- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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For Washington State athletic director Bill Moos, firing Paul Wulff was necessary because he didn't see "butts in the seats" at Martin Stadium.
Wulff's failure wasn't just about wins and losses to Moos. It was the state of the program, which needs to urgently work to get better on the field and with facilities upgrades.
"We've either got to run with the big dogs, or admit that we're a doormat," he said.
Moos' straight-talking news conference was as much about getting boosters back to investing in the football program as it was about Wulff's termination.
And Moos wasn't shy about talking about potential replacements for Wulff. He said he had a "short list" of about five or six names, and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin were on it. He said former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti and former Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson were not. Moos said he doesn't believe Bellotti wants to get back into coaching, which might tell you about his potential candidacy for the UCLA and Arizona State jobs.
Moos said he would form a search committee of one: Himself. And he wants to move quickly.
"We've got to do it pretty quickly or we are going to get left in the dust," he said.
Moos said he made the decision to fire Wulff on Sunday. Of their long conversation, Wulff said it "was very similar to the conversation we had last year."
Moos said he likes "flashy offenses," which would fit in with both Leach and Sumlin.
The takeaway from Moos: There is a sense of urgency for the program. It needs to improve its facilities and infrastructure to help recruit better players. It needs to spend more on salaries to recruit better coaches. And it needs fans in the seats at Martin Stadium to bolster revenue.
It would appear that while some of that feels like a chicken-and-the-egg quandary, all involving money, Moos is going all-in with the idea that the critical first step is hiring an A-list coach.
Can he pull that off? We'll see.