Happy Post-Mother's Day Cougs. Here's hoping y'all were able to enjoy the great weather over the weekend! It's funny, but for the months of, say, January - April I complain to my wife, "Why exactly do we live here??" as it basically rains sideways 9 out of 10 days. But then you have days like the last three or four, and you're sheepishly finding yourself saying "....Oh yeah".
Yes, it rains a lot in the Seattle area, and the traffic pretty much blows. But when you get a sunny weekend? Absolutely stunning.
Anyway, some links and the like to round up for you this beautiful Monday morning.....
Jim Walden hopped on the KJR airwaves over the weekend, and had a good talk with Jeff Aaron over what the heck happened with his color commentary job. Walden goes in to detail about his defense of Paul Wulff and how desperately he wanted him to win and get another year, and how he did everything he could verbally to sway public opinion that Wulff should stay on for at least one more season. Check it out here, it's a good listen.
Among many things, Walden admits that what he did angered the powers-that-be about his opinions, and the harsh criticisms about the situation in general led to his dismissal. He's also not thrilled that he was fired over the mail, which is understandable! And Jeff Aaron himself talks about the crappy way he was fired from the WSU broadcasts after 10 years of sideline reporting (brutal!). But as Aaron and Walden both admit in the interview, radio jobs and coaching jobs are very similar -- the day you are hired is one day closer to being fired.
Walden will still be around, hosting a tailgate this fall and drinking beer (in a red solo cup, of course!). And Walden is going to enjoy his summer, including a trip to South Africa where he says he will waive the WSU flag! Very cool.
Anyway, I know we went over Walden last week, and many of you weighed in with comments. We heard at the spring game that some people weren't thrilled with him and not to be shocked if this is the end, and sure enough he's out of a job. And even Walden admits that he pulled no punches in the whole Wulff ordeal, so he doesn't sound shocked that he was let go. But just hearing his voice again was cool, and made me a little sad that the Saturday afternoon Bob-n-Jim comedy extravaganza has come to an end. But it was time for a change, and the athletic department continues to re brand itself, inside and out.
Speaking of former head coaches, the Wulff-to-San Francisco deal is official. Per Cougfan, Wulff didn't give a ton of details, other than to confirm he is taking the job and the family will be leaving Pullman for the Bay Area this summer. Great for coach Wulff, and we all wish him luck down the road (except when they are playing the Seahawks, of course!).
An interesting aspect to the Wulff article is how every coach from Wulff's last season now has a job. Here's the final rundown:
Paul Wulff - San Francisco 49ers
Jody Sears - Interim HC at Weber State after John L Smith left for Arkansas
Chris Ball - DC at ASU
Todd Sturdy - Iowa State
Chris Tormey - Wyoming
Todd Howard - Cal
Rich Rasmussen - Boise State
Mike Levenseller - Idaho
Steve Morton - Still at WSU, coordinator of Crimson 'n Gray club
Dave Ungerer - Still at WSU, Coordinator of ticket sales
If you tally it all up, that's three former coaches at BCS jobs (Ball, Sturdy, Howard), plus one at Boise State which might as well be a BCS gig. Good to see them all landing somewhere, anywhere, and continue to be involved in the game.
Finally, Kevin Gemmell at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a spring wrap-up of the Cougs. Gemmell touches on the good (Jeff Tuel and the skill positions) and the questions (O-line/D-line?). A pretty strong assessment as to where things are right now, wouldn't you say? I do believe that things could be a lot different this fall on defense, once 1) players return from spring injuries and 2) new faces are thrown into the mix, as anticipated with Leach's first recruiting class. Still, with the new scheme and the lack of known depth, the D feels like a huge mystery right about now and almost impossible to really get a feel for how good/bad/etc things will be this fall on that side of the ball.
That's it for now. Enjoy your day, and as always, GO COUGS!
Couldn't agree more on Walden's stance about Wulff. He was so close to getting this thing completely turned around and then has the rug pulled out from underneath him in the final season of his contract. I honestly believe the team next season would have been better off under the previous coaching staff's lead (same offense, familiarity, etc.) but in the long-run Leach will have more success than Wulff provided he sticks around and doesn't jump to a bigger job.
As a broadcaster (former), I liked the insights Walden brought to the broadcasts. He had/has the coaches perspective and it was easy to see what he was talking about as we watched and listened. I think moving Namek to the booth is a transition move for sure. I don't see him as the replacement for Bob-Rob. (not sure anyone can really repalce him.) Would like to see a wide search for a replacment. Keep in mind there are a number of Cougars out there in broadcasting that could do a great job. Maybe a conversation with Glenn Johnson or Dr. Pintak as to who might want or be able to do the job. If someone REALLY wants to stir up the mix, invite a lady. There are qualified women out there, and it would certainly spark interest.
As for the way both Wulff and Walden were fired, there seems to be a pattern about the way Moos goes about that, and it isn't pretty. Having to fire someone never is, but there's ways to go about it that give the person some dignity.
I'm still scratching my head about the radio broadcast changes. Not too bothered that Walden won't be there, as his act was getting a little tiresome and he certainly let loose with some major broadsides at WSU administration about the Wulff firing. However, it is very odd that WSU is doing all it can to be big time (new $2m coach, new facilities, new branding, major donation push, KIRO as flagship station, etc), but appears to be going very minor league with the broadcast replacements. There should have been a national search for the best radio talent we could reasonably afford. Instead, they lateral Nameck over (who, in my opinion, does a decent job of WSU hoops broadcasts, but just decent) and bring in McWashington who has absolutely no broadcast experience. I do like Jessamyn McIntryre on KJR--at least she knows sports and has experience reporting and producing. This whole thing is, for a long-time Coug like me, very puzzling and un-Mooslike. Maybe there is more to the story--such as this being an interim change while the permanent broadcast team is being recruited. Hope so........
@howboutdemcougs I think you are right in that this is more or less a transition? Bob-Rob won't be around forever and I bet for sure this year we see Bud on the play-by-play for some road games. But it seems like the least "invasive" thing they could do, but at the same time make changes. This will be a good trial for Bud too, and then they can see how it goes on the job. Maybe when Bob-Rob retires for good, that's when they either annoint Bud as the perma replacement or launch the national search? I have heard McWashington on the radio in the last few weeks, as he was on Kiro one day. He's very good, seems extremely smart about the X's and O's (as you would expect). But he was pretty smooth just in his interview, speaking with authority and sounding like someone who might have a long future in the broadcasting biz!