It's been less than a month since Bill Moos officially took the job and so far he's conducted an interviews with Cougfan and Cougzone and an online chat on the school site. Most of it has been a series of general statements that don't really give us much. That's perfectly reasonable for a guy that's been on the job for a few weeks and it's encouraging that he's trying to establish a PR footprint as one of his first orders of business.
Having said that, there are a few nuggets we've been able to surmise based on how he messaging his talk points. Here's our take on what Bill Moos is telling us in the early going. Hit the read more button for more:
1) He's not a fan of expansion.
No need to read between any lines on this one. He's definitively stated to anyone that asks. He will not be in support of expansion of the Pac-10. His concerns are mostly WSU-centric. He is worried about diminished recruiting in Southern California if we don't play down there every year. He's also thrown out the "tradition" thing. He meets with the Pac-10 Commissioner later this month and the rest of the AD's. It will be interesting to monitor his responses on expansion after meeting with the commish and his peers.
2) Forget about Apple Cup at Qwest but watch out for another Pac-10 opponent
We have run against the grain a bit here at The Coug. We've been supportive of Apple Cup at Qwest because of the funding it would have brought and because we firmly believe that the atmosphere in the stadium would have been 50/50 and an incredible rivalry environment. We've been even more supportive of moving a Pac-10 game to Qwest. Our preference has been to lock-up a series with Oregon State. Perfect situation. Equidistant from both schools. Huge WSU alumni base. High likelihood of a total sellout and you'd see a Red River Shootout style 50/50 split. You'd reap huge financial benefits for just one game. It would also establish a more distinct rivalry with the program most similar to us. Bill Moos has killed the idea of Apple Cup at Qwest which is totally fine with us. However, he has left the door open for a Pac-10 game over there and we are fully supportive of that….as long as it's not a one year deal in which we give up a home game without getting the other team to give one up in return. We laid out how much we think that Oregon State match-up could bring us in the article here . It could be a big moneymaker for us.
3) Facilities or Stadium expansion?
Moos has made clear on several occasions that his preference is to advance his version of trickle down economics. Build the facilities that bring in recruits. Recruits bring in the wins. Wins bring in the fans and demand for seats. Then once you've accomplished all that you expand your seating.
In a vacuum, that's how Moos would approach WSU. However, we know from speaking with several people on the fundraising side there is one thing that is going to make the decision difficult. Cost of capital. Right now the building cost for the stadium is incredibly cheap. Probably cheaper than we'll ever see it. So, Moos has to decide if he wants to double down on getting the stadium expanded because it's as cheap as it will ever get and the plans are in place…..or do you put that project on hold, get cracking on a massive/multimillion dollar facilities upgrade that will wow the recruits.
My sentiment is this. Good/successful businessmen stick with a basic formula that works for them. I think Moos should go with what he learned and was successful with at Oregon. Yes, he'll need to adapt some things but we will benefit from the trail he's already blazed. He knows how to pitch that vision to alumni and he now has the ability to show how successful it was at Oregon. It's an easy sell for alumni and I think it would show tangible results quicker than the stadium upgrade. He could probably bring in $10 million to upgrade facilities in 12 months based on commitments we have for the stadium and have it done in the same amount of time. What would our locker rooms, weight room, offices, and practice facilities look like with a $10 million dollar upgrade?
Of course, you could make the inverse argument. Upgrade the stadium and that brings in the revenue to quickly upgrade other facilities. Unfortunately, that assumes one thing that everyone has conveniently glossed over. You have to sell out the stadium to maximize the revenue Sterk always referred to. That just isn't going to happen with the current state of our team.
In the end, either side can be effectively argued and it will be interesting to see where Moos decides to place his bets.
4) Spokane here we come.
It looks like Moos is going to go heavy into Spokane. He's articulated the fact that he's going to be as present in Spokane as he is in Pullman. Even with a residence close to Spokane. I expect that he will be working to identify any potential heavy hitters in the city that he can cultivate and grow into big givers. Clearly, he's leaning towards more events in Spokane like the Spring football game and it seems as if he's open to doing a regular basketball game there as well. He seems lukewarm at best to the Tri-Cities which is a mistake in our opinion. We've chronicled here why we think the Tri-Cities might even be a better target than Spokane.
Nevertheless, a Spokane presence under Moos could be different than what we've seen before. It could be properly marketed and wrapped with events that will truly drive community engagement. Apathy best describes Spokane when it comes to WSU and Moos clearly thinks we need to energize that base to succeed.