Now is the time, say Moos and Leach

IF BILL MOOS has his way, Mike Leach will set his first record at Washington State in a matter of weeks. Seizing on the adrenalin rush Leach's hiring has brought to the Cougar Nation, Moos is pushing hard to increase the number of members in the Cougar booster club to the highest of any in the Pac-12.

The centerpiece of the effort is a mass mailing to 147,000 Cougar partisans asking them to join the Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF), which helps underwrite the cost of scholarships.

"A lot has been said and written in the past few weeks about the lack of financial support that has been historically provided by the Cougar fan base," Moos and Leach write in the mass mailing. "But we don't believe that the will to support Cougar Athletics doesn't exist. We are willing to take a stand for our belief in Cougar across the country."

With a current membership of 4,084, the Cougar Athletic Fund is the No. 8 booster club, in size, among the 10 schools in the Pac-12 who make their numbers public. Oregon is No. 1 at 8,800.

"If we can get a five percent return, which is just ahead of the national rate for these types of mailings, the Cougar Athletic Fund would become the largest in terms of members in the Pac-12," senior associate athletic director Mike Marlow tells

A five percent response rate would rocket the membership total to about 11,000.

Having the largest booster club in the conference would help WSU "brand" the Cougar Athletic Fund and give members a sense of pride and motivation.

Once that goal is achieved, the next step would be to steadily increase the amounts those people give. By that measure, WSU is way behind the competition no matter how you slice it.

  • In terms of total dollars raised for scholarships, WSU's $2.48 million in the current fiscal year is $3 million less than the second-lowest on the list, Arizona State.

  • In terms of the average donation, WSU's $607 is almost two-thirds less than Oregon State and Oregon, and nearly $400 less than the next-worst on the list, Stanford at $955.

  • There's a $5 million gap between what WSU fans and alums donate to scholarships and what the school's financial aid distributions to athletes total. That means Moos must take money from elsewhere in the department to bridge the chasm.

    "Do not ride the fence, and do not sit on the sidelines," Moos and Leach write.

    "In order to achieve our vision for Cougar Athletics, we are going to have to expand our donor base and have many more Cougars answer the call," Moos and Leach say in the mailing. "And we will all feel ownership when the Cougars are raising banners and lifting championship trophies, because we believed that it was possible and ACTED to make it happen."

    That first championship, says Marlow, can happen immediately if Cougar fans join the club and propel the CAF to the top of the Pac-12.

    To join the Cougar Athletic Fund, click to the Cougar Athletic Fund.

    You can get started for only $50 a year.

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