WSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Jim Sterk heard fans grumbling during the Cougars' sloppy first half last Saturday. The chatter apparently continued into this week because on Wednesday Sterk sent a letter to his alumni advisory committee telling them in no uncertain terms to keep the faith because Paul Wulff inherited a tough situation and the rebuilding, which will take time, is being done methodically.
"Last Saturday's first half was tough to take and a rough way to end a great Seattle Week," Jim Sterk
wrote to key supporters. "Though the first half was not an indication of it, I want to assure you that the coaches have made major advances with this current group of very young men …
"I can see a changed attitude and a positive direction in which this team is headed; however, the wins will still be hard to come by this year and probably next. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that when the players this coaching staff has brought in become redshirt juniors and ultimately seniors, WSU will once again be competing in the top end of the conference."
Sterk talked about recruiting and how first-class facilities are a huge draw for talented high school athletes.
"Our stadium, locker rooms and weight room all need upgrading. We cannot do that without your help … Facility upgrades are critical in determining what school an 18-year-old decides to attend. This group of coaches in our programs are extremely dedicated and a hard working group. We just need to help level the playing field for our coaches in the recruiting wars with improved facilities."
Sterk's letter included an attachment with some illuminating facts and figures that all point to the critical need to give Wulff time to build. Wulff has, after all, only been on the job long enough to bring in one full class of prospects. The 2008 group was cobbled together in a matter of weeks following his hiring.
Among the facts Sterk shared:
Heading into last season, WSU had only nine players on its entire roster who had received scholarship offers from other BCS schools.
In a limited amount of time, Coach Wulff signed nine players with BCS offers in his debut recruiting class of 2008.
Of the 38 inherited players on this year's roster who were on the team when Wulff arrived, only five had been offered scholarships by other BCS schools.
With only one full recruiting class under his belt – the class signed this past February -- Wulff has already brought in 18 players with a combined 30 offers from other BCS schools.
WSU's longest-tenured and most successful coaches did not reach a bowl game immediately. Jim Walden was in year four, Mike Price in year four and legendary Babe Hollingbery in year five.