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

this Saturday.

”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

seasons.

”I want our fans to realize this can be done at WSU,” Moos

said.

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

around.

”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

former.”