Thursday, November 29, 2007

This May Take a While

If you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for what you think is a foregone conclusion that Mike Price is the next head coach? You might want to cool it. Jim Sterk went on KJR last night with Elise and Ian, and he did in fact acknowledge that Bill Moos has talked to Mike. But Sterk said that he himself had not yet talked to Mike, at all. When asked if Price was interested in the job, Sterk wouldn't elaborate, saying that was up to Price on however he wanted to talk about the situation. But Sterk did say that Price was NOT THE GO-TO-GUY ON THE LIST, and this search is not about Mike Price.


Here's the link to the interview. It's a really interesting listen, and I encourage you all to check it out.


If you heard Sterk last night, you might want to dig in for the long haul. The impression he gave was that this is, in no way, going to be a rush job. Despite what you may have heard from whatever sources you may have, Sterk flat-out said that this is going to be a thorough, detailed process leaving no stone unturned. He even mentioned that they won't set a true deadline, but that the end of the year the new coach should be in place (!?!). End of the year?? I don't think we like the sound of that, not when December is such an important month for all recruiting efforts, but especially one that Doba had stead-fastly decided that we would be different and we would wait things out, jumping in late on a lot of kids. Not such a swell idea now, is it??


And one more thing from Sterk on Price. Let's just say if Sterk wanted Price and he was the clear-cut #1 choice. Would there be talk of this long process with Moos and Floyd all actively involved? Sterk also said that there is really a committee, including a few team captains, and they are all going to have input on what they are hoping for in a new coach. Sterk admitted himself that he loves to get input from many different people before he makes the decision, so it's not as if he's sprinting to the podium with his arm around Price. But if they wanted Price that badly, this thing would already be over, ala Houston Nutt at Ole Miss. This is not going to be a quick process.


Maybe that's actually the best news of all. Moos and Sterk and Floyd are extremely confident in their situation, and it was hard not to listen to Sterk and feel nothing but good feelings that they are going to do EVERYTHING THEY CAN to get us the perfect fit. They are smart guys who know what they are looking for, and Sterk himself has shown he can think "outside the box". To this day, nobody saw the Bennett's coming, yet here we are #6 in the country and a team with legit Final Four aspirations. The June Daugherty hire is still considered a major get, and in a few years they could be a factor in the conference. So let's just see what they come up with. Maybe it will be a name that nobody saw and we'll be absolutely blindsided. But I know this. We should feel great about the guys leading this search, because I don't think we could be in better hands.


Price did speak to (who else) Howie Stalwick, and more or less danced around the topic. Moos said they talked but it was a "feeling out" process and that was the extent of the details. In the same article, John L. Smith said he was interested and Moos had contacted him already as well. And the Cal guys, Gregory and Michalzcik, both admitted interest as well. Again, not a surprise.

Meanwhile, Moos does say that things are moving fast. At least as far as the preliminary call list, Moos is basically done according to the TNT. I imagine that he's been glued to the phone the last couple of days, and that they are ready to dig deeper after the initial contact phase.

For the rumor-monger, Pat Hill at Fresno State is mentioned in Howie's article. While he didn't come out and say he wants the job, a "source with Fresno State ties" admitted that Hill is very interested in WSU, but Hill said Wednesday that he hadn't talked to anyone. And if you really want to dig rumors, how about the one that said Rick Neuheisel had been spotted in Pullman Wednesday?? Nah. I don't think we can fathom going there, even if the Go-2-Guy sure can.


Finally, Jim Walden - if anyone thinks he is cool with Price returning??? Think again. He went out of his way to push Wulff in the P-I yesterday, and he was just getting started. He also went out of his way to piss on Price's candidacy, both in print and on the radio. I heard him last night with Jeff Aaron, and he said Price "won't happen", for many reasons, including age, the circumstances with how he left and his poor record the last couple of years which shows that he really hasn't built much of anything at UTEP. Here's a link to the story, although you may have trouble getting to it. Reading some of these quotes from Walden, and hearing him last night, I don't think he'll go out of his way to buy Price a beer if he returns to Pullman:

"If they're beating up Doba (in recruiting) because of his age now," said Jim Walden, one of Price's predecessors and now the Cougars' extremely colorful commentator on radio, "why wouldn't they beat up Price for the same thing?"

"I don't think a coach that leaves a school when he's got them in the Rose Bowl and goes to another place is what you want," said Walden, as usual holding back not at all. "I'm not thinking that's a serious move for a school.

"We didn't divorce him. He left us. The Cougar in me says, 'No.' Maybe it's emotional. Or maybe I have a deeper feel for the school that says we've got to get better."


"What is he doing for UTEP that we would get excited about?" Walden said. "Has he been to four bowls in four years? Won 50 games? What makes us think he's a great prospect? I'm not trying to knock the guy, but let's move on."

Finally, on the air last night, Walden said not only "it won't happen" but that he doesn't think Price wants the job or really cares to get it. According to Walden, the only reason he would do it is if he can get Eric the head coaching job down the line, just like everyone has speculated. And that Price doesn't need the money or the new challenge at his age, and that he'd likely just take the job and spend more time at his lake place than out on the road recruiting or doing the extra work it's going to take to get this thing back to where we want it to be. Safe to say, Walden IS NOT IN THE PRICE CAMP!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised by Walden's comments. First they are truly ignorant of what MP has accomplished at UTEP. MP is already the 4th winningest coach in UTEP's history and he has only been there for 4 years. Plus he has taken them to 2 bowls in 2 consecutive years, which something never seen before by UTEP.
I enjoy Walden and his frank discussions, but attacking one coach in order to stump for another is not appropriate and again his attack on MP's record reflects his ignorance on the subject.
Anyhow, I don't think MP will take this job (if offered, which by no means is guaranteed) because of the issues surrounding his departure.
Ptowncoug

longball said...

I second Ptowns statement; there is a lot of talk out there right now downplaying what Price has done at UTEP. You have to be completely ignorent to think his accomplishments there are anything less than amazing. That prgram was flat out dead when he showed up there. Price is not anywhere in my top 5 at this point, but if there is anything that says he is the right man it is his record at UTEP. Walden should know better then to make a brain dead statement like Price hasnt accomplished much with UTEP. Of course, it is Walden we are talking about. I love the guy, but he aint no Rhodes scholar if you know what i mean. I know people enjoy his commentary, but giving it too much weight is really kinda silly. THe man gets a mike in front of him, says "gol darned diggity doo dah di boogity dee dum gollie gee whiz" and the whole Cougar nation stops to listen? come on folks. I guarntee you one thing, Walden is NOT being consulted by the search committe.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Walden was pretty pro-Doba and I get the sense that he's pissed.. I second the thoughts on MP's work at UTEP, that place was a total disaster, the fact that it's even an idea that they can win is huge. I too don't know if he's the right guy or not, but at least you know what you are going to get with the guy, which is some buzz. If the stadium and everything is as big a part of this as they are saying, you can market the hell out of the return of the guy that took you to two Rose Bowls, versus D-II semifinals (or whatever conf. EWU plays in), and x no. of Big Sky championships. It's not a fair comparision to hiring MP the first time around anymore, through MP's work WSU is in a different spot now.

One other thing, I'm a west-side guy and the buzz that you would generate over here (huge fan base, $ base as much as east-side people hate to admit) by hiring Wulff or somebody else of that caliber would be nill - at least from my perspective. The same goes with Lapano, the husky fans are so pissed off right now they would thank us for helping get rid of anybody in the TW regime. They/we need something with a little more cache. I very well could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first, er millionth time.
Coug97

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that the traitor Mike Price would even get a second look..and a nod over Paul W. who has done everything RIGHT....

does anybody remember the humiliation of having Price at the Rose bowl?....does anybody remember that we were in that game up until he decided to go for it on 4 the down, and basically handing the Oks the ball at midfield?

Price was gleeful to be smearing it in our face that he was going off to the bigtime.....well, the joke was in him in the end....

Sedihawk said...

I am still not over that Rose Bowl display. I may never be fully over it. Get over it, I know, he took us to two RB's, won a couple of Pac-10 titles, 5 bowl games, Drew Bledsoe, Jason Gesser, Palouse Posse, etc. And I'll never really blame him for leaving. He cashed his lottery ticket for a job of a lifetime and he took it, much like many of us would have done if we walked a day in his shoes. Oh, and I still think no matter what, we would have lost to an outstanding OK team that day. Even if we were fully focused, that team was loaded with NFL talent on defense. But that's beside the point.

But as a fan and someone who attended the school, purchased tickets and merchandise related to WSU football over the years, I'll never forget feeling sabotaged by the whole event. The Rose Bowl is, quite frankly, sacred ground. That day should ALWAYS BE ABOUT THE SCHOOL and basically an infomercial not only about the program, but a celebration of the school and the players that busted their butts to get there. Instead, it was all about Mike Price and Alabama. I will not forgive him for dumping the program at the door once we got there, only to run off and wax elequent about how wonderful Alabama will be, how excited he is to be there, blah, blah, blah. Did you know that during pregame, he was walking the field on his cell phone, making official recruiting calls to Alabama prospects?? Just the very idea that before that game he would do something like that, that whole scene was a disgrace.

All that said, the Price issue is just too emotional to me. One moment I like it, and even get excited at the idea of Captain Happy coming back and selling WSU with all he's got. You know, turning over rocks to find the Trufant's and Long's of the NW, bringing some "splash" with him on a national level, and possibly even bringing Gesser in to be an offensive coach and maybe putting him on the fast track to be the head guy some day.

But then I think about what happened, and that he's no spring chicken anymore, and I wonder. I think about the energy that's needed to make things work, and I wonder if he really, truly has that passion to go the distance at WSU. He gave us 14 years of blood, sweat and tears. But is it even realistic that he would sell out for WSU AGAIN? Does he have the burn to be great anymore, where his property in Coeur D'Alene beckons??

Walden is a guffawing-goof, but he's seriously passionate about WSU and he obviously feels betrayed. He may not be on the search committee, but in this case that's a good thing as he can speak frankly about it. And, reading between the lines, he likely knows details that we'll never know. It seems very, very personal between him and Price. And I think it's clear he has an agenda here of recommending Wulff to the nth degree.

Lots to chew on, that's for sure.

One more thing that I believe Ian said last night - WSU might not be playing smokescreen here, but, they also might be intentionally delaying this a little bit. There are likely to be more firings over the next week as other schools wrap up their seasons. There's always some suprises that you never saw coming. And there also could be head coaches or assistants that won't even talk about the job until their regular season is done. So maybe some on the Moos list are "I'm interested, but get back to me next week" or something along those lines? Maybe next week this thing will be a lot more crystalized.

Anonymous said...

More names from sporting news:

WASHINGTON STATE

There are myriad names at Washington State. Again, I feel an African-American will be targeted.

Cleveland Browns secondary coach Mel Tucker is on the radar, as is Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin. If Sumlin doesn't land the job, he could reprise his role as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Other top minorities are UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson.

After that, things open up. Wazzu could target St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Greg Olson, Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, former Michigan State coach John L. Smith, Montana coach Bobby Hauck, Eastern Washington coach Paul Wulff and UTEP offensive coordinator Eric Price.

Smith has gone on record as saying he wants the gig.

Olson has great ties to the school and region. He would be perfect. Ex-WSU coach Bill Doba and Purdue's Joe Tiller, an ex-Wazzu assistant, figure to help him. And Olson's wife is a former track coach at Washington State.

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter probably isn't in the running, I'm told.



Then again, keep in mind this same writer (Dienhart) declared his sources saying Doba was "100% safe" after the wins over UCLA and Stanford, and the money was the guarantee that he would be back. I highly doubt he's dialed in to what's happening in Pullman.

Anonymous said...

I have obvious issues with waiting on making a decision. My thought was that we would have a coach by mid-Dec. If not we are in real trouble. Of course, I don't recall a change in coaching where essentially you still had 15-20 schollies on the table to give. That's unique. At least the new coach won't be able to argue that he didn't recruit these guys in the 2007 class or they "aren't his players."
I am really pushing to look serious at the CAL guys. Just too many H.S. connections and coming from a big time program.
I truly believe MP will be back, but in Walden's spot believe it or not. Maybe that is why Walden doesn't like MP too much. Honestly, I love to hear ole Bob Rob and MP on the radio. You might even get to hear the word "poop" on the radio.
By the way Longball, thanks for having my back!
Ptowncoug

Anonymous said...

who gives a rip who you guys get. Uw gets top recruits in-state witness today, middleton & Kearse. SO SORRY little brothers. see your commitments lately? despite TW we still will win. and wait until jake caps off the heisman at your house next year.

Emtman90

Sedihawk said...

Hey it's Steve Emtman! Hope those terrible injuries have healed. Thanks for stopping by. So will we see your name in the Mitchell report?

If I was UW I'd worry a lot less about Jake's Heisman and a lot more about being bowl-eligible....but that's just me.