Editors Note: The following is featured in the 2013 Summer edition of Cougars Quarterly. The publication is sent to Cougar Athletic Fund members and season ticket holders. To learn more about the Cougar Athletic Fund click HERE or call 1-877-IMA-COUG. For WSU Athletics ticket information click HERE
Washington State University Director of Athletics Bill Moos sat down with Cougars Quarterly to discuss a variety of topics, including the football operations building and future facility developments, the critical importance Cougar Athletic Fund membership is for the department and his message to Cougars as the 2013-14 season approaches.
CQ: We are talking two days after the 2013 Hall of Fame announcement and a day before Cougar Legends Weekend. Why is the history of Cougar Athletics important to you, and why should it be important to all Cougars?
Moos: We as Cougars are a big family. In order to take Cougar Athletics into the future, we need to embrace those who paved the way for where we are going. Maybe it’s because I am a history major but I believe it’s very important to honor the past in that regard and, in doing so, seeing that those who came before us feel a part of what we’re doing and a part of where we’re moving the program.
CQ: The view from your Bohler Athletic Complex office window changes every day with the football operations building construction. Facility development has been a priority since you took over as AD. Why is this project and last year’s construction of the Premium Seating Building important to not only football but to the entire athletic department?
Moos: We have to have football healthy and our coaches in all sports know that. It is the major revenue producer for us and it can provide us with monies that will enhance all of our programs. All boats will rise if football is successful. That was the first investment. At capacity our premium seating produces a net of over $3 million a year into our budget that will help all programs. Everybody is coming out a winner in these facility enhancements. At the end of the day it’s going to allow us to hire and retain the best coaches and attract the finest talent in regards to our student-athletes.
CQ: What future facility developments can Cougars expect to see?
Moos: We’re getting cost estimates for a baseball clubhouse and an indoor practice facility. The latter is very important because it helps all of our sports, especially the ones that train and compete outdoors. We’re also getting cost estimates for our soccer facility, which is desperately in need of improvements. In addition, we have some ambitious goals in Beasley Coliseum. Though we have made some progress there, primarily in branding, we need to address locker rooms, the training room, and the concourses. I would love to have everything done in five or six years from the time I started, which means we have two or three years left. I think we can do that. Again, it’s going to entail a lot of people getting involved and supporting our plan.
CQ: You mentioned people getting involved. Can you elaborate?
Moos: You can put on your Cougar gear. We want you to put your stickers on your cars. We want you to get that Cougar Crimson license plate. But we also need you to be involved in the Cougar Athletic Fund and purchase tickets to watch our events and cheer on our teams.
CQ: Why is membership in the Cougar Athletic Fund so critical to the success of Cougar Athletics?
Moos: We now have the largest donor base in the history of Cougar Athletics and we’ve raised more money on an annual basis than we ever have. People are getting involved and having skin in the game, as I like to say, but we need to continue to grow. We need to move our annual giving numbers to the point where it covers the cost of scholarships. People love to say they are Cougars, yet I don’t believe they are true Cougars unless they have made an investment. You can be a member of the Cougar Athletic Fund for as little as $50 a year. That’s a little over $4 a month.
CQ: Hypothetically, if the costs of our scholarships were covered, what would that mean for the department?
Moos: It would create an additional 3 plus million dollars, which we could be investing in other areas. One would be to pay down the deficit that was created in order to kick-start our plan and begin moving us forward. It could also be invested in infrastructure, recruiting and travel budgets. Because we are playing a lot of television games mid- and even early week, we want to be chartering more flights for both our men’s and women’s basketball teams. This would assure that our student-athletes can get home and into the classroom in a timely manner. These are costs that come along with our obligations in regards to our television contracts. We still have one of the lowest budgets in the Pac-12. We want to compete day in and day out in a tough conference. In order to do that we must grow our budget.
CQ: So even though our revenue increased with the Pac-12 TV contract, it did not decrease the gap we have with other Pac-12 schools in terms of budget?
Moos: I said at the time of the announcement of the TV contract that if we were the only school to realize the $20 million on the average of new revenue we would still be one of the lower budgets in the Pac-12. Every school is investing that television money and most are investing it in facilities. We would have been left in the dust if we wouldn’t have been able to address our facility needs. We’ve done that and will continue to do it.
CQ: In addition to the financial benefits, what positive effects has the TV contract, specifically the Pac-12 Networks, had for WSU?
Moos: I think the new television contract and the addition of the Pac-12 Networks allows us to showcase Washington State University weekly around the country, something that’s never been done before. We used to pray that we would get a national exposure on television; we now have that opportunity at least once a week, many times two and three. With that exposure comes the message that WSU is a quality university with much more to offer than just Cougar Athletics. It gives us an opportunity to spotlight all the other great things this university does in education and research. I think one of the responsibilities and benefits of an intercollegiate athletic program is that it can serve as the window to the institution and place the university on the national stage. You can’t put a price on that.
CQ: One of the effects of the TV contract is scheduling and weekday games in Pullman. How frequently can Cougars expect to see weekday home games on the schedule?
Moos: No more than two times every three years. With our Friday Apple Cup game a year ago and this season’s Halloween game, this fulfills our obligation to the conference. It’s part of what all Pac-12 schools have to deal with. If you look at the benefits it outweighs the challenges. We want our fans to show up and have some fun on Halloween. We’re playing Arizona State, so what better team to play on Halloween than the Devils? I know our marketing people are going to have a real blast with this. It will be a fun evening.
CQ: You mentioned the Apple Cup. Can you describe your emotions when you saw the fans charge the field after Andrew Furney’s kick sailed through the uprights?
Moos: My emotions really started at the beginning of the game. It was emotional for me to see the pride our players were taking in this game. Again, that comes with tradition and legacy. That’s part of Honoring The Past, Living the Present and Creating the Future. When we got into the fourth quarter, we could have folded our tent. But we didn’t. I think it is important to point out that what Mike Leach was asking for all year was 100 percent effort, 100 percent of the time. In the Apple Cup, we saw that, maybe for the first time the entire season. Our players got a taste of what it takes to be successful at this level.
And then to win that football game and see how much it meant to our students and our fans, that’s what it’s all about to be a Cougar. We need to grow from that and benefit from it, not just in football, where our players came off that victory on a high note with a little skip in their step, but all of our other sports, which got a lift as well. When you win the Apple Cup you win the state of Washington. That’s the first step in becoming a champion in my opinion.
CQ: Finally what is your message to Cougars as we head into the 2013-14 season?
Moos: I’m excited about our future. Our coaches and staff believe in what we’re doing. They are seeing results and that is extremely important. It’s not just lip service that I’m talking about. We are seeing it starting to happen. We are on the verge of something very, very special here. We must stay the course, continue to grow, and we have to believe. We are going to stub our toe along the way but we can’t let it be a house of cards. We’re building it from the ground up on solid footings.
The message to our fan base and to those who want to see success on a consistent basis is that everyone needs to be involved. We all need to have skin in the game. If, indeed, that is the case, we could be a contender in all sports year-in and year-out. That is not an impossible dream at Washington State. We have lots to sell here. Our campus and close-knit family feeling are very desirable. Now, with our improved facilities and quality coaches we can become a source of pride to our alumni and friends for years to come.