Cougs' new offensive GA on why he made move

THE QUESTION NATURALLY begs; Why would Sheldon Cross, King-Co 3A/2A Coach of the Year at Interlake High this season, give up a successful high school head coaching gig, and the comfort and security that comes with it, to join Washington State's staff as a lowly paid offensive graduate assistant. There are many reasons, but succinctly put, it came down to one thing.

Belief.

"If I didn't believe that coach Wulff and his staff were going to turn it around, I wouldn't have done this," said Cross.

Cross is quite familiar with Washington State. He's known Shawn Deeds, Director of Football Operations, since high school. He was a college quarterback and later the QB's coach at Iowa Wesleyan and went up against Todd Sturdy when Sturdy was at Saint Ambrose. Ever since Wulff came to WSU a little less than two years ago, Cross has been a regular visitor to Pullman, has attended the Cougs' summer camp events and taken in scores of practices.

"You can see it. I'm sure there are some things the fans can't see right now, but it's there. You can see it in the players they've brought in, you can see it in the practices. You can see it in that the players understand the plan," said Cross.

In the face of fan discontent after many lopsided losses, Wulff has spoken often of the plan he has for rebuilding the Cougs, and that the pain of these last two seasons, will eventually pay large dividends.

"The first thing that you realize in coaching -- some guys have a plan and they're following through on it, and then some don't," said Cross. "I could see from the start that coach Wulff and his entire staff have a plan and they're very clear on it...They're not where they want to be right now. It's not where the fans want it to be. But I can see it happening, it's in the way they address their team, the way the staff works together, everything.

"Coach Wulff has a vision of where it's going and what it's going to look like. And it's tough to get there... But they're sticking to it and they want to keep on recruiting well -- and getting guys that can help them win. And then once these guys get to the point that they're old enough to compete at this level, then it'll show, just like it did in (2001-2003) and before."

CROSS HAS BEEN at Interlake four years, the last three as head coach. After a difficult first season, he led the Saints to records of 6-5 and 8-4 the past two years. He replaced Luke Huard, now a Husky graduate assistant, who went 12-28 at Interlake in his four seasons at the helm.

WSU offered him the position on Sunday night and he immediately accepted. Seeing Huard, a good friend of Cross', go the GA route at Washington had sparked his own coaching desire.

"I thought, 'I could rally see myself doing that,'" said Cross. "But there's only one place in the country I'd like to do it at, and that's at Wazzu."


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