washington state blog

WSU Football: Is Coach Paul Wulff’s Future in doubt?

Put me in Coach!?

A little over a week ago, a colleague of mine wrote a piece describing how the Cougar fan base is divided on the subject over head coach Paul Wulff’s coaching future at Washington St.

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While I did agree with some of the things he said, I do not believe he completely captured the spirit of the message he was trying to convey.

I do not believe our fan base is divided, but I do believe we have a vast difference of opinion when it comes to Paul Wulff’s coaching present and future.

I believe Paul Wulff came to Pullman at the wrong time.

The team was coming of a 15-20 from the previous three seasons. The talent base was non-existent, and the culture on campus was that of a lax attitude that reflected the attitude of former head coach Bill Doba. It was a far cry from winning culture Mike Price had instilled from his Rose Bowl team just five seasons earlier.

How does that happen anyway? How does a team go from playing in a Rose Bowl to just five seasons later beginning one of the worst stretches in major college football history?

It starts and ends with recruiting. Bill Doba’s legacy was that of a lazy, uninterested recruiter. Someone not dedicated enough to compete against other Pac-10 schools.

Remember now, during the heart of Bill Doba’s coaching tenure, the Washington Huskies were a battered and crippled program. Bill Doba had the in-state recruiting advantage. He easily could’ve taken the Cougars to a whole new level in terms of recruiting, but as we all know, that wasn’t how it played out.

A breakdown of Bill Doba’s recruiting classes from 2005-2007:

During this three year period, Bill Doba received a total 73 verbal commitments that had a star rating. Washington State out recruited C-USA, MWC, WAC, and D-1AA schools for 55 of those recruits.

Only 18  times over those three seasons (6 recruits per season) did WSU out recruit another Pac-10 school for a recruits services.

Paul Wulff

We have seen the best of Paul Wulff's Cougars Program!

Most Washington State fans easily point the finger directly at Bill Doba’s lack of recruiting Pac-10 talent as being the direct result of Paul Wulff’s 3-22 record over his first two seasons.

While there is some merits to that argument, it doesn’t even begin to paint the entire picture.

Consistently recruiting at a high level was supposed to be the main focus for Paul Wulff and his coaching staff when they arrived on campus. The goal was to improve the talent base. While Wulff’s team has improved, it is in the area of recruiting where Paul Wulff has not done the job most Cougars believe.

A breakdown of Paul Wulff’s recruiting classes from 2008-2011:

During this four year period, Paul Wulff has received a total of 101 verbal commitments that had a star rating. Washington State out recruited C-USA, MWC, WAC, and D-1AA schools for 78 of those recruits.

Only 21 times over four seasons (5 recruits per season) did Washington St. out recruit other pac-10/12 schools for a recruits services.

You cannot expect to have consistent success at this level when your not even recruiting at this level.

Whether or not you believe that Paul Wulff has done a good job in recruiting, the fact remains, he is recruiting at the same level as former head coach Bill Doba.

This isn’t a knock on Paul Wulff.

I just think we have seen the best of what a Paul Wulff will bring to the WSU Cougars program. He is the guy that will be credited for rebuilding the foundation of our program, but he will never be the guy to take us where we want to go.

Competing for conference titles and winning a national championship should be our primary goal.

Obviously you have to start from square one, but consider this. There has never been a coach in major college football history that posted a winning percentage under .350% (Paul Wulff’s is at .228%) to ever take his team to a bowl game.

Paul Wulff is fighting a losing battle.

With the increased television revenue brought in by the conference expansion, Washington State will have the financial resources to finally bring in a head coach that can instantly bring credibility for the school, and bring the recruiting clout needed to consistently compete for Pac-12 talent.

In 33 years since 1978 the Cougars have posted 21 losing seasons compared to 11 winning seasons.

We have appeared in only 8 bowl games during that time frame.

A change of culture is long overdue. We cannot keep using the same excuses for our program for the same results.

We must demand as a fan base a winning culture that we deserve. I’m tired of being the butt-end of jokes, and have to hear the phrase “Coug’n it”. I’m tired of playing second fiddle to the University of Washington.

We have been through too much for too long to put up with the same results, year after year.

It’s time for all Cougars to say enough is enough. We want to win..NOW   

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  • Kshell

    The Huskies won the Rose Bowl in 2000. By 2004 we were going 1 -10 and on the way to six straight losing seasons. Takes forever to build a program up but takes little time to destroy your program with a bad hire or two.

    • Insider Steve

      Doba was WSU’s Willingham. Although we didn’t get the Willingham results until Wulff’s first two seasons on campus. You point is valid though

  • Anonymous

    Wulff should not be in hot water. Hes an alum, building a program that was left in shambles from a bad hire and he’s doing it the right way. Sure its taking time, but like recruiting, its hard to get quality to goto pullman. When the program takes a step back, then, you can start asking this question

    • Insider Steve

      It’s understandable. I believe that we have seen the best of what Wulff has to offer in regards of recruiting. His team is vastly talented from what he inherited, but the fact remains though, he is still recruiting on the same talent level as Doba. The talent maybe better, but you cannot consistently compete at the Pac-12 level if your not recruiting at the Pac-12 level. 

      • Karl F Schmidt

        Steve, I’d be curious for you to research what the star rating and competition was for all the players the made up the 3 10 wins teams that Price put together. You will never find WSU competing with uSC for recruits unless WSU found them first. It is what you do with players once you get them not the program. Price was a master at coaching up players.

        Example 1 Marcus Trufant. No pac12 offers other than WSU. Pro bowler in NFL

        Example 2. Corey Winthrow. Walk- on at WSU. 9 years in NFL

        Difference with Wulff is that he has recruited lower level talent and hasnt done much to make them better

      • Karl F Schmidt

        Steve, I’d be curious for you to research what the star rating and competition was for all the players the made up the 3 10 wins teams that Price put together. You will never find WSU competing with uSC for recruits unless WSU found them first. It is what you do with players once you get them not the program. Price was a master at coaching up players.

        Example 1 Marcus Trufant. No pac12 offers other than WSU. Pro bowler in NFL

        Example 2. Corey Winthrow. Walk- on at WSU. 9 years in NFL

        Difference with Wulff is that he has recruited lower level talent and hasnt done much to make them better

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