring was a relief to Pac-12 sports fans across the western United States.

WSU President Kirk Schulz was instrumental in Kliavkoff’s hiring—Schulz was on the three-person hiring committee that selected Kliavkoff. Given Schulz’s appreciation for college athletics, his voice in these matters seems to carry some weight.

That’s why Jon Wilner went to Schulz and the other three hiring committee members to get their thoughts on Kliavkoff’s first year at the helm. Here’s just a sample of what Schulz said about Kliavkoff and, really, what he said about Kliavkoff’s predecessor:

“The board didn’t lay all this out; he just did it. Not only has he done okay, but I’d argue that he has become a leader after what I would say were four or five years of stagnation.”

“George shows up at the campuses, all of them, and he’s there for a couple days. Nobody goes, ‘He doesn’t look like he wants to be in Pullman’ — or Corvallis or Phoenix or wherever. You hear that from the student-athletes, too. He really engages with them.

“He doesn’t come in with a lot of excuses. He showed up and listened and got a real sense for what the campus was like. Maybe it’s just Management 101, but that hasn’t been present for a while.

“He talks to people, and afterward you feel energized and optimistic. You don’t think it was a waste of time. After he has meetings on campus, I don’t have to do a lot of relationship rebuilding.”

“He has a talented staff at the conference office that I don’t think has been properly utilized. People thought with the (commissioner) change that we would hemorrhage staff members.

“But he has kept key people and turned around the morale. He has them looking ahead, not back. And when you get talented people moving in the same direction, it’s amazing what they can do.”

I mean, tell me you were disappointed in Larry Scott without telling me you were disappointed in Larry Scott.

Schulz went on to say that the next media rights deal is a big assignment for Kliavkoff and the conference. Mess that up, and the goodwill Kliavkoff has garnered could start to wither away. Cross your fingers it all works out.

Baseball drops opener at no. 15 UCLA

Don’t look now, but WSU is just one game under .500 heading into today’s matchup with UCLA. A recent hot streak put WSU at .500 before last night’s shutout loss. Despite dropping the series opener, it’s been quite a comeback for these Cougs.

Cougars Drop Pitcher’s Duel to No. 15 UCLA - Washington State University Athletics
The series continues Saturday at 2:05 p.m. on Pac-12 Los Angeles.

‘Do damage’: Standout Washington State hitters Jack Smith, Jacob McKeon spearhead Cougs’ offensive resurgence | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Red-hot hitters for Washington State’s baseball team, Jack Smith and Jacob McKeon live by a straightforward approach at the plate.

Links

WSU boss Kirk Schulz talks Kliavkoff, Pac-12, football investment
Schulz was a member of the search committee that hired George Kliavkoff a year ago.

Former Incarnate Word star receiver Robert Ferrel commits to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward won’t need to develop chemistry with the Cougars’ newest receiver.

Utah State transfer cornerback Cam Lampkin pledges to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Washington State shored up its cornerbacks position and gained experience in its secondary with the addition of Cam Lampkin – a key defender for Utah State last season.

Englar Brings Home Conference Title; Cougars Wrap Up Day One at Pac-12 Championships - Washington State University Athletics
EUGENE, Ore. - Jacob Englar cleared his first attempts at both 5.01m and 5.11 to win the men's pole vault on day one of the 2022 Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships.