Bob Stull Should Be Next Husky AD

Sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious. Last time when there was an opening for the Athletic Director position at Washington, Bob Stull - currently the AD at UTEP - didn't even get an interview.

Many of us found that strange, especially considering Bob was once a Husky assistant football coach, had been a college head coach at two schools, and had also been an assistant athletic director (at Washington), as well as a proven athletic director who is well thought of throughout the nation.

I heard his Husky background from the Don James era worked against him and I found that so disturbing that I don't believe it. This guy is a Husky. He knows the culture of the school, the community, and most of all, the Husky football program. He is more qualified from a football standpoint than anybody the President and Board of Regents will consider, and most important of all?

He really wants to be here.

Don't even begin to kid me. This is a 'no brainer'. Offer him a contract now and let's get this thing turned around as soon as possible.

OK, I'm a 'football guy' and that is precisely why I think we need a 'football guy' in this position. If winning is really the underlying reason why Turner, Baer, and Simmons were fired, and you have a highly qualified candidate who has actually done the job you are hiring for and understands the alumni base and fundraising aspects of the job, and also has a 'big picture' grasp on major college football, then don't you just go get him?

Since the last time this position was open, Stull has become one of the most respected AD's in his conference and the nation for almost a decade. He has totally rebuilt UTEP's stadium and facilities, raised more money than anyone in the history of their school and hired many coaches, including Mike Price, who went on to become the coaches of the year in their respective sports. He completely renovated all their athletic facilities and restored their reputation after years of probation. Isn't that exactly what we need?

Stull is currently completing a facility designed specifically for the men's and women's basketball teams. It is being built for just those two sports, complete with separate practice courts, locker rooms, film rooms, meeting rooms, student academic center, computer rooms, and a training room. Why? Because he understands that 'big three' sports; football, men's basketball and women's basketball constitute at least 95% of their revenue and should receive the main emphasis in promotion and development.

Stull even knows the NCAA rules, including those that relate to recruiting, academics and eligibility. That might not seem important but I promise you there have been administrators at Washington who never did.

Rules, money, organization, and structure are important, but Stull also knows football. Now, I know that might not be politically correct, but to me it is essential to turn around the fortunes of the football team. We are now on our fourth (and soon to be fifth) AD in a five-year stretch. Just like in football, the department needs stability. You build a team in administration just like you build a staff in football. It ebbs and flows, but you keep the same team together as long as possible, especially once you start to win.

I can tell you that Mike Lude, an old football coach himself, was critical in the last rebuild of Husky football. Yes, I know Barbara Hedges was the AD when we won the national championship, but it was really Mike Lude and his unique relationship with Coach James that made it all possible. Bob Stull would develop the same sort of relationship with Head Coach Tyrone Willingham, and I really think that is paramount to the Huskies coming back as a football power.

I want to say that I think Scott Woodward, the interim AD, is probably the most involved and astute administrator we have had in football at Washington since Mike Lude. I have seen him at football practices more in the past few years than all the administrators put together over the previous 15 years. He understands the magnitude of the game from his background at LSU, and is a firm believer that you can win and do things the right way in terms of the student-athlete experience.

I am positive that Scott has a good feel for the football program and I think he and University President Mark Emmert realize they need a real pro in that position and Bob Stull is exactly that. After being in college sports education for close to 40 years, I don't think they can find a more qualified guy for the position, especially considering his previous ties to the program, the community, and the fan base.

Of course I have no say in the decision but for me there is no decision. You take the person who is most qualified and that is person is obviously Bob Stull. He has been here before and he could easily do the job for 8-10 years and that is about right to turn it completely around.

Bob has used roughly the same amount of time to turn UTEP around. He has successfully increased revenues, rebuilt their whole athletic complex, and increased attendance at Football (the Miners led their conference in attendance in 2005, averaging more than 48,000 and have been to three bowl games in the last four years). Their basketball team has had 18 straight sellouts and two-straight NCAA bids. His teams win and contend for championships in their conference, especially in football and basketball. Duh! Am I missing something?…

The sooner we can get a guy like Bob going, the better Washington's chances of beating teams like the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks will be unsettled at quarterback next fall, and maybe Jonathan Stewart will declare for the NFL and who knows...the Huskies might steal their season-opener in Eugene and two weeks later beat Stanford and be in first place for the rest of the year...

Here we go, Happy New Year!


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