PULLMAN – Washington State’s new athletic director won’t have to bring a football program back to life, but he or she will be asked to sustain the success that Bill Moos generated during his seven years at the helm.
Depending on who you ask, that could be even more of a burden.
The first responsibility for that person will be to retain Mike Leach, the sixth-year football coach who could be courted by a number of Power Five programs – and don’t leave out the NFL – if the 15th-ranked Cougars continue to win games at the rate they are right now.
The WSU AD will have to monitor the men’s basketball program, which hasn’t taken many positive steps under fourth-year coach Ernie Kent, and help the university dig out of a $10.6 million deficit that Moos built while renovating football and soccer facilities to make sure the Cougars stayed on the cutting edge of college athletics.
Kirk Schulz will have an interim AD in place as soon as next week and the WSU President affirmed in a news release Sunday afternoon the school would begin looking for Moos’ full-time replacement ASAP.
Who will Schulz hire? Here are four wild, but slightly-educated guesses.
Current job: Senior Associate Athletic Director at Washington State
Why him? Don’t be surprised if Marlow is the guy who Schulz pegs to take Moos’ spot in the short-term, and also in the long-term. He’s been second in command to Moos since he arrived in Pullman seven years ago and has watched the former Washington State AD hone his craft at three different places: Montana, Oregon and WSU. Marlow bleeds crimson – he’s a 1990 graduate of WSU – and knows the Palouse well, having spent three years as an assistant AD at Idaho, where he oversaw annual athletic scholarship donations, major gifts, sports budget donations, donor ticketing and supervision of regional development office structure. Marlow’s background in fundraising, and finances in general, could be a big coup for WSU.
Current job: Athletic Director at Colorado State
Why him? In a 2016 article from The Coloradoan, a Colorado State volleyball coach was quoted calling Parker “a Zen master.” Not sold yet? Parker has the facilities thing down pat and recently oversaw the construction of CSU’s sparkling new football stadium, which seats 41,000. Parker was a deputy AD at Washington State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, and spent time as an associate AD at Michigan, where he went to school and swam for the Wolverines. In Fort Collins, he was also responsible for signing a multi-year deal with Under Armour and grew CSU’s brand by extending the school’s partnership with Learfield Sports.
Current job: Athletic Director at Fresno State
Why him? The 52-year-old Bartko is currently an AD in the Mountain West Conference, but his roots are in the Pac-12 and his diploma is from the school in Pullman. After graduating from WSU, Bartko spent almost a decade at Oregon where he was both the assistant AD and the associate AD. In between, he spent two years as the associate AD at Oregon. Fundraising is in Bartko’s background. He was behind a handful of the major facility projects and capital improvements at Oregon and was the lead supervisor when UO erected its palatial basketball venue, Matthew Knight Arena.
Current job: Athletic Director at Oregon State
Why him? This is our not-as-educated, wild and slightly outlandish guess. For one, Barnes has possibly the least desirable Power Five AD job right now. Last week, Oregon State parted ways with Gary Andersen in one of the most awkward divorces college football has seen in the last decade. Barnes is now tasked with making a new hire and, boy, wouldn’t it sure be nice to just slide into the job at WSU, where a winning culture has already been established and you maybe have to peek your head in every few weeks? Barnes also helped turn Utah State’s football program into a winner while he was the AD in Logan – interestingly enough by hiring Andersen – and had previous stints at Washington, where he was the senior associate AD, and Eastern Washington, where he was the AD. The Spokane native, who was also the AD at Pitt for two years, might fancy a return home.