Moos offers perspective on hoops outlook

SEATTLE — The event was titled A Night With Cougar Football and Washington State athletic director Bill Moos spent much of Friday evening at the Bell Harbor Conference Center discussing that program and the new Football Operations Building he hopes will enhance it. But that did not prevent CF.C from catching up with Moos afterward to discuss the state of the university's basketball teams.

Ken Bone's job security, much-speculated about since last season's 13-19 record, is now seemingly at the precipice in light of the Cougars' 20 losses this campaign.

Moos disputed comments from Cougar fans, on hand for last week's football dinner in the Portland area, who said he was very pointed when asked there about Bone's future.

"All I've ever said is that all throughout my career as athletic director is that I've always had a short list in football and men's basketball for whatever reason I might need to make a move," he said on Friday in Seattle. "This situation is no different."

Asked about conjecture that WSU might have to lower expectations in a hunt for a new coach because basketball facilities lag behind much of the conference, Moos scoffed.

"My short list right now is all head coaches," he said.

Bone is 80-85 overall and 29-61 in conference play in five seasons with the Cougars. This marks the third consecutive year WSU has won fewer games than the previous season.

"I think our guys have played hard," Moos said. "I know our coaches have worked hard. It's disappointing, of course, not to have a true point guard for a second year in a row."

Bone has struggled to recruit the caliber of athletes necessary to run the uptempo system he desired when he was hired in 2009 from Portland State. That has led some to suggest that the Cougars' prospects for success are stronger with a defensive-minded coach that utilizes a system that does not require elite recruits.

"There's a lot of ways to win games," Moos said. "I do think if you're going after top players they want a wide open, shoot the 3, fastbreak, get the ball down the court [system].

"If you're resigned to the fact that you can't get those players — maybe that's where the Bennetts were — then you get big, tough players that are going to play great defense and dive on balls."

Bone still has two seasons remaining on a seven-year contract, but Moos said the $1.7 million price tag won't be a factor in his decision-making process.

"The issue is to have the best coach available and the best experience for the student-athletes," Moos said. "Out of the seven years, there's only two left. That's manageable if that's the route we want to go."

WHILE THE MEN'S PROGRAM has struggled mightily this season, the WSU's women's team stands at 17-16 after advancing to the Pac-12 tournament semifinals. That record marks the program's first winning season since the mid-1990s and should put them in line for a WNIT invitation.

Head coach June Daugherty is in her seventh season at WSU. While she has a record with the Cougars far worse than Bone's, Moos extended her contract two years ago.

"She took over a program that was in terrible shape in regards to talent," he said. "It totally had to be revamped and needed the time to do that. We started to see glimmers of future success a year ago with quality wins over Ohio State and Gonzaga. But we still weren't winning the ones we should have and protecting home court. This year we've gotten at that, but we're still not all of the way there."

"We've got a ways to go still in women's basketball, but I've liked the progress that we're making," Moos said.

Moos said he values continuity in all of his programs.

"It's just like what we're doing in football and with all of our sports," he said. "There's no quick fixes. We want coaches that want to be at Washington State, that are quality, proven coaches and can recruit the right type of player and then year by year make those strides until you get into position where you're competing for conference championships."

Moos said the Pac-12's fluctuating basketball schedule that features games Wednesday through Sunday has necessitated the use of some charter flights. Moos said both the men's and women's team have taken charter flights about four times this season. He said those flights have enabled athletes to miss less class time.

"They're spendy," said Moos, who did not have a dollar figure for those flights. "That's made easier by the revenue stream from the Pac-12 TV deal."

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