Leach after two 'big-time' assistant coaches

BILL MOOS

HEAVY SNOWFALL IN Eastern Washington delayed Bill Moos' arrival for his weekly radio show Monday morning in Spokane, but the Washington State athletic director made up for lost time by offering plenty of interesting observations about Cougars athletics and the Pac-12 Conference as a whole.

Moos said football coach Mike Leach is pursuing two "big-time coaches" to fill the vacancies on his staff. Linebackers coach Jeff Choate left for UTEP and inside receivers coach Eric Morris accepted a job at Texas Tech.

Leach said both men will be coordinators – Choate on defense, Morris on offense – but the schools have not made official announcements. Choate and Morris were friends and past associates with the new head coaches at their new schools.

Moos said the search for replacements has been "very promising. We've got a lot of interest in both those positions … I'm expecting some word on that in the next seven to 10 days.

"I know Mike has had people on the phone and also has talked to them personally. I know who his first two choices are in both of those (openings), and it looks very exciting that that's who we're going to get.

"It would be exciting to talk about that, because it shows somewhat that we truly can be a destination at Washington State and not a stepping stone."

MOOS SAID HE has been "frustrated" by the length of time being taken for the Pac-12's investigation into former wide receiver Marquess Wilson's accusations of abuse (which he later recanted) by the coaching staff. A separate WSU investigation revealed no major issues. WSU also requested the Pac-12 investigation.

Moos noted that the Pac-12 is ill-equipped for such investigations and is working with a law firm.

"Any time that you have more and more people involved and you're out-sourcing, then it takes a little bit longer," Moos said. "I'm a little bit frustrated, as you might guess, that we haven't got that back yet. I don't think there's going to be any surprises or red flags."

MOOS SAID WSU's 2013 football schedule will not be finalized for months, but the Cougars will play a 6 p.m. Thursday game on ESPN. Moos said the date and opponent are not set.

"It's important for us," Moos said, "because we're showcasing Cougar football in prime time across the country."

Thursday games, mandated by the new television schedules, rotate among all Pac-12 schools. Pullman's small population and isolated location make weeknight games tough to attend for some fans.

"That presents challenges, especially with our west-side people, even with Spokane," Moos said.

Television forced the Cougars and Washington to play the Apple Cup the day after Thanksgiving last season in Pullman. Students were on a week-long break from classes, but a loud, enthusiastic crowd of more than 30,500 turned out to watch the Cougars rally for an overtime victory.

"I thought our crowd turned out wonderfully," Moos said. "Helped us to get that win. Stayed to the end, as we've preached."

The new suites at Martin Stadium sold out last season, and Moos said there's a waiting list. The two other sets of new premium seats also sold well.

"People love the loge seats," Moos said. "I wish we'd had twice as many, but we didn't have enough space for it. We've got to concentrate on filling the club seats. That first game we had probably about 400 that were unsold. We let people in there that qualified in regards to their amount of giving to the program, and after that first game, we sold 200 more."

Moos hopes the Apple Cup win keeps football ticket sales on the rise.

"Winning that Apple Cup helped a lot," Moos said. "People got to really see, ‘Hey, this thing (the football program) is evolving, and this is what it's going to look like.' To end like we did and show that confidence and start to see that offense come together and what it can do, I think that really excited our fan base."

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