On Friday night, the Cougs took a devastating blow at Cal losing big on the road, but that defeat in Berkeley paled in comparison to the loss felt Sunday afternoon when athletic director Bill Moos, out of nowhere, committed to the same position at Nebraska.
Moos is known as a fixer. He left an indelible mark on the Oregon program before it ballooned and he's going to be fondly remembered on the Palouse.
Before he even took the job back in 2010, he knew the project ahead of him at Washington State.
"It won't be easy," Moos said in 2010. "We can't do it overnight, but we can start to progress overnight."
His first order of business was reinvigorating the fan base.
"We have the lowest annual giving numbers, by far, in the PAC-12 conference and I feel we have apathy in our fan base," Moos said after firing football head coach Paul Wulff in 2011.
During Moos' seven years at Washington State, the Cougar Athletic Fund's Annual Giving program has seen an 81 percent rise in gifts. He also managed marketing rights agreements and TV contracts to get money into the program to help build the facilities they needed to compete with other school's in conference.
But, before any of that unfolded, he needed a face of the university--a guy to take this program to the next step. A man named Mike Leach.
"I want to get this program in a position to compete for championships and to do it consistently," Moos said after hiring Leach in 2011.
Leach has meant everything to this football program taking the team out of irrelevancy and into the national spotlight.
"We knew we had a hole to dig out of five years ago and year-by-year we've gotten better. Got good players, a great coaching staff and great support from the administration," Moos said before the Holiday Bowl in 2016.
But which administration?
The one under Elson Floyd or Kirk Schulz?
The departure of Moos hurts because he's an Eastern Washington guy. He grew up in the area and graduated from Washington State.
This was his home.
No WSU fan is happy about this. Questions about the future will continue to linger, but when we look back on Moos' tenure, he was right from day one.
"We're going on a great ride," Moos said.
A great ride it was Bill.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m. WSU releases statement on immediate search for Director of Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University President Kirk Schulz announced that he will immediately begin a national search for a new director of WSU athletics. Bill Moos, who had served in the role at WSU since 2010, was today named director of athletics at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
“Washington State University has a long and proud athletics tradition,” Schulz said. “Cougar fans are among the most passionate and loyal in all of college sports. We will begin our search immediately to find an athletics director who will drive our program to even greater success both on the field of play and in the classroom.”
President Schulz will chair the search for the new athletics director and will announce the membership of the search committee on Monday. Washington State University will also employ the services of an executive search firm to aid in the selection process, he said. An interim athletics director will be named early next week.
“I want to thank Bill Moos for his years of service to Washington State University. He has accomplished much and helped bring our program the national prominence it deserves,” Schulz said.
The Washington State University system consists of five campuses and the online Global Campus along with research centers and extension service offices located across the state. WSU is home to 15 NCAA Division I women’s and men’s athletic teams.
Associated Press story
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska has hired Washington State athletic director Bill Moos to head its sports program.
University officials announced the pick on Sunday, less than four weeks after firing AD Shawn Eichorst. Eichorst was let go the day after the Cornhuskers football team lost to Northern Illinois at home. His replacement was named the day after Nebraska was routed in Lincoln by Ohio State.
University chancellor Ronnie Green praised Moos in a statement as a "proven winner." Green says Moos was picked from a field that included several sitting athletic directors from Power Five conference schools.
Moos has been athletic director at Washington State since 2010. The 66-year-old agreed to a five-year contract with a base annual salary of $1 million, plus incentives. His job at Nebraska will start on Oct. 23.
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