Moos talks Apple Cups at Qwest, money & more

PULLMAN -- Bill Moos, the new athletic director at Washington State, has met a couple of times with head football coach Paul Wulff and come away with several conclusions, including this one: Wulff and his staff have taken steps to rebuild the program "that are quite impressive."

Football and men's basketball provide the financial backbone for the entire athletic department, Moos also noted in a wide-ranging Q&A with, so it's imperative that those programs start climbing back up the standings.

Moos addressed football and basketball issues and many other subjects Thursday from his Bohler Complex office in Pullman.

CF.C: How important is football and men's basketball to Cougar athletics?
Bill Moos: Football and men's basketball not only have to pay for themselves, but they have to pay for everything else. Those two programs have got to be successful, and it's been my experience when they are, those windfalls from that success can be invested into the other programs in order to help them achieve the same levels of success.

CF.C: You're expressed optimism about the latest football recruiting class, but the Cougars are 3-22 in two years under Paul Wulff. What's the state of the football program?
Moos: I've had a couple of nice visits with Paul, and he's got me up to speed on a lot of things that he and his staff have done that are quite impressive that don't show up on the scoreboard … some things with (player) discipline. He's really come down hard on some of the behavioral things. That is important. I think he's done a real good job of putting together a staff. He's made some changes that I think have been positive, and I think the general morale has improved even though it's been tough conditions around here.

CF.C: A fund-raising shortage has delayed the expansion of football capacity at Martin Stadium with premium seating. When will construction start?
Moos: It's too early to tell ... We know we need a stadium expansion. What else (other athletic facility improvements) do we need? And how are we going to prioritize what is most important? They're all important, and certainly the stadium project is extremely important, especially with the (low) cost of building right now.

CF.C: How can you improve declining football attendance?
Moos: The obvious (answer) is, we need to win. We need to schedule properly.

CF.C: After taking this year off, do you plan to revive the annual football "home" game at Seattle's Qwest Field?
Moos: From my relationships with ESPN and athletic directors across the country, we're going to aggressively start putting together long-term schedules that hopefully will bring very good opponents to our campus in Pullman as well as continue our once-a-year games in Seattle. We might explore taking a conference game there.

CF.C: What are your thoughts on possible expansion in the Pacific-10 Conference?
Moos: At first glance, I don't think conference expansion is in the best interest of Washington State nor the conference. If it's about establishing TV markets, they're going to have to convince me there's a heck of a lot of new money coming in if they're going to start slicing the pie into more pieces. It's important, in my opinion, that we play everyone in the conference in every sport … that's advantageous for us who are recruiting down in Southern California and the Bay Area, to be able to tell our (recruiting) prospects that we will be playing in front of your parents and friends.

CF.C: Your predecessor, Jim Sterk, seriously considered moving the Apple Cup football game with Washington to Qwest Field, at least for a year or two, to make potentially huge profits. Does that interest you?
Moos: The Apple Cup belongs in Martin Stadium and Husky Stadium.

CF.C: Do you want to keep playing one "home" men's basketball game in Seattle's KeyArena every year?
Moos: I think there's a lot of merit to that. I'll be excited to talk to (coach) Ken Bone about what he thinks about that. Just talking casually with him, he thought this last year was quite successful and he really wants to look at the prospects of doing this more.

CF.C: The Cougars played a men's basketball "home" game in Kennewick last season and drew a sellout crowd during Christmas break, when most students were not in Pullman. Would you be interested in playing an annual game in the Tri-Cities?
Moos: I don't know. It would have to depend how the schedule lays out … Tri-Cities is a great market for us.

CF.C: Do you want to move the spring football game to Spokane's Albi Stadium?
Moos: I think there's a lot of advantages to taking the spring game to Spokane. We have got to have a presence in Spokane, and we need to capture that town. We have the second-largest city in the state just 75 miles up the road, and we really need to capture the town, light a fire under it, embrace them and make sure we are doing everything we can to take our events (including basketball) up there when we can and getting our Cougars from Spokane down here on game days.

CF.C: Senior associate athletic director Anne McCoy said WSU stands to make a record haul of almost $1.5 million as its cut of NCAA basketball tournament revenue, but she's not certain that will prevent the athletic department from finishing in the red for the second straight year. What do you think?
Moos: She would know better than me. I know there's a lot of people doing a lot of hard work fund-raising and trying to market the program, and there were some budget reductions we made that certainly have helped.

CF.C: Are any personnel changes imminent?
Moos: Oh no. I don't believe in breaking up the furniture. There's been a lot of wonderful things that Jim Sterk has done with this program. It's my responsibility to take a good, hard look at it, at the good people that are here and make whatever changes we need to.

Cougar fans in the Seattle area will have a chance to visit with Moos on May 13 when he tees it up in the annual King County Cougar Club Golf Classic at the Newcastle Golf Club near Bellevue. Wulff, Ken Bone and a number of assistant coaches also will be on hand. The day kicks off at 11 a.m. and concludes with a dinner and auction that evening. To register for golf and dinner, or just dinner, head to and click on "spring events." If you have questions, contact Todd Thrasher at or 206-448-1335.

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