Moos to get look at Oregon program he helped build
Bill Moos helped build the Oregon Ducks into a football power
during his 12 years as athletic director.
He’ll view his handiwork from the other side for the first time
this Saturday when No. 3 Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) travels to
Pullman to play Washington State (1-4, 0-2), where Moos has been
athletic director since February.
There won’t be any divided loyalties for Moos, whose departure
from Oregon was the result of an unspecified falling out with Nike
co-founder Phil Knight, a major booster.
”I’m a Cougar and I work for the Cougars, so people know where
my heart is,” said Moos, a star player for Washington State in the
early 1970s. Indeed, the answering machine message on his cell
phone begins with an extended rendition of the WSU fight song.
The 59-year-old served as AD at Oregon from 1995-2007 and the
rising fortunes of the football program during his tenure brought
dramatic increases in sports revenues. Moos and Knight have never
talked publicly about their split, but many found it telling that
Knight gave a $100 million donation to Oregon’s athletic department
right after Moos left.
Moos claims to have no hard feelings, calling the Ducks the best
team in the country right now. They are five touchdown favorites
”We spent 12 very good years at Oregon and feel very proud of
our part in building that program,” Moos said. ”I continue to be
impressed with how they have continued to grow it.”
Under a noncompete clause with Oregon that paid him nearly
$200,000 a year, Moos spent three years developing a ranch south of
Spokane, and caught up on issues at his alma mater.
When athletic director Jim Sterk decided in February to leave
for San Diego State, WSU boosters demanded that the administration
hire Moos as the replacement. Moos negotiated a deal with Oregon
regarding the noncompete clause and then went to work.
What WSU boosters were looking for is the same kind of magic
Moos worked in Eugene, where the athletic department budget grew
from $18 million in his first year to more than $40 million by
2007. The donor base increased from 4,900 to 12,290. Moos oversaw
the expansion of facilities, and the Ducks enjoyed their longest
stretches of success in football and men’s basketball.
Moos believes a similar renaissance can occur at Washington
State, where the $30 million athletic budget is the smallest in the
Pac-10 and football attendance has dropped after two dreadful
”I want our fans to realize this can be done at WSU,” Moos
Much depends on the fortunes of the football team, which was
3-22 in coach Paul Wulff’s first two seasons and continues to
struggle this year.
Moos remains confident that Wulff can turn the program
”Paul and his assistants are doing a great job of recruiting,”
Moos said. ”I’m seeing signs of improvement.”
”We changed the culture and mindset at Oregon, but it wasn’t
done overnight,” Moos said. ”Our design there is similar to what
we are doing here.”
That includes trying to make more money from football. Moos
believes the football program should generate two-thirds to
three-quarters of an athletic department’s budget. At WSU, football
generates about one-third, $10 million, because of low attendance
and lower television income than other Pac-10 teams, Moos said.
”We’ve got to increase our revenue streams and have money in
the bank,” Moos said.
A major step in that direction could come at this week’s
meetings of Pac-10 athletic directors. The meetings are part of the
effort to hammer out new revenue sharing agreements as the league
adds Colorado and Utah in 2011. In the Pac-10, participants in a
televised game split 64 percent of the money, with the other eight
teams getting just 4.5 percent each.
Moos favors sharing the TV revenue equally, as many other
conferences do, which could be worth $10 million to $15 million a
year for the Cougars.
Moos noted that Washington State has gone to the Rose Bowl twice
since 1997, but failed to keep the momentum going.
”We have to work to get back there and then have a plan in
place to sustain it,” Moos said. ”The latter is tougher than the