How do you fix the football program at Washington? The first thing that comes to mind is firing the head coach is like putting a band-aid on a severed aorta if other key changes are not made.
The most important hire is going to be the new athletic director. I have plenty of respect for interim AD Scott Woodward but Washington needs to hire someone that has been doing the job for twenty years and comes from a championship football background. Prior football coaching experience should be required because you want someone that understands the game as well as the head coach they end up hiring to replace Tyrone Willingham.
UTEP athletic director Bob Stull is the guy I would hire if I was Mark Emmert. Everyone knows he wants the job but the only thing holding him back is that he isn't 50 years old anymore. UW needs to set that aside and hire him. If there is anyone who can restore the culture that once was Washington it is someone who was on the team when that culture was thriving.
While at Washington Stull coordinated the development and fund-raising areas for the UW Athletic Department. He knows the boosters, they all trust him, and he knows how to raise money. He understands what the program once was under Mike Lude, and Don James. Most importantly he understands the game of football. Washington has not had an AD that understands football since the days of Mike Lude.
When Stull arrived in El Paso ten years ago the Miners were way behind the proverbial eight ball. What he has done since he has been there has been nothing short of miraculous when you consider the level UTEP competes in.
The $11 million, 65,000-square foot Larry K. Durham Sports Center opened in 2002 and features a 10,000-square foot strength and conditioning center; a sports medicine center; a student-athlete lounge and computer center; a football locker room; football coaches' offices; football positional meeting rooms; and a "Hall of Champions" which is utilized for numerous athletic department functions.
In 2005 construction was completed on the state-of-the-art, $2.2 million Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
The $13.3 million, 43,000-square foot Foster and Stevens Basketball Complex will open in October, 2008.
Renovations have also been performed on all exisiting facilities in addition to the new construction listed here.
Stull's plan to increase attendance at football games included adjusting ticket prices and introducing Miner Town to attract more families to the Sun Bowl. Miner Town was created to enrichen the pre-game activity surrounding each football game, with food, games, rides and other entertainment for the entire family.
UTEP set school records for football total home attendance (287,394) and average (47,899) during the 2005 season. The Miners again led Conference USA in attendance average in 2006 (42,444). The men's basketball team has played before 18 sellout crowds of 12,000 since 2004, and women's basketball set a school record with an audience of 7,212 for the Memphis game in 2007.
Name one other potential hire out there that has these type of credentials and is interested in the job?
Bob Stull is the smart hire for Washington if the UW administration is serious about changing the culture of the athletic department and producing championship football teams again.