PULLMAN — Paul Wulff is still the coach at Washington State — for now.
Athletic Director Bill Moos issued a statement Sunday night that discussions with Wulff about his future and that of the Cougars’ program are ongoing.
The statement from Moos came after a 90-minute meeting with Wulff on Sunday evening and after The Seattle Times reported late Saturday night, citing unidentified sources, that barring a last-minute change Wulff would not return. The report hit shortly after the Cougars’ 38-21 loss to rival Washington in the Apple Cup.
“Paul and I met for an hour and a half this afternoon so I could hear his assessment of the season and where he would like to take the program from here,” Moos said in the statement. “Our discussions will be ongoing.”
The statement came after Wulff’s regular Sunday night conference call with reporters was canceled.
Sources in the WSU athletic department said the two would meet again today. Neither Moos nor Wulff were available for comment, despite numerous messages.
The Cougars finished 4-8 this season after losing to the Huskies and Wulff is 9-40 in his four seasons at Washington State, 4-32 in Pac-12 Conference play.
His contract has a five-year term, though just the first three years were guaranteed. At the end of that time, he was always guaranteed one-year’s severance if he were let go before the end of the five years.
Under the terms of that agreement, Wulff would be paid $600,000 either in a lump sum or in monthly payments if he’s not retained.
Going into the season, Moos said he would not put a number on wins in deciding Wulff’s future. The decision, he said, would be based upon whether he saw progress in the program.
The Cougars doubled their win total this season and twice lost by three points, including a 30-27 loss to Utah on Nov. 19 that ended any postseason hopes.
Wulff said after the loss to Washington that he liked the direction of his young football team.
“Our program has come a long way. I’m very proud of where we’re at. We’re right on the cusp of being really, really good,” Wulff said. “Not a lot of teams can start three different quarterbacks in a season and still be in a position to be bowl eligible going into the end of the season. Looking around I’m very proud of what this team did under the circumstances with our quarterback situation, which is such a key role for a football team.”
Wulff signed a five-year contract when he took over the Cougars in 2008, returning to the Palouse after a successful stint at nearby Eastern Washington. He inherited a program that was gutted by poor recruiting, off-field problems and academic sanctions that led to scholarship reductions. Washington State has progressively become more competitive, but the wins haven’t arrived, irritating the Cougars’ fan base.
“I think we’ve done a hell of a job recruiting great young kids and our football program has a bright future,” Wulff said. “That’s my job and I’ve been doing that. This team has got a bright future.”