Bellotti 'ecstatic' about Moos' move

PULLMAN -- If anyone ever questions Bill Moos' love for Washington State, he can show them more than 1 million ways why he cherishes his alma mater. When Moos was introduced as WSU's new athletic director Wednesday, he revealed that he has no guarantee that Oregon will pay him any of the reported $1.4 million left in the deal he worked out when he stepped down as Oregon's AD in 2007.

"The University of Oregon treated me fabulously for 12 years … I'm hopeful in the end they'll treat this thing fairly," Moos said.

Current Oregon AD Mike Bellotti can't afford to take sides publicly, but he held nothing back in expressing his delight in Moos' return to college athletics.

"I love Bill Moos," said Bellotti, Oregon's head football coach under Moos. "His style is very congenial, very positive.

"He has a great sense of humor. He can light up a room.

"I'm ecstatic for him to come back as an athletic director, and particularly in the Pac-10. He'll do a great job for Washington State."

Moos, who announced his pending resignation at Oregon in November 2006 after struggling for power with Nike bigwig and wealthy Ducks booster Phil Knight (a former Moos ally), agreed not to take an AD job at a Bowl Championship Series school west of the Mississippi. He has been working and living on the cattle ranch south of Spokane that he purchased after leaving Oregon.

When Moos appeared set to take over as athletic director at UNLV in December, the Ducks drew the ire of many observers when they threatened to cut off pay to Moos after claiming UNLV was a BCS school. Mountain West Conference schools like UNLV are eligible for BCS bowls, but the Mountain West is not generally viewed as a BCS conference.

"I don't feel that was the spirit of the agreement," Moos said.

The Cougars, of course, play in the Pac-10. The Pac-10 is definitely a BCS conference, but Moos is leaving it to his lawyers and those of Oregon to determine if he'll receive any more money from the Ducks.

Pushing money issues aside for the moment -- and that's an awfully big pile of money lying on the table in Eugene -- Moos expressed delight in returning "home" to WSU.

"I have never been around a place in all my travels that has a more loyal alumni base," Moos said.

The gregarious Moos has developed a reputation as a masterful fund-raiser. The Cougars have forever been lagging financially by Pac-10 standards, but Moos plans to change that.

"I like the Nordstrom's (business) model," Moos said. "We've always liked that.

"It's customer service. They don't have to buy tickets. They don't have to give (donations to athletics).

"It's a privilege for us to have them do that, and they need to be treated that way and to make sure they are happy with their purchase. You create repeat customers, and that's what you have to have."

Since leaving Oregon in 2007, Moos has been living on the cattle ranch south of Spokane that he purchased after leaving Oregon in 2007. At 59, Moos says he's more than ready to take on the demanding workload of a college AD.

"We've got the energy," Moos said. "Really, being away from it for three years, was very good for us.

"We learned real fast how much we missed it, how much we wanted to get back in the business. We could only dream that this opportunity would present itself."

Moos, whose football career at WSU ended in 1972, served as an associate or assistant athletic director at Washington State from 1982-90. He sought the Cougar AD job in 1994, but lost out to Rick Dickson.

Moos said Lane Rawlins, then Washington State's president, approached him about becoming AD in 2000. Moos said he chose to stay at Oregon because he had "unfinished business," and the Cougars wound up hiring Jim Sterk.

Now, as Sterk's replacement, Moos has plenty of "unfinished business" before him at Washington State. He says he's looking forward to meeting as many Cougar fans as possible in the coming weeks, months and years.

"The common theme will be: If you like the sermon, show it when the collection plate is passed around," Moos said with a smile.

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