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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘We’re gonna thrive’: WSU coach Dickert preaches confidence amid realignment

PULLMAN – If nothing else, Jake Dickert remains unafraid to speak up.

That’s become clear across the past week, when Washington State’s head coach has preached courage and patience amid the Pac-12’s dismantling, and it surfaced again on Tuesday morning, when after practice Dickert said the Cougars will be a “flagship program in whatever conference that is.”

After practice, the Cougars’ first session in full pads, Dickert addressed WSU’s place in conference realignment for the second time in his last three media availabilities.

“Washington State, for over 100 years, (has been) forged in the fire. I think that’s a great way of putting it,” Dickert said. “We went through a lot of situations. We’ve navigated a lot of different things. Look at my tenure here. Washington State’s gonna thrive.

“In the last five full seasons, we have the fourth-best overall record in the Pac 12, of the 12 members that were here. Wherever we go, we’re gonna be a flagship institution of whatever conference that is. Pat (Chun, athletic director) and president (Kirk) Schultz are gonna take care of whatever the next phase of Washington State football looks like.

“My job is to still find the diamonds in the rough, the guys that have a chip on their shoulder. Recruiting’s not gonna change. I know our conference changes. And I know 247 (Sports) people say, ‘Oh … we’re gonna do it our way, and we’re gonna thrive, and we’re gonna win games.’ So we’ve done a lot of great things here, and we’re gonna continue to do those things.

“I’m beyond excited to represent Washington State in this new phase of where we’re going. I know there’s uncertainty. But my job right now is faith, trust and belief. And when I tell these guys about it, and I show these guys and replicate what that means, they come out here and attack it. That’s the same thing I’m doing, our staff’s doing. The Cougs are gonna make it. Cougs vs. everybody.”

That’s in addition to comments from Schulz, who released a statement on Monday to write, among other things, he was “shocked” to hear the news of the Pac-12’s defections.

Washington State, one of four remaining members of the Pac-12, appears in a tough spot. The Cougars haven’t received an invite to the Big Ten or the Big 12, where the other eight conference members have left for, and the conference cannot stand with only four members.

That makes the Cougars’ place in college sports uncertain. Will they join another conference? Join up with the Mountain West in some way? Go independent? Only time will tell.