PULLMAN – Jim Walden, whose opinionated style defined his 11-year tenure as Washington State’s color commentator for football broadcasts, will not return to the booth in 2012.
Walden, 74, was notified of the change via letter by WSU athletic director Bill Moos, who said an announcement from the school about a new format for football broadcasts is expected early next week.
“Jim Walden and I have been friends for over 30 years and continue to be friends,” Moos told The Spokesman-Review. “I just thought we needed a fresh approach. Basically everything having to do with Cougar football is being revamped, from uniforms to the stadium to the coach to our replay boards to our marketing – everything – and the changes in the radio broadcast format is just a part of it.”
Moos declined to detail the format changes until they are announced on Monday, but said that long-time play-by-play man Bob Robertson, who is entering his 46th season in the booth, will still be involved.
Attempts to reach Walden were unsuccessful.
Walden, who coached the Cougars from 1978 through 1986, was a staunch supporter of former coach Paul Wulff and was adamant toward the end of the 2011 season that Wulff deserved to keep his job.
Walden’s opinions didn’t sit well with many Cougars fans who believed Wulff should have been fired. Others also criticized his on-air style as lacking insight, although Moos said Walden’s removal from the broadcast booth was simply because of a need for a new direction.
“There’s no better Cougar than Jim Walden,” said Moos, adding that he chose to notify Walden in a letter because both parties were dealing with hectic travel schedules this week. “His heart is crimson and gray and he speaks how he feels, and that’s fine. I just thought we needed something that was fresh and with what we’re doing.”
Moos said that while Robertson may eventually move into a different role, he “will be a part of Cougar football in one fashion or another as long as I’m in the chair.
“As for now, as long as he wants to, he still assumes his role as the play-by-play man.”