SBD/October 16, 2017/Colleges

Nebraska Makes Surprising Hire In Selecting Washington State's Bill Moos As New AD



Moos agreed to a five-year deal at Nebraska with a $1M base annual salary
Nebraska yesterday introduced Washington State AD Bill Moos, the "dean of Pac-12 athletic directors," as its new AD, replacing the fired Shawn Eichorst, according to Rich Kaipust of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. Moos had served as WSU AD since '10. Moos said that he "connected with Nebraska leadership" during the hiring process, naming NU Chancellor Ronnie Green and President Hank Bounds. He came out of one meeting telling Turnkey Search Managing Dir Gene DeFilippo: "I could, and I would, really like to work for these people." Eichorst was fired on Sept. 21, and former NFLer and NU alum Dave Rimington has "filled the void since being named" interim AD (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 10/16). In Lincoln, Parker Gabriel reports Moos "agreed to a five-year contract with a base annual salary" of $1M, plus "incentives that could add another $500,000 per year, and will start officially on Oct. 23." Green said, "When we met Bill Moos, when we talked to him, it was so apparent that the fit to Nebraska was right." NU "narrowed down the candidate list to a 'handful' of finalists interviewed in person." Green said that Moos was the school's "top choice" (LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, 10/16). The AP's Eric Olson wrote Moos' first task will be to "decide whether to retain" football coach Mike Riley. Riley is 18-15 in three years but has "lost eight of his past 13 games." Moos has "hired 11 head coaches across all sports at WSU." Moos also has overseen a $130M football facilities makeover that "included an addition to Martin Stadium." And he played a "key role" in helping the Pac-12 secure a 12-year, $3B TV contract with Fox and ESPN (AP, 10/15).

GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION: In Lincoln, Steven Sipple writes Moos is an "intriguing hire, and certainly a surprising one." Nobody "saw it coming, not even 'industry insiders.'" Moos made an "excellent first impression." He "certainly fits the profile" that Bounds and Green "desired -- a Power Five AD with ample experience in that role, someone who's made high-profile hires" (LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, 10/16). In Omaha, Lee Barfknecht in a front-page piece writes the national media yesterday "were in shock." Moos spoke "confidently, conversationally and correctly about Nebraska athletic history." He "won the press conference with the following comment about the 'hunted' and the 'hunters' in college football." Moos said, "Nebraska for years has been the hunted. We're not right now, but we need to get back to that position where everybody is circling Nebraska on the schedule" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 10/16). Also in Omaha, Tom Shatel writes as most NU AD introductions have gone, this one "went well." Moos came off "polished and experienced, smart and real and good." Shatel: "Ultimately, the Moos era at NU will come down to two F's. Fit. Football" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 10/16). NU coaches said that they were "impressed by Moos." They added that he "seemed like the right fit" and that he is "personable" (LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, 10/16).

UNEXPECTED DEPARTURE: In Spokane, Theo Lawson in a front-page piece writes the WSU community was "nothing short of stunned" upon hearing the news of Moos leaving. Moos' "big spending" put the school in a $10.6M hole, but that "never did seem to outweigh the contributions he made." And at "no point did it ever seem like Moos was itching to leave." WSU President Kirk Schulz in a statement said that the school will "begin its hunt for a new AD immediately." WSU "intends to fill the void temporarily and will have an interim AD in place 'early next week.'" Lawson notes Schulz today will "announce the membership of a search committee that WSU will employ to find its new AD." The school also "plans to hire an executive search firm to aid in the selection process." While enhancing WSU's facilities, Moos "emptied the school's athletic budget, which made a portion of the fan base leery of his financial strategy." Moos' biggest project -- a "lavish football operations building" that was constructed in '14 -- cost the school $61M. Moos also "spearheaded improvements to the school's soccer field, and WSU has already sketched out blueprints for a baseball clubhouse." WSU "ran its deficit" to $10M during the last FY. But Moos "did knock his football hire out of the park" with Mike Leach (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 10/16). In Seattle, Stefanie Loh cites a source as saying that WSU officials, including Schulz, were "blindsided by Moos' departure." Schulz "apparently found out about it on Twitter Sunday morning" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/16).
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