PULLMAN, Wash. – The Interim Athletic Director for Washington State University, John Johnson, made his first comments Tuesday afternoon following the surprise departure of Bill Moos to the University of Nebraska.

“I’m privileged to have the opportunity and appreciate the president for giving it to me. Most importantly however, we have a terrific staff and a top notch staff,” Johnson said.

When asked if he would be a candidate for the new athletic director position Johnson said no, “I will not be a candidate for obvious reasons. Typically in searches whether it be coaches or other administrators even outside athletics if the interim person is eligible, other folks may not apply,” Johnson said, “I care about Washington State very much it’s been a great part of my life. I grew up in Spokane and grew up a Cougar fan.”

Johnson said during his time as interim athletic director he would like to continue to build upon the scholarship program at WSU by funding scholarships with donations. He also said facilities should be a focus, “The indoor facility which not only helps football in the bad weather it also assists other programs during the winter months.”

Johnson was joined at the press conference by WSU President Kirk Schulz. During the press conference President Schulz said he would receive help during the search for a new athletic director.

Schulz also said a public website has been launched so people can give suggestions or comments as the search goes on for the next athletic director.

“We want to encourage the Coug nation to be involved and engaged at what we think is really an incredible opportunity for our next athletic director here at Washington State University,” Schulz said.

President Schulz spoke more about Moos’ surprise departure for Nebraska, “all of us found out at the same time and virtually the same way. I will say though, in the world of athletics this is not that uncommon,” Schulz said, “I appreciate everything Bill’s done for Washington State University athletics and wish him the best at University of Nebraska. He’s going to do a great job there.”

Schulz addressed rumors that head football coach, Mike Leach, could be the next to depart WSU, “We love him being here. He’s done a lot for Washington State University. We’re committed to do what’s needed to keep him as our football coach.”

Schulz also emphasized the importance of hiring an athletic director that will have a positive relationship with Leach, “We want our next athletic director to be somebody who’s going to continue to build around our football program and all of our other sports. My expectation is that we’re going to bring in somebody that will have a great working relationship with Mike.”