On Saturday night, I went to talk to WSU football coach Paul Wulff at a university athletic fundraiser at Richland's Red Lion Hotel. This was significant for me because it was the first in-person interview I'd ever done for my job. I've spent almost six years as a sports desk editor, which means staying inside and putting together the paper while other people go out to conduct interviews and attend games. At this job, however, I've had to talk to people who don't work in the building with me. If you're a high school basketball, wrestling or football coach, you might have talked to me a few times this season when calling in a score. (Apologies if I sounded a little — or a lot — "duh.")
I never thought my first in-person interview would be with a major college football coach. Heck, for most of my career, I didn't think I'd interview anyone, but here I am.
Interviewing someone in person is WAAAAAAAAY different than talking to someone on the phone. Callers don't see you fumbling over your words, trying to come up with something to ask. And though I've gotten up to speed on WSU football since moving back to Washington a few months ago, I worried I'd forget everything I'd want to know and sound like a complete gasbag in front of Wulff. Luckily, Wulff was patient and answered my questions, even if I might have asked the same one once or twice.
One of the themes of Wulff's tenure has been giving the Cougs time to jell and figure themselves out.
"To get to X, Y, Z, you don't skip B, C, D, E, F, G. You gotta get through all the letters to get there," he told me.
I suppose that's something to remember the next time I go out and interview someone. Don't expect success overnight. Just keep grinding and working at it.
In the next day or two, I'll post more from my interview with Wulff. In the meantime, enjoy the Super Bowl, folks.