It's mutual admiration with Marbut and Waer

YAKIMA -- When Cougar baseball recruiting coordinator Spencer Allen told head coach Donnie Marbut on Monday he was taking a new post at Creighton, Marbut knew immediately who he wanted bring on board. Within minutes, he was on the phone with Pat Waer. Yesterday, just hours after Waer signed on the dotted line, Marbut introduced his new man to a gathering of the Cougar faithful in Yakima.

"I wouldn't have left Fresno State for any other assistant job," Waer said at the Night with Cougar Athletics event at the Harman Center in Yakima.

"It's pretty special working for WSU," said Waer, who was a senior on Bobo Brayton's final Cougar team in 1994, and whose wife also is a WSU graduate.

When it comes to recruiting, Waer said it's more than athleticism. Chemistry is critical, and that's makes coming to WSU especially attractive.

"Donnie has done the right things," said Waer, who spent the past six seasons with Fresno State, helping the Bulldogs to five NCAA appearances and the 2008 national title.

"I'm just really excited to be here," he added. "I'm excited to meet the team and start working with them in the fall."

Marbut said he's pleased to be bringing in an assistant coach who already knows what Cougar athletics are all about, and that he feels Waer brings the team one step closer to Omaha.

The Cougs finished 28-28 in the just-concluded season, but the youth -- especially in the pitching ranks -- is a source of great optimism for the future.

"The best thing about these freshmen is they (step) away (for the summer) and will become sophomores," Marbut said.

Marbut left Friday's event early because two of his former players, long-ball hitters Taylor Ard and Derek Jones, were making their professional baseball debuts against each other in a season opener in the Tri-Cities. Jones is with the Tri-City Dust Devils, a Colorado Rockies farm team, and Ard is with the Seattle Mariners' Everett Aquasox farm club.

Earlier in the evening, Marbut talked to about the decision to take next season's home series against the Huskies and move it to the Tri-Cities. The decision makes sense for two reasons, he said. School at WSU will be out for the summer when the series takes place, and "the Tri-Cities and Yakima County Coug fans are tremendous -- it's the least we can do to reciprocate."

Looking to the 2013 season, Marbut said one challenge he faces is finding a way to fill the holes left by Jones and Ard. He said there aren't just two new players he's planning to have step up and simply take over. Instead, he's looking to his team to come together and collectively fill that production void.

Off the field, Marbut said he is working to pull together a major building: Construction of a players' clubhouse adjacent to Bailey-Brayton Field. Fundraising has begun, but no specifics on the timeline have been set yet.

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