I thought it was time to throw a bone to the West-side Cougars.
The Washington Huskies get the press over here, but it seems every now and then, a little Cougar news should get thrown in.
After all, there’s plenty of WSU alumni over here. It’s not like they stay in Pullman after they graduate, seeing as how the population of that metropolis is under 28,000.
So I offer you, the WSU fan, a rare look at your new head football coach, Paul Wulff.
Wulff, hired last spring to replace departed Bill Doba, has his hands full, as the program was handed NCAA sanctions, including loss of scholarships, following the teams inability to meet academic guidelines. Wulff inherits a team with off-field problems, including one player, safety Xavier Hicks, who was arrested less than an hour after leaving jail following a 45-day sentence.
And I’m here to tell you: worry not. All is well in Wulff-ville.
I covered Paul Wulff for four years during his tenure as Eastern Washington University’s head man. Hell, I even took a class from the man (Coaching Football, by the way). I’d like to be able to say I knew him as well as anybody not on the EWU football team.
Which is why I’m confident he’ll turn WSU around.
As a reporter, doing your first interview is nerve-racking. You’re nervous, hoping not to stumble and ask a stupid question (there is such a thing, by the way).
For my first-ever assignment, I was to write a profile on an Oregon State running back who transferred to Eastern and what his impact would be on the team.
So I grabbed my notebook, my tape recorder, my pen and what self-confidence I could muster, and headed out to the football practice field. First interview: Paul Wulff.
And guess what? The guy was great. Answered all of my questions and more, and the best part was he didn’t treat me like I was a student, or a burden, or a bother. My first experience with Wulff was a success: this guy was a heck of a coach and a person.
In four years, I never saw Paul Wulff treat any reporter, player, EWU faculty member, booster or football fan with disrespect. Even after a tough loss, and believe me, there were some tough ones, Wulff was Wulff.
Guess what else I never saw? Major discipline problems with the Eastern football teams. Not once in four years did I ever about a player getting arrested or causing problems off the field.
Wulff is already implementing one of his tactics at WSU: the Unity Council. Consisting of a group of select players, the Unity Council handles player discipline and problems, and suggests proper punishment to Wulff.
Eastern’s loss is Washington State’s gain. Not only are they getting a great coach (check out his record at Eastern), but also a coach with integrity.
How many times do you hear the phrase “I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about (insert name)”? Well in this case, I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about Paul Wulff.
Thanks to Wulff, I’m now an experienced interviewer. And thanks to his class, I’m now qualified to coach pee-wee football.
Trust me WSU football fans. You’ll be just fine.
Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at email@example.com.