Things looking up under Moos

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YAKIMA — Bill Moos said he wanted to build when he accepted the Washington State athletic director job in February of 2010.

He's already done that, spearheading efforts that saw construction completed in September on WSU's new football press box and premium seating, as well as a large hole in the ground near Martin Stadium that will eventually turn into a new football operations building.

And Moos doesn't want to stop there. He told a group of sports editors and reporters Monday at the Northwest Regional Associated Press Sports Editors meeting that WSU is in the “design phase” of its plans for a new indoor practice facility, and that a $6 million baseball clubhouse project could eventually be in the works, too.

Renovations to the soccer field — a new playing surface and accommodations for television crews and the addition of stadium lights — and Beasley Coliseum are also on his to-do list.

Ideally, Moos said, he'd like to start working on the new practice facility next spring.

“But we're going to have to raise some money on that one,” he said.

Moos also addressed the football team's performance last season and his expectations for the coming year, accepting blame for the “feverish pitch” of the fan base prior to last year's disappointing 3-9 finish.

“I don't think I would forecast that we're assured of six wins this year,” he said, pointing to the difficulty of WSU's schedule, especially early. “... But we'll be better. I don't know if the scoreboard will show it.”

Asked about the controversial departure of former receiver Marquess Wilson, Moos said he thought Wilson was “a neat kid” who was “pampered by the previous staff” and showed a “total lack of effort” when pushed by coach Mike Leach and his staff.

The program is better for Leach's efforts, though, Moos said. He pointed to the football team's highest-ever grade point average fall semester, as well as the dramatic decrease in criminal activity throughout the athletic department.

Moos said he told Leach when the two first met in Key West, Fla., in the fall of 2011 that he wanted to crack down on drug use.

Leach took it a step further.

“I was appalled when I got to Washington State. The problems there were with marijuana and other behavioral problems,” Moos said. “And so I outlined that to him down in Key West. I said, ‘I've got a three-strikes-you're-out policy,’ and I laid it on all 450 student-athletes the first day of school. I described the whole thing and he was very respectful and attentive.

“And when I got done, he goes, ‘Yeah, that really sounds good. What do you think about a one-strike-and-you're-out?’”

The changes will pay off in the long run, Moos said.

“Maybe if we brought a couple JC, quick-fix guys in, we could have scratched out five or six wins,” Moos said. “But that's not what we're about. We want to build it on a solid foundation.”

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