Sterk on Wulff, Stadium, Dec. Apple Cup, more

PULLMAN -- Jim Sterk was a football and basketball player during his college days at Western Washington, but he stepped up to the plate today and handled every question pitched at him.

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CF.C: Explain why you continue to support Paul Wulff in the face of 21 losses in 24 games during his two years as football coach.
Sterk: In my mind, there's no need to change direction. There's a commitment to bring back great football to WSU. I like what's happening and all the insiders see it, it just takes a little bit longer for the outside folks to see it happening.

CF.C: What progress do you want to see the team make in 2010?
Sterk: I'm not a big one in (predicting) exact wins and losses, but I expect us to threaten a bowl berth, I think for sure in 2011.

CF.C: Why are you so optimistic?
Sterk: You can see the difference in the team (in attitude and young talent) … we knew it was going to be a rough time (rebuilding). I told people I took more heat my first year here (2000) when Mike Price was the coach after having one (Pac-10) win in two seasons after the first Rose Bowl year. Then the first year I'm here he wins two league games.

CF.C: How much progress has been made toward the Dec. 18 goal of selling 80 percent of the 2,200 premium seats that you plan to add to Martin Stadium in 2011 or 2012?
Sterk: I don't know exactly where we're at. We have more orders than we have available on the loge seating, and 20 of those people have made $100,000 gifts or more, so there's strength there. We were counting noses yesterday on suites. We're closing in on those being sold out.

CF.C: Will you be able to start construction this spring so all or at least some of the new seats will be available for the 2011 season?
Sterk: We set that (80 percent) deadline to try to get people to make a decision … if we get over, which I think we will, 60 percent sold by the end of this year, then we're full steam ahead (to begin construction in the spring).

CF.C: Are you still confident the annual home game at Seattle's Qwest Field will continue next year?
Sterk: I'm optimistic that that's going to happen, but there is a chance (2010 will be skipped).

CF.C: You're currently talking only to Oregon and Montana State (Sterk confirmed that the Bobcats will be WSU's lone nonconference home opponent in 2010) about playing at Qwest next year, correct?
Sterk: There's other options there that we could possibly do (Pac-10 teams other than Oregon), but we haven't really talked to the opponents on that because we don't necessarily have to.

CF.C: Dates for 2010 football games won't be finalized until the Pac-10 finishes television arrangements while trying to provide every team with two bye weeks, but is next year's Apple Cup definitely set for Dec. 4 in Pullman?
Sterk: Yes.

CF.C: That's the latest date ever for an Apple Cup, so are you concerned about the weather?
Sterk (laughing): It's "Chamber of Commerce" weather that weekend.

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