Moos' top attribute in new coach: Recruiting

BILL MOOS SAID Tuesday afternoon he has the type of basketball coach he wants to bring to Pullman firmly in mind. First and foremost, Moos prizes a great recruiter.

"I really think in the sport of men's basketball, it's so much about recruiting," said Bill Moos, who added that when a great coaching staff and great recruits are married together, Sweet 16's are the result.

Moos laid out his template of what he wants in the hire: a good quality coach, someone who has coached at this level, preferably a head coach and someone who can recruit and sell Washington State and the community of Pullman. Moos said the coach would be someone who has "flash," someone who brings excitement to the table.

Three examples of that from WSU history, Moos said, would be George Raveling, Kelvin Sampson and Tony Bennett. (Ironically, other than Sampson's stint at Montana Tech, Raveling and Bennett were both first-time head coaches at WSU.

Moos has already been working his way through his short list and said he had sent out some texts, emails and made some phone calls before the media teleconference.

"I'm already in the process of talking to those people, see if there's - just to gauge their interest… I haven't really spoken to them in person because I just made the change at 10 o'clock. So I'm in the process of trying to line up phone conversations, just to gauge their interest," said Moos.

Moos said he believes WSU can compete year-in and year-out, have "those moments" where WSU can compete for a conference championship or win the Pac-12 tournament, and "be in the postseason three out of five years." It will take the right coach and the right recruiting staff, said Moos.

"I keep coming back to recruiting," said Moos.

MOOS SAID both the record and attendance this season reflected that "it just wasn't working." He said he started to come to the conclusion a change was needed "the last third of the season" and that nothing short of a miracle, i.e. winning the Pac-12 tournament and going to the NCAA's would change his mind.

Moos says basketball success is so much about recruiting in his opinion, and that Ken Bone's recruitment wasn't up to par. That said, he said interim coach Curtis Allen has been tasked with contacting the Cougs' two commits – Tramaine Isabell and Jermaine Morgan – and providing a calming influence in the face of uncertainty.

Moos said if either of the two commits asked to be released from their Letter of Intent, he would take it on a case-by-case basis and look at such a situation "very, very carefully."

MOOS WAS ASKED specifically about Ernie Kent, Ben Howland and Leon Rice. Moos wouldn't tip his hand but a conversation of some sort seems likely to happen, especially with Kent.

"Somebody like Ernie, who would have a passion for Washington State like he did for the University of Oregon, would be someone I would be interested in," said Moos "I think Ernie is a TV announcer, doing a great job… I'd be happy to talk to Ernie is he has an interest in then job but more importantly, would expect to talk to him about people... Ben Howland for example would be a great resource for me to kinda get a feel for who is out there who would be a great fit here."

Moos said Howland might want to go with a program that doesn't have as much rebuilding to do as does Washington State.

MOOS DISCOUNTED THE need for improved facilities angle at WSU, saying the Cougs have a "fabulous, refurbished basketball practice facility that both our men and women utilize" and pointed to the center-hung video board and continuing facelift of Beasley.

"I think we need to continue to address locker rooms and those things… but I don't know what people are talking about with the facilities… I don't think we're terribly far behind in facilities in the sport of basketball," said Moos.

Moos also said any potential travel challenges are not as big as some might think.

"Every charter that our basketball staff requested, I granted," said Moos. "Especially on those difficult trips, (Wed-Sat/Sun). We've accommodated all of that… I don't think any school in the conference is chartering any more than we are. And we have commercial service that can accommodate all of our needs right out of Pullman."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • While he wouldn't rule out hiring an assistant coach, Moos strongly hinted he wanted to hire a current head coach or someone with head coaching experience.

  • Moos indicated he would be competitive salary-wise for both the head coach and assistants, noting the current crop of Pac-12 basketball coaches are "all by and large seven-figures now."

  • Moos confirmed WSU will pay Bone the two remaining years on his salary, a total of $1.7M. The assistant coaches' contracts will be honored through the end of June. Moos said he would likely recommend an assistant or two to the new coach, but that it will be at his discretion whether to keep them on board. Moos noted he recommended three (unnamed) assistants from the previous football staff to Mike Leach but Leach opted to go in a different direction.

  • Moos said he wants to make the hire "as soon as possible" and that it is his top priority. He said he would like to make the hire "during March Madness so we can get a spin off of it." Asked if any of his candidates were involved in postseason tournaments, Moos replied: "Could be."

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