Patience is not one of my virtues. In fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would classify me as a patient person.
As a die-hard, bleeds-crimson Washington State University alumna, you can imagine the trial my patience has been under for the last few football seasons.
To put this trial of patience in perspective, I arrived at WSU as a transfer student in the fall of 2001. I began, and ended, my college experience with three 10-win seasons, three trips to bowl games, and one heck of a great homecoming overtime win against USC 30-27. There was victory dancing on the field.
My fellow football watchers and I would arrive at Martin Stadium before the gates opened and we’d park ourselves on the 50-yard line, four rows up, rain, shine or snow to see our team play ball.
Fast-forward to the beginning of the 2010 season, not the most notable start in WSU history and the first beginnings of much grumbling about the quality of the current coaching staff.
I have been an avid football watcher for a good chunk of my life and have observed all sorts of coaching staffs: Tom O’Brien and his crew at Boston College, Lou Holtz and company at Notre Dame, Lloyd Carr and staff at the University of Michigan, Mike Price, Bill Doba and their respective coaching staffs at WSU.
All of those coaches and their staffs had success in their programs but none of them started out with the perfect team in their first game, their first season, even their first few seasons. Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, and to a certain extent, Boston College have always enjoyed their past history as a way to recruit some of the finest high school players in the country.
Washington State University has not had that same advantage despite producing a string of talented and successful players that have included Jack Thompson, Drew Bledsoe, Timm Rosenbach, Rien Long, Michael Bumpus, Jason David, Karl Paymah, Mark Rypien, Marcus Trufant and so on.
Recruiting, and patience, are the names of the game in college football. Having access to great players that fit into a specific system, getting those players to grasp that system and believe that it can create wins, and developing a network to help bring another round of great players is difficult in the best of circumstances.
The current coaching staff, and team, have an abysmal record hanging over their heads.
As a alumna, I am eager to see that record improve. But, as an observer of the game, I understand that until things gel just so, no team is as good as it could be.
So, for those that have been grumbling about needing a change in the coaching staff, I urge you to remember that it took Mike Price many years of disappointment to end his tenure at WSU with back-to-back 10-win seasons, and in 14 years, he still finished his career just a shade above .500 going 83-78.
I say, give Paul Wulff time to work with what he’s got. I say, be content to see the Cougs improve with each successive game.
I say, have patience.
Pam Robel is the paginator for the Columbia Basin Herald. She is taunted by her editor commenting on how coaching changes for his beloved Seattle Seahawks have made them better.