WSU Coug fans, always optimistic, may have reason

The search for a new athletic director is aggressive, with WSU President Elsom Floyd directly involved.

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It's always taken an eternal optimist to be a true WSU Cougar fan. After all, the Cougs' success on the field or court is sprinkled among too many sad seasons where the Cougs seemed poised to win only to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

This has occurred so often over the years that when WSU fans talk to each other about such games they simply say the team "Couged it." (The subject is not brought up in the company of UW Husky fans.)

Yet, Coug fans always expect things to be better next season. And sometimes fans would be rewarded with a trip to the Rose Bowl or an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

But things have been looking dim of late, particularly on the gridiron. The football team has fallen on hard times. It's been tough to muster that good ol' WSU optimism (particularly as the UW faithful have seen their football fortunes on the rise).

This week Jim Sterk, WSU's athetic director for the past decade, took a similar job at San Diego State University. That's generally not the kind of career move an atheletic director makes with WSU being in the much larger, more prestigious Pac 10 Conference.

Then again, maybe it says something about the state of athletics at WSU. Or, perhaps, maybe WSU President Elson Floyd wasn't happy with what he was seeing.

Floyd is taking swift action in filling the vacant athletic director spot. He has arranged for Bill Moos, Oregon's former athletic director, to interview for the job today. Floyd sent a letter this week via e-mail to Cougar fans everywhere explaining the move.

"In recent days I have received a number of messages from Cougar supporters indicating an interest in Bill Moos as a candidate for the athletic director position. In light of that sentiment, I have invited him to visit the Pullman campus," Floyd wrote.

Moos has WSU roots. He was a first-team All-Pac-8 offensive lineman at WSU in 1972 and later was an assistant athletic director.

He did well for himself as Oregon's athletic director, a position a held for from 1995 to 2007 before having a fallout with Nike founder and Oregon mega-booster Phil Knight. The Oregonian newspaper reported that the Oregon athletic budget expanded from $18 million to $41 million on Moos' watch, and he told the newspaper that annual giving rose from about $3.5 million to $15 million.

You can almost feel the excitement across the Palouse.

Do Coug fans believe hiring Moos will turn the Cougars around?

Of course, they are Coug fans. And that's the beauty of being a WSU supporter. Better days are always ahead.

And we are optimistic Floyd's swift action and focus in filling this important post, whether Moos gets the job or not, will ultimately reward the true Coug fans.

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