A sight to behold: WSU Football Ops Building

PULLMAN - Washington State Athletic Director Bill Moos looked like a proud parent as he escorted members of the media through the new, and mostly completed Cougar Football Operations Building on Tuesday afternoon. "Now we take a backseat to nobody," he said.

And if buildings are any indication of success, the Cougs are going to be swimming in success.

Just what can $61 million buy?

The complex is a five-story building that houses all aspects of WSU's football operations. There is a state-of-the-art weight room, and a new luxurious locker room complete with individual media outlets that will allow players to tweet, blog, chat and listen to music at all times. It has a cafeteria that will allow student athletes to enjoy healthy foods.

The 84,192 square-foot complex also has new, large offices and a locker room for the coaches, as well as new equipment area, laundry facilities, storage and a press room. There is a new, spacious training room complete with multiple hydrotherapy pools, and every room has a magnificent view of either Martin Stadium or Rogers Field.

The team should be all moved in and settled into its new building by mid-July.

The facility was needed. Moos said if WSU was going to keep up with recruiting in the Pac-12 and finding quality coaches like Mike Leach, it had to keep up with its facilities.

Last year WSU built a new press box and luxury boxes, the year before they hired Leach, and Moos said now that they have the new complex, WSU's facilities are second-to-none.

Moos said that recently more schools throughout the Pac-12 and the nation have been investing in their buildings, and if WSU was going to be competitive, it also had to invest.

"I didn't want to be left in the dust," Moos sad. "If we hadn't have invested at that time, I don't know if we could have caught up."

Not only did WSU keep up, Moos said the Cougs are leading the way.

"I don't think there's a finer building in our conference," he said. "…I tell people, now every week we can line up and have a chance to win."

The building is a conglomeration of some of the best football complexes in the nation. Moos and his staff toured six programs during the design phase of the building (Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and LSU), and he said they "cherry-picked" the best features, added onto those features and created a place that is functional, beautiful and inspiring.

Virtually everything about the building goes with the motto "Honor the Past, Live the Present, Create the Future."

Moos said this motto was something they focused on throughout the entire building phase, and that every aspect of the building is a reminder to players of who went before them, what their goals are now, and how they can make things better for future Cougs.

Senior quarterback Connor Halliday said when he signed with WSU he did so with every intention of building the program into something fans could be proud of.

It's been a battle, but Halliday said signing Leach was huge, getting to a bowl game last year was a giant step, and the addition of this new building really puts WSU in the national spotlight.

He joked that if he were a senior in high school right now, the coaches wouldn't have to do anything more than show him the locker room of the new complex and he'd sign on the spot.

"You have everything at your fingertips," Halliday said. "There is no reason not to be successful with this new building."

Darryl Monroe, a linebacker from Orlando, Fla., said he was recruited by a lot of major football programs, and he toured their facilities and was awed by what they have to offer. Now he is awed by what WSU has to offer.

Like Halliday, Monroe chose WSU because he wanted to be a part of something big, a part of changing the Coug culture, and having a place like the Cougar Complex is vital to their success.

"This place should be like a paradise for a football player," he said.

In many ways, it is a paradise. It is large, spacious, beautiful, and in luxurious. But in this day and age of football fanaticism, if a program does not have this sort of facility they are at a distinct disadvantage in the recruiting process, the coaching process, and ultimately, the fan process.

So it may be a luxury, but it is a necessary luxury for a school competing in a quality conference like the Pac-12, and it is a luxury has WSU at the top of the college football facilities world.

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