On Sunday, Nebraska introduced new Athletic Director Bill Moos and he had his opening press conference the same day. Ten days ago, ahead of Washington State taking on the Oregon Ducks, Moos joined John Canzano’s BFT Podcast to talk about a variety of topics that may now be of interest to Husker fans.
You can listen to the full 15 minute interview here and I’ve listed the highlights below.
Tidbit on his time away and a couple of coaches he hired: "I was away from the business for three years; my football coach Mike Leach was away for two or three. My basketball coach, Ernie Kent, was away for four. All three of us had the same feeling that it was good to have that sabbatical and clear the head, [to] really realize, what did I do right, what did I do wrong. We really had a chance to miss it and decide to get back in."
Importance of winning in football: "It’s absolutely a necessity. I knew when I got here, our football program needed a lot of work. Several of our programs did as I hired 11 coaches in my first five years I was here. As I talked to the entire staff, I emphasized that we had to get football healthy and when we do, all boats will rise. Everybody will benefit from it. I guess I became a prophet because all of our programs are moving in a great direction and becoming programs that can realistically compete for championships in the Pac-12.
"Football had to get healthy and in order to do that we had to invest facilities, had to make coaching changes. Had to do a lot of work in regards to recruiting. It wasn’t going to happen overnight. There were a lot of building blocks that had to be put into place. That took two, three and onwards up to four years to get that foundation so that we could hopefully be in position to win more games a year. The last two years we won eight and nine games. Hopefully this year it’ll be 10 or 11, maybe even more."
Other building blocks besides hiring the right guy (Mike Leach): "All kinds of things needed to be addressed. We had to rebrand. My friends from Nike came in and we got our identity. We really went to work on our nutrition. Our athletes just didn’t look the part and now they do. We put millions into nutrition. Our academic services. All kinds of things had to be addressed. The most important thing that happened, and I’m proud I played a fairly big part in this, was maneuvering to get the television money distributed equally.
"To give you an example, when I got here and I was at Oregon the majority of all of the money was going to the to L.A. schools, maybe to Washington because they were playing more games on television. So, before our big deal got done with ESPN and FOX I felt like we needed to get the revenue pie shared equally. We got enough votes in the backrooms and the hallways to get that done. So, we literally went from $2.8 million in Pac-12 money to a plan to average $20.5 million so that's how we were able to invest in Mike Leach and his staff and also $136 million of facilities to take us from the outhouse to the penthouse. People ask me about the series record with USC. Washington State has only won nine times. I think the series started in 2012 when schorlaship limits had been in place and had been for several years and TV revenue was equal. Since then our record against USC is 2-1 and 2-1 against UCLA. When you have an equal playing field, you can attract the talent, you can attract a national coach of the year and retain him, then you have the stability in a program to be successful year in and year out."
Why he left Oregon: "We really did develop something there and we’re really proud of that. It was two things. One, I was ready to get out of intercollegiate athletics. Both our daughters were in the state of Washington starting families. Our older son was just starting as a defensive tackle at Arizona State. Our two youngest kids were in the seventh and third grade so I wanted time to coach them. Plus, I wanted to build that ranch we talked about. I remember when I announced I was leaving someone asked me 'Bill, why would you leave all the bright lights and perks of major college athletics to go raise cattle?' I responded that I guess I’m at a point in my life where I would rather step in it than put up with it and that’s how I felt at the time.
"Also, the dynamics at Oregon were such that we loved Oregon and loved what we helped build but I felt I had to take myself out of the game in order to have a chance for Oregon to win. It was tough. It’s been 10 years and I think back and it was the right thing to do. Oregon has continued to do very well and continue to grow that program. It’s been fun to watch as we build our own here at Washington State."