BASEBALL: Marbut, Moos agree to new deal

PULLMAN -- Washington State baseball coach Donnie Marbut tells CF.C he and Bill Moos have reached an agreement and that he will sign a new 3-year rollover contract in the coming days. Salary figures were not released, pending an official announcement by the school. Marbut also said he was delighted that his two full-time assistant coaches, Gregg Swenson and Spencer Allen, received raises.

The impending new deal had been expected -- new athletic director Moos had made it clear this offseason that a new contract for Marbut was a priority. Marbut has guided WSU to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA regionals, and Moos said he will push hard to bring a regional to Pullman next year if the Cougars qualify.

Marbut will have a new contract in hand but his goal remains the same as always: A trip to the College World Series.

"We can be a Top 15 or 20 team," Marbut said Wednesday after confirming his new contract is a three-year rollover deal. It will replace a contract that would have expired after next season. "I'm definitely excited to be back," Marbut said.

After a highly successful run as head coach at Edmonds Community College from 2000-03, Marbut (an Aberdeen native who starred at Edmonds CC and Portland State) came to WSU as an assistant coach under Tim Mooney in 2004. Marbut replaced Mooney as head coach the following year.

The first year of Marbut's major rebuilding project was predictably disastrous, as the Cougars finished 1-23 in the Pac-10 and 21-37 overall. The Cougars have posted a winning overall record every year since, including 37-22 (15-12 Pac-10) last season.

"I think it's funny that people are always telling me what we don't have in Pullman," Marbut said. "It's true -- we don't have a lot of things in Pullman. But there's some pretty great things we do have. You're right -- we don't have traffic. We don't have smog. It's a great place to be."

Marbut said WSU's Bailey-Brayton Field will be an even greater place to watch a baseball game now that a $500,000 scoreboard with a video screen has replaced the old scoreboard.

"I really want to thank President (Elson) Floyd," Marbut said before adding praise for Moos. "It's great to have the university make such a commitment to facilities."

The 2011 Cougars expect to return leading hitter Cody Bartlett, leading home run hitter Derek Jones, leading base stealer Garry Kuykendall and, arguably, the team's top four pitchers (Chad Arnold, Adam Conley, Paris Shewey and James Wise).

Arnold, who originally planned to turn pro (he was drafted in the 18th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers), Bartlett and Conley skipped summer ball this year with Marbut's blessing. Players sometimes benefit mentally and physically from taking a break from baseball, Marbut reasons, and it gives them a chance to hit the weights more diligently.

Conley had been invited to the U.S. college national team tryouts as an alternate, but he required surgery for a broken pinky on his left (throwing) hand after an off-field accident. Marbut said Conley, a hard-throwing southpaw who could be a high draft pick next year, is fully recovered.

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