Woodward has his eye on the future

If you've been around Husky football the past couple of years, you know the score: The Huskies have struggled on the field to win games and, off the field, the Athletic Department is looking to find ways to fund an upgrade of majestic, but aging, Husky Stadium. Dawgman.com was able to talk with interim AD Scott Woodward about the progress of the funding and where things stand at this point.

Taking up a big portion of Woodward's time in his new position is asking the state of Washington and King County for funds from existing taxes to help with paying for what is rumored to eventually be a $300 million project.

Complicating matters is the fact that a local ownership group, trying to purchase the Seattle Sonics from Clay Bennett, have also approached the state legislature looking for some of those same tax dollars to help refurbish Key Arena.

"I thought (the prospective Sonics owners) made a good case and that we made a good case," Woodward said. "There's plenty of room to work with the Sonics and see where we go from there because those sources of revenue are pretty abundant.

"It doesn't look like any of it is going to be addressed this session, so they're putting together a study committee to look at the sources of revenue and what to do with them and we hope to be actively participating in that."

One of the more frustrating aspects as far as the lack of action by the state is that the money will not come from the state, but the county. However, some bureaucratic matters need to be handled.

"The state still has to approve it and then they delegate the authority to the county," Woodward confirmed. "We want to use the Hotel/Motel taxes and then some are the rental car taxes and some are the restaurant taxes."

Woodward also noted he and the stadium committee will continue to meet with former governor Dan Evans to continue talking strategy in getting a funding package in place for the improvements to the stadium.

Even though the stadium takes up a lot of Woodward's focus, he's also got another decision to make pretty soon -- possibly throwing his hat in the ring for the open spot he's temporarily holding.

"I am leaning towards doing it, but I have to sit down with my boss, President (Mark) Emmert, and make sure that it's in the best interest of the university and that they work with his priorities and I need to do that and finalize one way or another my intentions," Woodward said. "I'm enjoying it. I really am. But the profession is a meat-grinder. I don't want to sugar-coat it. It's a hard thing to do and it's a meat-grinder position all across the country, not just at U-Dub, so I have to be very cognisant of that and make sure that I'm the right fit.

"I'm planning for the future and dealing with the daily problems at hand. We're just trying to improve and do all the good things to make the program better. It's incremental and you try to address it and deal with it daily."

Former AD Todd Turner, when asked about the problems with getting an upgrade to Husky Stadium started, consistently referred to the impending Sound Transit and 520-Bridge projects that could end up complicating things.

Woodward said that fans will not be impacted anytime soon by the 520 project.

"520 is far from happening," Woodward noted. "The 2009 season, they may start noticing something with the Sound Transit project."

Whatever happens, Woodward has his eyes on the future while also embracing Washington's rich traditions and history. He's got his work cut out for him, but he just may be the man to bring a clear focus and direction back to Montlake.

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