We need to swallow the Cougar Pride and let Wulff go
I’ve been a long-time supporter of the idea of Paul Wulff.
He’s an alum. He’s a fighter. He’s a guy who bleeds crimson and gray.
It’s an amazing thing, the idea of a head coach who understands what it means to be a Coug, who knows what life is like as a student-athlete in Pullman and who considers his job the best job in the land.
Unfortunately, while all the above are nice, there’s something missing: Winning.
Paul Wulff’s Cougars were blown out on Saturday by an Oregon State team that entered the game with a 1-5 record. (AP)
Most Cougar alums give Paul Wulff a big break because they too are in love with the idea. For any fan out there who’s on the fence about the coach, ask yourself this question: “If Paul Wulff wasn’t a Coug, would I still support him?”
Honestly, if Paul Wulff was just some dude who played for Temple in the late ’80s, he would’ve been sent packing at the end of last season, if not at the end of the season prior.
Wulff’s history and his love for the school has earned him more than just a chance, it’s earned him the benefit of the doubt. Cougs are like that. We are fond of saying that people will never understand what it is to be a Coug unless you are one. It’s something special and it’s what sets us apart. Unfortunately, our faith in each other is sometimes blind.
On Saturday, myself and many others finally accepted what we’ve long hoped wasn’t true — Paul Wulff isn’t the right guy for this job.
There’s no need for me to go in to the painful numbers of the three and a half years. All you have to do is look at Saturday night’s numbers and then consider that it has, indeed, been three and a half years since this project started.
A team at this stage of a rebuilding project does not get throttled 44-21 to a team fielding what is essentially their second-string defense (and whose first-string defense isn’t all that great, either). A team three and a half years in to a rebuild does not give up 551 yards of offense and 8.1 yards per play to a 1-5 team. I can very easily continue this argument but for the sake of time and sanity we’ll leave it at that.
I will safely say that the kindness and camaraderie of the Cougar Faithful has allowed this project to go on longer than any major college program would’ve allowed. No one can say that we are not a hopeful bunch, us Cougs.
Now the writing is on the wall, literally. Look at the facilities, look at the marketing, look at the transformation that Pullman is under right now. Behind the collective direction, drive and imagination of Bill Moos and Elson Floyd, WSU Athletics is finally moving away from the “woe is me” mantra that has overwhelmed Cougar sports since the beginning of time. These two men are leading this school and the Athletic Department in to uncharted territory, taking risks, spending money, demanding more from everyone, and I can’t imagine that such a bold force is inclined to make an exception for the coach of the football program — the “front porch of the University.”
I love Bill Moos because he believes what I’ve long believed (and I know that I’m not alone), that this school doesn’t have to be “the little school that could.” We don’t have to be the poor program who doesn’t have what the big boys have. We don’t have to say “aw shucks, we can’t go and hire a big coach ’cause we don’t have the money and he’ll just leave if he wins” (this is something I didn’t make up — I hear this CONSTANTLY from Cougar fans and it drives me nuts). Bill Moos and Elson Floyd will find the money. If they have to knock on the door of every WSU alum on earth, I’m sure they’ll do it. And when they’ve got it, they’ll spend it.
Three years ago, this program was miserable. Today, it’s far better. Paul Wulff started with nothing, worked his rear end off and set a nice foundation. For whatever reason, he can’t get it done on the field. Now, it’s time for a new coach to bring us to the next level.
I have no inside information. I have no knowledge of whispers in the hallways of Bohler. All I know is what I see in front of me, and that is clear — there is a plan in place to move this University’s athletics to a higher level, and on Saturday, in year four of this coaching regime, the team was blown out by a 1-5 Oregon State squad.
I simply don’t see how that fits in the plan.
Coach Wulff is a Coug and forever will be. Despite the record I think Cougs will always admire the fact that he was given a very tough task and that he set the table for success. But this is where it should come to an end. As Cougs, we need to admit that the idea of Paul Wulff was one thing, but the painful reality is another.