Transcript: Bill Moos press conference

Categories: 2017 Football

University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green

Opening Statement

“Good afternoon and welcome to Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska. It is a great day to be in Nebraska and a great day we believe for our University and for Husker Athletics. As you know, earlier this afternoon we made the announcement that Bill Moos would become our next athletics director for Nebraska Athletics beginning on October the 23rd. A week from tomorrow officially. You certainly have seen the basic background and accomplishments of our new athletic director, so I won’t belabor those here today with you. It is safe to say that Bill comes with a reputation for excellence, comes with a reputation for competitiveness, comes with a reputation for balance in an athletics program from his tenure at Washington State and his tenure at the University of Oregon and from his tenure at the University of Montana. We couldn’t be more happy to be welcoming he and Kendra, his wife, who we are very glad is here with us today and eventually his extended family to join us here at Nebraska. I’m going to let Bill do most of the talking here this afternoon, because we want you to get an opportunity to meet and get to know him. But first I want to say a word of thanks to our Interim Athletic Director Dave Rimington, who is seated over here to my left. Dave took a big risk coming here. He had to leave his established work at the Boomer Esiason Foundation. He had to leave for the most part his wife Lisa and their four children in New York. They’ve had the pleasure of being here this weekend. They will join Dave here for the next few days. Dave was willing, without hesitation, to step up, come back to his alma mater, give back to Husker Athletics in a way to help us during this interim period. Dave, we couldn’t be more appreciative for that and for what you’ve done over these recent weeks. Please give Mr. Dave Rimington a round of applause.

When you talk about passion and commitment, those are two words that we certainly use to describe our new athletic director. I want to talk with you just a little bit about the process that we used in this selection. It’s important for you to know in many respects. First of all, immediately after the September 21st announcement of a chance in athletics leadership, we went to work to identify one of the top search consulting firms in the world of collegiate athletics, and we were so pleased for the opportunity to work in this process with Turnkey and Gene DeFilippo in particular in that team and helping guide us through this process to a very successful result. We also pulled together a group of 20 individuals on that Sunday following September 21st to talk with us, let us listen to them about the profile we were looking for in our next athletic director. The search firm was there listening and taking notes through that process. That group of 20 individuals included current student-athletes, former student-athletes, current and former coaches, current and former athletics administration here at the University and certainly supporters of the University and our athletics programs. That was a pivotal and important part of our process to really identify the key traits and attributes we were looking for in the next leadership for our athletic director. We thank those individuals for their willingness to step up and serve in that way for us. Our process was very extensive. We went to work immediately after that. The search firm also met with all of our head coaches and also met with all of our senior athletic administration leadership for that same kind of process as we got to work. We vetted a very long and very highly qualified list of candidates for this position. I can’t overemphasize to you how humbling and how wonderful it was for us as administrators, for President Bounds who is here today, and was part of this process pivotally, and for myself to fully understand the position and prestige that Husker Athletics has nationally. The history, the tradition, the competitive nature of our Husker Athletics, the success academically of our Husker Athletics program, the financial position and infrastructure we have here to be successful was very evident from the individuals we vetted who were interested and wanted to look at this position seriously with us. We narrowed that list to a handful of finalists who we interviewed personally for the position and we selected our top candidate from that list and we were very pleased that it was Mr. Bill Moos. I’m going to introduce to you now and give you an opportunity to hear from our new athletic director at the University of Nebraska, Mr. Bill Moos.”

 

Athletic Director Bill Moos

“Thank you. I want to first thank Chancellor Green and President Bounds for giving me this honor. I really feel it’s an honor to be leading Husker Athletics. I really felt that when we visited…can I say where we visited? (Green: “No.”) Ok. See I’m already checking. I wanted to make sure we connected. I remember walking out with the search firm person Gene DeFilippo and saying ‘I could and would really like to work for those gentlemen.’ You read my quotes in the press release I trust. And those were heartfelt, believe me. I wanted to add just a couple other things. One is, it’s always been my view professionally that when someone is looking at another job, that they are either running away from something or running to something. Believe me, I have nothing to run away from. I wholeheartedly wanted to run to this job. From the time I was a small boy on a cattle ranch in Eastern Washington, I always tuned into the Nebraska-Oklahoma game on Thanksgiving weekends. I never missed one. I even did it in college when I was a player myself. A storied, storied athletic program and a very prestigious institution. One of the things I always look for is the academic standards and what is the feelings in regard to their academic accomplishments, and the University of Nebraska has many. There’s a reason that we are in the Big Ten. We are surrounded by like institutions, and not just everybody gets invited to the party. And that was a big part of it. That’s in the prestige of the storied athletic program and also the passionate fan base known throughout the country. Memorial Stadium being sold out since 1962? Honey, you weren’t born yet. Just barely. I was 11 years old. People in my position across the country, and believe me I have a pretty big network – I am the dean of the Pac-12 athletic directors until tomorrow – and my peers there and everything else, when you name the top three, four, five athletic programs in the great positions as an athletic director, Nebraska is in that same breath. We’re excited to be here. I want to touch on just a couple other things. I want you to know that my motto has always been in the 25 years I have been a Division I athletic director and it will be here too is very simple – honor the past, live the present, create the future. We will honor the past. I met Dave (Rimington) here today. He’s another reason why I realize I never played in the NFL. An outstanding athlete – and I just got to know him today – a wonderful human being, and Dave, I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better and spending some time with you. I’ve also had a chance to meet with several alums and people that are very passionate about Husker Athletics. You can feel that. I’m not one that would take a job in an urban environment. I’m a rural boy. I feel like Eastern Washington is so much like the state of Nebraska. Good wholesome people with a great work ethic, down to Earth and love athletics and really love football. With that, I think I’ll take questions because that can take me down some different walkways and I look forward to that.”

 

Chancellor Green: “I just want to add one comment to what you just heard Bill say, and I shared this with our athletics leadership and head coaches earlier this afternoon exactly the same way. Fit for a position is so important. It doesn’t matter if you are in the business world. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a dean of an academic college. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a chancellor of a University. Fit is so important. You look for the skills and the acumen and the ability to deliver on that position, but fit is important. I want to emphasize, knowing Nebraska, fit is extremely important here. Even more so than in a lot of other places. When we met Bill Moos and we talked to him, it was so apparent that the fit to Nebraska was right. And I had a comment made to me, and I’ll leave the source undisclosed earlier today about when you meet Bill and Kendra – as Nebraskans and Nebraska alumni of our University are going to do and our fan base is going to do – it’s almost like they are Nebraskans who have lived somewhere else for all of their life and now they are coming home. I mean that very sincerely. We’re so excited about having them here. We’re so excited about what the future of Husker Athletics is going to look like under Bill’s leadership. As he said, we are going to take a few questions for a time period here that you may have for Bill or I.”

 

On why Nebraska is a good fit for him

Moos: “I did touch a little bit on it. Right now my family is nearly all here. We have five children. Three daughters and two sons who are all out of the house now. We are mobile. We sold our house last summer not in anticipation of coming to Nebraska, but it sure worked out nice because we can get here right away. This is a storied place. When you’ve been in the business as long as I have, and it’s been a long time, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at a couple other places. I want to bring a lot of that mentality to a place where we can be in a position to win championships in every sport. My predecessors through the years have known several of those. They’ve talked about all the great aspects of the University of Nebraska and now I get to experience it for myself. I can’t wait to.”

 

On his impression of Mike Riley and what he wants to see from the Husker football program going forward:

Moos: “I do know Mike Riley. He was at Oregon State when I was at Oregon, so even though we were rivals, I did respect him and the job he did there. I was surprised when he left to come here, but I thought that he should do very, very well. I really haven’t talked much to Mike since he made that move. But, as we speak right now, he’s my football coach, and I’m going to support him. I certainly hope for some victories here towards the latter part of the season. I’m eager to sit down and have a chance to visit with him.”

 

On his process of evaluating an athletic program:

Moos: “I’ve hired 11 head coaches at Washington State, and did that in the first five years. What I replaced them with were quality, proven winners. Most of them at this level who saw Washington State as a destination and not a stepping stone. It had been that for a long time. In the background, we were working very hard to build facilities and provide the resources to help them become successful. First and foremost, when I’m looking for a coach, are they a good teacher? Are they a good individual? Ethically, are they above board and clean? What are their records and what are their ambitions, where they want to go? And do they fit in the community? Not every community is the same. A head coach at USC may not work at Oregon State, so that’s a big part of it, too. If we do go about making changes in whatever sport here, I think that’s probably one of the most important decisions I can make, because they are the ones who are literally in charge on a day-to-day basis with the student-athletes and their well-being.”

 

On why he wanted to take the Nebraska athletic director position at his age:

Moos: “Well, I tried that retirement stuff. When we left Oregon (in 2007), my wife Kendra and I went and built a cattle ranch, and, to be quite frank, for about two years, if I read the sports page, it was the last part of the paper. My focus was not just building that ranch, but my older boy had just signed to play at Arizona State, and I wanted to watch him play, and our younger children, I wanted to be able to coach them in their various sports. I never had that opportunity in all these years in athletics. But I think this is important to point out that after about two years, I really started to miss it. And people ask, ‘Well, what did you miss?’ Sure, I missed the competition. Any of us who actually played the game, and especially at the collegiate level, your pilot light never goes out. It’s begging for fuel and getting that adrenaline up. Dave (Rimington) can tell you, on gameday, there’s no greater thrill. I missed that, but most importantly, I missed the student-athletes. What I missed was the opportunity to have a positive impact on their lives at a critical time, at 18 to 22 and 23, away from home for the first time, developing what kind of adults they’re going to be, and that was the most gratifying part of my job, and still is. For those young people after they’ve left and came back, and come in my office, they’re always invited to come back – that’s honoring the past – they’d say, ‘Mr. Moos, thank you for this wonderful opportunity. When I was being recruited, you told me what to expect and were right on, and the experience that I had, I’ll savor for the rest of my life,’ that’s what I missed. So, I tried that retirement stuff, and Kendra after two years said, ‘You need a job, you better get back at it,’ so we did and we plan to be in this for a long, long time still.”

 

On how he relates to Nebraska Athletics, both externally to fans and the media, and internally to coaches, student-athletes and staff members:

Moos: “Well, with the fans, and may I point out the media as well, I like to make myself accessible. I think the fans and the media, and the fans through the media, need to fully understand what our blueprint is, what our mission is, how we’re gauging our process. That needs to get out, and I’m always eager to do that. Internally, I did meet with the coaches and the senior leadership group. I want to be there to help them and make sure that they have the resources. I think the resources are here, the facilities are here. That hasn’t been the case everywhere I’ve been. The university leadership is outstanding, and the fan base, we talked about that. So, I want them to understand that I’m here for them, I talked about recruiting a little bit, and they have access to me. In a big program like this and the ones that I’ve led, you need to have answers right away, and that comes from developing an organizational chart that can provide those, whether I’m here or not. I use the analogy that the sign of a great restaurant is when the customer doesn’t know if the chef’s in the kitchen. And so, what we will do and what has been proven successful wherever I’ve been is we will build the blueprint of where we’re going, and everybody internally will have ownership of that, and we will follow that blueprint. It’s different everywhere we go, I know it’ll be different here, but [coaches] will be a part of it, and they will know as head coaches that they have access to me, and if I’m not here and if I’m not available, because I want to be around the state taking care of the first part, that they can get answers and it’s going to be consistent with my management style.”

 

On if he attended the Nebraska-Ohio State football game:

Moos: “No, but I watched it.”

 

On where he believes Nebraska currently is in the landscape of college football:

Moos: “The landscape of college football has changed. It’s evolved through the years, and there’s a couple reasons for that. One is scholarship limitations back decades ago, a couple decades, which really started to level the playing field. The other one was equal television revenue distributions. So, the so-called ‘have-nots’ of the old days now can compete a little more with the ‘haves.’ Now, having said that, there’s no substitute for tradition and legacy, and Nebraska certainly has that. What we need to do is make sure that that is polished and back there, and we need to compete in all of our sports. I’m a fierce competitor, and we’ve done, I really think and I can humbly say, some remarkable things at places that didn’t have the things in place like Nebraska does, and I alluded to those earlier. So, I told the coaches earlier and the staff that my expectation in first brush, is that we should be in a position in every sport to compete for championships. Certainly, that will be our goal and that will be a big part of the blueprint that I referred to.”

 

On whether he anticipates the Nebraska job will be more similar to his positions at Oregon or Washington State

Moos: “Well, let me set the record straight just a little bit on that. When I got to Oregon, if money fell off trees, the trees were pretty barren. It [wasn’t] the Oregon you see today. That was in 1995. A lot of things had to be addressed. I felt it needed to be rebranded. We needed to change the culture. We needed to get the building blocks in place to be successful, and it was my responsibility to go out and find those resources. They were not available then. Over the years we did that, and we won 13 Pac-10 – at the time – championships in a variety of sports and started packing the stadium and also our basketball arena. Before you knew it, that culture had changed. It’s very changed now, but I think one of the things I’m most proud of was [in the 2001-02 season] , that Oregon won outright conference championships in the Pac-10 in both football and men’s basketball and won the WNIT national championship in women’s basketball, and you can believe we put a lot of billboards up across the state that celebrated that. Having said that, and I want to really emphasize this, once you do find success, it’s important that there’s a reinvestment in that success, because it’s far different being the hunted than it is being the hunter. And Nebraska for years, and I’m talking about the sport of football, was the hunted, and we’re not right now. We need to get back into that position where everybody’s circling Nebraska on the schedule and [saying] ‘That’s going to be one tough game, whether we’re going to Lincoln or they’re going to our place,’ and I believe that’s the Huskers’ rightful place and we’re going to see what we can do to get back there.”

 

On the internal advisory committee to hire an athletic director:

Green: “Well, certainly we don’t intend for that to be a secret, necessarily. We did want to have some space to have that conversation as we were framing the search, so we did do it quickly and so forth. But we had decorated athletes and former athletes in that group. Eric Crouch was in that group, for example. Jordan Burroughs was in that group. We had current coaches, John Cook and Rhonda Revelle were in that group. We had former coaches. Coach Osborne was in that group. We had supporters, and some of them who are here today who were in that group, so it was that kind of mix of folks.”

 

On current Nebraska student-athletes in the committee:

Green: “We intentionally kind of left football off the equation, because it was the day after a game, but Briana Holman, from the volleyball team was in that group. Levi Gipson, a very outstanding track athlete was in that group.”

 

On similarities and differences between the Big Ten Network and the Pac-12 Network:

Moos: “I think the major difference is that the Pac-12 owns the Pac-12 Network 100 percent, and the Big Ten [Network] is not. They’re partners with Fox. In my time in the Pac-12, we wanted to stay 100 percent in ownership, because we felt that we could dictate programming. Last year, the Pac-12 televised 850 live events. When you’re at somewhat remote places, like Pullman [Wash.] and maybe Corvallis [Ore.], to have that kind of a stage within that footprint is very important, in regards to recruiting and also bringing positive attention to the institution. But, we’ve been unable to secure some of the subscribers, primarily DirecTV, and DirecTV gets a lot of homes. I’m sure that the conference without me will continue to address that, but the exposure aspect, I think, has been so very important. To have every football game for every school, every men’s basketball game, and then on into the Olympic sports all televised live has been very valuable, and I don’t think you can put a price tag on that.”

 

On being quirky Washington State football coach Mike Leach’s athletic director:

Moos: “Well, Mike Leach is a very, very good football coach and he’s proven that in two different conferences. He has a style, and he has a blueprint of his own that’s followed very closely. Mike is a very strict disciplinarian, and he sticks by that, and he’s a brilliant individual. I was telling the chancellor and president when [Moos and Leach] met, that I wanted to go down and meet with him in Key West when I realized that I was going to make a change. And, so you know, there aren’t any direct flights from Pullman, Washington, to Key West, so it took a whole day to get there. We sat down and did our hellos and shook hands and I had everything laid out kind of what I felt the vision should be for our football program, and started to talk about it, and within five minutes, the conversation had switched to Winston Churchill, Geronimo, George S. Patton was in there, snow blowers in Cody, Wyoming, and missing school because of snow days, and I kept trying to get him back on track, and after about three or four hours that we were together, I said, ‘You know, I think this is going to play pretty well in Pullman.’ His style of football, especially the air-raid offense, I felt could entertain our fans. They had been apathetic. We weren’t drawing any people. Again, I had an ambitious schedule of building facilities and such, but that he could entertain the fans while we were building the program, and he’s done a remarkable job. I know he’s been very happy there. And it was a good fit. Once again, he’s from Cody, Wyoming. He coached in Lubbock, Texas. Pullman, Washington, was a good fit for him.”

 

Closing Statement:

Green: “Well, thank you very much for being here. We look forward to Bill’s leadership. As we said, he’ll start a week from tomorrow, officially. I can’t not say, Go Big Red. Thanks for being here.”

 

Source: Nebraska Athletics