Nov. 26, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. - Following a meeting this morning with Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd, Director of Athletics Jim Sterk and Head Football Coach Bill Doba, it was mutually agreed that the time was right to transition to the next phase for Cougar football.
"Coach Doba, President Floyd and I met today and we agreed that it would be best for the future of Washington State football that we make a transition starting today with our head coaching position," said Sterk. "I have the utmost respect and admiration for Coach Doba and his entire staff. They are great coaches and great people."
"We greatly appreciate Coach Doba's contribution to Washington State University over the past 19 years," said Floyd. "He has played a pivotal role in Washington State's rise to national prominence over the past two decades, including two Rose Bowl appearances. His contributions will continue as a member of the search committee for this position and, for that, all Cougs are grateful."
In his five seasons guiding the Cougars, Doba compiled a 30-29 record, winning three Apple Cups and having the third-best winning percentage (.508) among WSU football coaches serving five or more years. Additionally, the average attendance at Cougar home football games in Doba's five seasons was 35,353, an increase of almost 5,000 fans compared to the five-year period prior to Doba's hiring.
"It has been a great ride for 19 years," said Doba. "The university has been great to me and my family and the support Judy and I received from the community is something I will never forget. I would like to thank Jim Sterk and Lane Rawlins for the opportunity to fulfill the dream of a lifetime. And I would like to thank President Floyd for treating me and this situation with dignity and respect."
Doba became Washington State's 30th head football coach December 18, 2002, after serving as a Cougar assistant for 14 years. During that time WSU won two Pacific-10 Conference championships and made four bowl appearances, including two trips to the Rose Bowl.
In his first season at the helm, the Cougars finished second in the Pac-10 Conference and then recorded the biggest bowl victory in the history of the program. WSU's win against Texas in the Holiday Bowl was its first over a top five program since 1988.
The 2003 Cougars featured a defense that led the nation in takeaways (48) and fumble recoveries (24), and finished second nationally in interceptions (24). WSU was also in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense and rushing defense. Doba's guidance resulted in a No. 9 national finish in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today polls.
A 1962 graduate of Ball State with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Doba earned his master's degree in the same area from Western Michigan in 1969. He started his career as an assistant coach at Goshen High (Ind.) in 1962. In 1965, he became head coach at Angola High (Ind.). After a two-year stay at Angola, he returned to Goshen High as head coach for three years, followed by a six-year stint at Mishawaka High (Ind.).
Doba then entered the college ranks, joining Lee Corso's football staff at Indiana. He coached outside linebackers for five seasons and spent one season tutoring the quarterbacks and receivers. In 1979, Indiana defeated Brigham Young in the Holiday Bowl.
The next move for Doba placed him at Big Ten foe Purdue, where he was a member of Leon Burtnett's staff for four seasons, 1983-86. He first was outside linebacker coach, then spent the 1986 season as the tight end and tackle coach. Burtnett is a current Cougar assistant in his second stint at WSU having served as Jim Sweeney's secondary coach in 1971. His 1984 Boilermaker team played in the Peach Bowl.
For two seasons prior to joining WSU, Doba was defensive coordinator at The Citadel, where he also coordinated the academic program, including tutors, study table and eligibility. In 1988 The Citadel finished 8-3 and reached the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
BILL DOBA QUOTES
"Thanks a million. I want to thank many, many people. I've been blessed and I've been lucky as hell. I've been able to stay at a major university for 19 years, and that doesn't happen very often. I've had some great times and some not-so-great times, but the majority of the time it's been great. I want to thank this community and this university for the support that it gave me and my family through some tough times. I want to thank the coaches, the support staff, Marie (Taylor), Vanessa (Mosby), Shawn Deeds, I could go on and on. I want to thank them for their work, their efforts and making this an enjoyable experience.
"I also want to thank Jim Sterk and Lane Rawlins for giving me the opportunity to fulfill a dream of a lifetime, giving me the opportunity to be a head coach at a Pac-10 university. Upon graduation if someone would have told me that, I would have wanted to know what the hell they were smoking, but it's been a great ride and I've had a great time.
"I want to thank President Floyd for handling this difficult situation with great dignity and respect and I appreciate that. Basically I felt with all the negative press, the internet and all the rumors and stuff that it was difficult to go out and recruit. In recruiting a kid wants to know if you're going to be there when he's there. I honestly didn't feel right sitting in some kid's living room and looking him in the eye and telling him that I'd be there the whole time they were, because I didn't know if I would or not.
"I've enjoyed this experience and this university and the way they've treated me and my family, I have no regrets, no animosity and it's been a great ride. There are some things we need to do to be better and the name of the game is recruiting. I felt if I was going to hurt this university or this program in any way, it was time for me to get the heck out of here. I think we're on the right track, getting some stadium renovations. I applaud President Floyd for jumping on the bandwagon and trying to get that thing done. I'm going to miss those players."
On how he wants to be remembered
"As a guy who loved my job. I had a great time, I didn't cheat, I didn't do anything to embarrass this university and I want to be remembered as a players' coach."
On what's next for him
"This is what I told the team, I said `men, I'm on vacation for the rest of my life, thank you.'"
On whether he'll coach again
"Right now I want to see my family. I look forward to doing some of the things I haven't been able to do and spend time with my family. I want to take a few years off and do nothing. I want to play golf in the fall, do a little fishing and do something in August. I want to see my grandson play football. I don't leave with a heavy heart. I feel bad about the young guys that I recruited a year or two ago and I thought I'd be here for another two or three years. This is what you work your whole life for, get a chance to retire and do what you want to do. Everyday's going to be Saturday."
On fondest memories in 19 years
"I've got a bunch of them. The win at the Apple Cup in 1997 to ensure the trip to the Rose Bowl, the win at the Holiday Bowl and then I'd have to say last Saturday. For those guys to come back and keep fighting back week after week, they have my respect forever."
JIM STERK QUOTES
I appreciate you all coming on such short notice today. This morning Coach Doba and I met and then had a follow-up meeting with President Floyd. At our meeting today we came to a mutual decision that making a transition in our head coaching position would be best for the future of the WSU football program. I think it is very fitting that Coach Doba goes out with one of the greatest Apple Cup wins in the 100th anniversary of the game. He has claim to the biggest and best modern bowl victory as a head coach at WSU with our win against Texas in the Holiday Bowl.
"Bill also ends his 19-year tenure as someone who I have the utmost respect for. He cares deeply for WSU and the future of this program, and he's just been great to work with as an assistant coach and the last five years as a head coach. He's loved deeply by his players, staff, alumni and friends, and that is what makes this, in some respects, tough to see happen. However I know Bill is excited about the next phases of his life and I'm sure he'll address those in his comments.
"A little bit about what is happening after today. A national search begins immediately to identify and recruit the very best person to lead WSU football into the future. There is no precise timeline for this search. We are retaining the services of a consultant in the identification and evaluation of candidates who will lead WSU football. Bill Moos, a former WSU football player and alum and former athletics director at Oregon will serve in that capacity. Bill's knowledge of WSU, the Pacific-10 and football nationally will serve us well. Coach Doba has also agreed to serve on an advisory committee along with our NCAA faculty rep Ken Casavant. The person we're looking for as our next head football coach will exemplify the excellence and integrity that is so important to us here at Washington State University."
Did you have your decision made before the Apple Cup?
No, as Bill said, we mutually agreed upon the decision this morning. I wanted to talk to him before we made a decision. It was an agreement by all parties.
Could Bill have returned if he wanted to?
I challenged him with that, if he had the energy and wished to return, but I think he felt it was best for the program to step down at this time.
What were the overriding criteria in this decision?
I think overriding as far as how Bill felt was number one with me. Because I wanted to make sure we respected the 19 years he has given to this program and the success he has brought this program so that was number one in my eyes. Then, the future of the program would be the other factor and that goes in the line of recruiting, players and all that.
As you move forward, what are the main things you will be looking for?
Experience, integrity, excellence - I think those are all things you look at in any person that we hire in the department. I think we pride ourselves on providing one of the best student-athlete experiences in the country and I think the coaches have to exemplify that in there areas.
What is the assistant coaches' status?
They are employed by the university until a decision is made on a head coach. That head coach makes a decision on the assistants. They just left yesterday for recruiting so we will strategize on what they will be doing in the meantime.
Will you recommend to the new coach that they retain some of the assistants?
I leave that up to the coach. If they ask for my opinion then I can highly recommend the coaches we have on staff. They're a great group of folks.
Does this open the door to examine some minority candidates?
We will certainly entertain any and talk to the Black Coaches Association and I would guarantee that there will be some minority candidates on the list.