JULY IS USUALLY a sleepy time of year in Pullman, but not for Bill Moos. "There‘s all kinds of things happening right now," Moos told CF.C on Wednesday from his Bohler Addition office. Among the wide-ranging list of topics he covered were the proposed phrase III expansion of Martin Stadium and whether to redirect those efforts toward other facilities needs; and Donnie Marbut's new contract.
, who as alluded to this thinking before, expressed doubt that the Martin Stadium luxury seats expansion project should be the No. 1 priority among athletic facility improvements.
"In my opinion, at first brush, I would say no," Moos said. The AD cited his concern that the Cougars haven't been able to fill the current stadium during the football program's extended tailspin. "There's no supply and demand in terms of not being able to have a seat to watch Cougar football."
New or improved projects on Moos' wish list -- besides, in time, the Martin Stadium luxury seats -- include a basketball scoreboard, football locker room, baseball clubhouse, soccer stadium lights, auxiliary weight room, indoor golf facility, meeting rooms and a Hall of Fame. "If we're not paying attention to our facilities in comparison to our rivals, we're going to lose recruits," Moos said.
WSU staffers and alums close to Moos have said he's focused on facilities investments that most directly affect student-athletes. In effect, he wants to make sure their "work place" is as inviting and attractive as possible. So while phase III of Martin Stadium carries a number of benefits, it doesn't directly benefit athletes.
In regard to the football team, Moos said he has traveled extensively around the state to meet with fans and "didn't hear one (negative) comment" about the struggling football program. "I think Paul (coach Paul Wulff
) did a great job of describing the state of the program and where we were a couple years ago and where we are now," Moos said. "We're in the process of recruiting some pretty good players here. How that's going to translate into wins and losses remains to be seen."
Elsewhere on the Moos front ….
WSU is working with Nike and Downstream, two key partners with Moos in improvements he made at Oregon during his time as the Ducks' athletic director, to boost the branding and promotion of Cougar athletics. "You walk down our hallways, and they're blank," Moos said. "You would never know (former football greats) Jack Thompson and Keith Lincoln and Drew Bledsoe played here." Moos hopes Downstream, a Portland firm, also can help the Cougars dress up the Beasley Coliseum/Friel Court basketball facility. "Beasley is run down," Moos said. "I think it's a very good seating bowl for watching college basketball, but it's getting to be an old building. It's almost 40 years old. It needs some sizzle."
Baseball coach Donnie Marbut has agreed to terms on a new contract. Moos said he will wait until everything is finalized "in a week or two" before revealing details. Marbut is believed to have made about $100,000 this past season. Looking at salaries of his counterparts at Oregon and Oregon State, it's not beyond the realm that he could double or even triple his bottom line.
Moos said he has not determined if he will ask school president Elson Floyd to increase the athletic department's $30 million budget, which is the smallest in the Pacific-10 Conference. "He's been quite helpful … we need to boost our budget by getting more people in Martin Stadium and getting on TV," Moos said. The Cougars expect to break even for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Some numbers have yet to be finalized. WSU athletics lost approximately $200,000 last year, the only time the Cougars did not turn a profit since Jim Sterk (now AD at San Diego State) was hired prior to the 2000-01 school year.
Moos said the WSU-Idaho football game will be revived "in the next five years." Moos said he has put out "feelers" on home-and-home football series with Big Ten and Big 12 schools.
MOOS, A FORMER WSU football star, was hired in late February and took over full-time in mid-April. "I'm getting a feel for the tempo and morale and those type of things," Moos said of his initiation into the job. "We've got good people here. They're doing good jobs. By the end of the summer, we'll have our blueprint together as to where we might change a few things and set our course for the future.
Proverbially speaking, he said, "I've got some ideas I'm holding close to my chest. We may move some players from offense to defense and vice versa and change the playbook a little bit."