Trio of names draw early spotlight

THE REGIONAL GRAPEVINE THAT extends from Missoula to Spokane and on to Seattle is abuzz with one name partisans think will be a major contender to succeed Bill Doba as head man at Washington State. The telegraph emanating from Cheney, though, pegs a former WSU player as the man to watch in the Cougs' search. And then there's one more name garnering his own share of the early spotlight.

The regional grapevine is full of talk about two highly successful Big Sky Conference coaches: Montana's Bobby Hauck and Eastern Washington's Paul Wulff.

In six years as a head coach -- all at Montana -- the 47-year-old Hauck is 52-14 overall and 32-5 in Big Sky games. The Griz were undefeated and the No. 2-ranked team in Division I-AA this season until losing a first-round playoff game, 23-22, last week.

Wulff, meanwhile, guided his Eastern Eagles to a huge first-round upset win last week over No. 3 McNeese State and will face none other than defending D-IAA champion Appalachian State this weekend. EWU is 9-3 this season. In eight years at Eastern, Wulff is 50-31.

Cougar color commentator and former Cougar coach Jim Walden said Monday that Wulff has done a remarkable building EWU and would be an excellent choice for WSU.

Wulff, 40, played for three different coaches at WSU. He redshirted in 1985 and started four games at guard in 1986 under Walden. He became the starting center under Dennis Erickson in 1987 and '88 and earned second-team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-America honors playing for Mike Price in 1989.

Before becoming head man at Montana in 2002, Hauck held assistant posts for a combined eight years at Washington and Colorado under Rick Neuheisel.

Hauck was a three-sport standout at Montana, lettering in football, basketball, and track.

After graduating in 1988, he began his coaching career as an assistant for the Grizzlies, working with the secondary in 1988 and the inside linebackers in 1989.

He earned a master's degree in education administration from UCLA in 1991.

And then there's the chatter about this other guy from down Texas way named Mike Price.

Price remains the guy many Cougar fans have been talking about since before the '07 season even began -- the persistent rumor coursing through the Cougar Nation has had legs longer than a giraffe.

WSU AD Jim Sterk said yesterday Price would be considered if he were interested. Price sidestepped the question before the Doba announcement on Monday and has since said nary a word.

Price did a stunning job at UTEP his first season, turning a 2-11 club into an 8-4 bowl team. After another 8-4 season in '05, however, Price has gone 5-7 and 4-8 his last two seasons with this year's squad dropping their last six games to end the '07 campaign.

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