The Washington State Cougars came to Kennewick on Friday for the 18th annual Tri-Cities Cougar Tailgate party at the Southridge Athletic Complex to celebrate the Cougs and raise some money.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos says the continued push for better facilities is paying off.
“I’m really pleased with the strides we’re making to give ourselves a competitive mode,” Moos said. “We’re currently working on an indoor practice facility and the baseball clubhouse. We’ve also been given clearance to start phase two of the soccer field. That’ll be the grandstand and press box.”
But that will start after soccer season is done this fall.
First on the agenda for Moos, though, is hiring a new baseball coach.
Moos fired Donnie Marbut on Monday.
“I feel we have a lot going for us attracting a first-rate baseball coach,” Moos said. “We can win at WSU on a consistent basis. I’ve heard from a number of coaches who are interested in WSU. We’re trying to move as fast as we can.
‘There is a great anxiety among our players about who their next coach will be. So it’s important to move as fast as we can.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars will honor a former baseball coach at 1:30 p.m. today at Bohler Gym in a celebration of Bobo Brayton, who died March 28 at the age of 89.
“We’re expecting a great turnout,” Moos said. “We expect a lot of his former players will come back. I think it’s also fitting to have it in Bohler Gym, where Bobo had his office for 30 years.”
• Cougars football coach Mike Leach said he thought spring football went well.
“One thing is certain is that we have continuity because we have everybody back,” Leach said. “We definitely had a good offseason as far as the players getting their work in. So I feel good about it. The biggest thing is having everybody pull in the same direction.”
• For men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent, the 13-18 record the Cougars had in his first season may not have been outstanding, but remember Moos hired Kent in April 2014.
That gave the coach a late start in recruiting.
“I’ll rate it this way: No. 1, did we have a winning record? And No. 2, did we make the postseason?” Kent said.
Off the court, the Cougars had two players, Josh Hawkinson and Junior Longrus, named to the second team of the Pac-12 All-Academic team.
“We had seven players graduate,” Kent said. “Four from coach (Ken) Bone’s team and three more from this season’s team. I took a full year to evaluate the team. Now you calculate.”
Then Kent went out and signed seven players to letters of intent.
“I think we got a lot done in the first year,” he said.
“I’m just impressed with what Ernie got out of the players he inherited,” Moos said. “The community has embraced Ernie. His compassion is second to none. And he has his own blueprint in running a program, as does Mike Leach.”