Cougar football on national footing with FOB

WASHINGTON STATE'S 84,000-square-foot football operations building opens on May 19 and it will be as good or better than any such facility in the nation, WSU athletic director Bill Moos has said early and often when speaking to boosters in recent months.

"I've been to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, and I know Oregon pretty well," Moos told a gathering of trustees in Seattle last fall. "We cherry picked the best ideas. Believe me when I say this: It's incredible."

Those comments were echoed last week by head coach Mike Leach in an interview with Dave Mahler on KJR Radio in Seattle. Mahler sounded incredulous at the idea. To which Leach noted that if he didn't want to take his word for it, consider that Tom Lemming, the national recruiting guru based in Chicago, toured the nearly-complete edifice a few days earlier and deemed the locker and weight rooms as big and well-appointed as they come.

But for the Mother of All Endorsements, consider the words of Dan Harmon, a principal with Hoffman Construction, which built both WSU's FOB and Oregon's.

"This is going to be every bit as good (as Oregon's). There won't be imported chairs from Italy, but it's top of the line and everything in it is top of the line," Harmon told WSU trustees last fall.

Adding to the glow is the fact the five-story, state-of-the-art brick structure is going to be completed on budget, at $61 million. WSU's debt service on the portion of the project financed by bonds is about $7 million annually.

In addition to the benefits the FOB will bring to the daily operation of the program and to recruiting efforts, there's an unseen upshot.

Since the building effectively walls off the west end of the stadium, about 15 decibels of sound will be added when Cougar fans are amped up on game days, according to Harmon. The premium seating and press box project that was completed in 2012 added about 12 decibels.


First: A state-of-the-art locker room with a country club feel and a half-dozen TVs; rooms for equipment, storage, laundry, interviews and studying.

Second: An 11,000-square-foot weight room, a nutrition bar, and offices for the strength and conditioning coaches.

Third: A Cougar football hall of fame, trophy room and memorabilia center that will be open to the public; this floor will be connected to the CUB via a walkway.

Fourth: Meeting rooms, including a 160-seat auditorium; and a dining hall for all WSU athletes. The dining area will be used to welcome former Coug lettermen in all sports on football game days.

Fifth: Coaches offices, conference rooms, offensive and defensive staff rooms, football operations staff offices and more.


  • It will be equipped with 49 multi-purpose TV systems that will allow coaches to access video from any game, any opponent, any play, down and distance, etc.

  • It will house four hydrotherapy cold pools, which have proven effective in helping athletes recover faster from muscle pain and soreness.

  • If you thought the giant, illuminated Cougar-head logo on the east side of the press box at Martin Stadium was big at 14-feet x 14-feet and 500 pounds, the one on the FOB is roughly one-third bigger -- officially making it the largest Cougar-head in the world!

  • The outside area between Bohler Gym and the FOB is going to be dubbed the Student Plaza and on game days it will include big screen TVs and more.

  • The approximately 10 rows of stadium seats built off the FOB will be dubbed the "Crimzone" and be reserved for the marching band and the 500 students who attended the most Cougar athletics events in 2013-14. It is expected to be a source of tremendous noise and merriment.

  • Click there for a time lapse video of the project from the start right up to today.


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