AD hopeful Moos talks potential football success

Former Oregon AD believes Rebels program can experience quick turnaround, find solid footing


Tiffany Brown

Former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, a finalist for the vacant UNLV AD post, answers questions during a public forum on Monday afternoon at the Student Union.

UNLV AD Search - Moos Public Forum

Former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, a finalist for the vacant UNLV AD post, answers questions during a public forum on Monday afternoon at the Student Union. Launch slideshow »

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The ranch in Valley Ford, Wash., won't go anywhere.

But Bill Moos wouldn't mind turning it into a nice getaway spot as opposed to a permanent residence, which is what it currently serves as.

Moos, the second of three remaining candidates for the vacant UNLV athletic director post to visit campus for a final interview, sent that message Monday afternoon in his turn to answer questions from the public at the Student Union ballroom.

Moos, who will turn 59 on Jan. 3, became an athletic director in 1990, taking over the position at Montana. He made a name for himself, however, at Oregon, where the athletic budget grew from $18 million to more than $42 million under his watch from 1995 to 2007.

"I retired in 2007, my wife says I was too young and wants me to get back to work," he said. "The first thing I've always believed is someone who comes right in, starts breaking up the furniture, (saying) 'You're no good here, there,' they're usually looking for the next job. And I'm not looking for the next job because this, I hope, is my next job and my last one."

As was the case when Washington State senior associate AD John Johnson met the public and the media Friday afternoon, several questions directed toward Moos on Monday were regarding the Rebels' football program.

To be more specific, people wanted some scoop on who Moos would target as the new head coach in the wake of Mike Sanford's November firing.

"It's the first question every place I've been today, so I don't know why this should be an exception," he joked. "We've got to get a good, quality coach, pay him, pay the assistants and fill the stadium. Then you're not talking about $100,000 here, because you make that $100,000 on hot dog sales if the stadium's filled. You've got to think big.

"You want a first-rate football coach? Then you've got to make this a destination, not a stepping stone. Does that next coach want to come in here, win seven games two years in a row and then be off to Minnesota? Or do you want to pay him and a staff so they can build something here that's special?"

While Johnson on Friday rattled off a few names — such as Dennis Franchione, Idaho's Robb Akey and Montana's Bobby Hauck — Moos took a vow of silence.

One thing he stressed, however, was the idea of, more than anything, putting the football program on solid ground.

Moos said that three quarters of that $42 million budget he left behind at Oregon in 2007 was revenue generated through football.

"We need to get a great show here," he said. "Lon (Kruger) has got a good show here, there's been good shows here before. We've got to get that football stadium full."

That all hinges on the Rebels winning, plain and simple. Moos said that he believes the program could be turned around from where it is right now in a year or two.

That's including taking into consideration UNLV's current facilities.

One thing Oregon is noted for is its incredible athletic facilities. Nike founder and Chairman Phil Knight contributed plenty of money in Moos's time to help improve those, including Autzen Stadium, which today is regarded as one of the finest football stadiums in the West.

"Autzen Stadium is off-campus," he said when asked about Sam Boyd Stadium. "When we built the indoor (practice) facility, two beautiful sand-based practice fields and a sand-based grass soccer stadium, it was a $16 million project. And my vice president said 'Boy, we're going to lose a lot of parking,' because we were taking about half the parking. And he goes 'Where are these people going to park?' And I said 'Dan, I learned a long time ago, if you're good, they'll find a way to get there. And if we're not, what we'll end up with will probably be sufficient.'

"People love a winner. People will go to Sam Boyd Stadium. If you beat TCU, BYU and Utah, and are bringing some schools in here that create a buzz, they'll get there."

That said, not lost on Moos is how important the upcoming coaching hire is for the future of the program.

He said he has a short list of between five and seven names of potential candidates and would look for someone with a successful head coaching background.

Cost appears to be of little concern. He said he's already made phone calls to those on his list, and said that if he got the job, it could be filled within seven days, including some assistants.

"You're going to get what you pay for, and that means assistants, too," he said. "I have a saying that I believe in the big picture, and I'm a risk-taker. I've taken plenty of risks and most of the time they've worked out. But my thing is, don't step over the dollars to get the nickels."

Another quality Johnson displayed in his public forum session Friday, which Moos matched, was warm hospitality.

About three times as many people who showed up to meet Johnson welcomed Moos, and not only did he offer some jokes while confidently fielding each question for nearly 50 minutes, but he took opportunities to sell himself to those in attendance without coming across as desperate or overbearing.

"You've got to build the plan of where you want to be," he said, recalling a message delivered to the department's coaches earlier in the day. "You worry about today and tomorrow, I'll worry about five years, 10 years down the road.

"What I believe in is reinvesting in your success."

The final candidate — Arizona AD Jim Livengood — will wrap up the series of public forums Tuesday morning in the Student Union's first floor theater at 9:30 a.m.

A decision on the school's new AD is expected from President Neal Smatresk either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

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  1. Say what you want about Moos but Oregon football would not be what it is today with Moos. He was the AD who brought in Mike Belotti (a great football coach) who turned the Ducks into a national power by great recruiting and hiring great assistants. I don't really care that he didn't name off any coaches at the forum. I guarantee you he has already made phone calls behind the scenes to his potential candidates. These are organized men that think ahead a few steps. I would feel the safest with Moos at the helm. He has already proved he can be a successful AD for more then a 1 year stint, hire him today IMO.

  2. Sorry I missed "He's already made phone calls to his potential candidates" when I was skimming through this article.

  3. NO excitement in this list, I won't go to a game with any of these guys...Dennis Franchione, Idaho's Robb Akey and Montana's Bobby Hauck

  4. Reason I wouldn't want Robb Akey --- The dude has only been a HC since 2007, which means he's never had his own (recruited) players graduate. Never, ever ever hire a coach that A) never has been a HC, or B) hasn't recruited the players he's having some success with. Charlie Weiss was a OC, never a HC, and we see how that worked out. Get somebody that has been a HC and more than 4 years. A good template would be Brian Kelly going to Notre Dame, he's won at every stop he's been as HC. A bad template would be Robb Akey. Sure, someday he might be a great coach, but he doesn't have a track record.

  5. Bobby Hauck is an excellent (HC). In his 1st coaching stint at his alma mater he has won 66 games, and is playing in his 3rd national championship game in 6 years. Who cares if it is at Montana? You have to start somewhere, don't despise the days of small beginnings!!

  6. Hauck can't even handle a school newspaper, yikes!! And we all know the baggage Franchione brings. How many championship games has Hauck won (all I see is "L's)? Funny how Moos mention MN as a next step, Hauck was rumored for there in 2007. Clue?

  7. Dennis Francione probably gives UNLV the best chance at success. At least he has a track record of success at a lower tiered conference, he started the winnng ways TCU currently is having. He may not want to move up to say, a Big 12 type conference, because of the bad experience he had there before. Best bet of the three names given.

  8. I'm sold... sign him up!!!

  9. BetOnBlack - Get your facts straight. Moos was not responsible for hiring Mike Belotti; he was hired on prior to Moos' arrival. Anyhow, with an open ended pocket book at Oregon any AD with two whits could have advanced that program. Oh right, Nike had nothing to do with it...

    My call is hire Johnson, the only candidate who will truly be dedicated to advancing and branding UNLV athletics and academics given the resources available.

    Moos is planting the seeds that with more access to capital comes better coaching, talent, facilities, etc. Moos appears to be setting himself up for disappointment as he knows the Oregon funds will not be available. Moos is the wrong hire here. DON'T support Moos thinking he will turn UNLV into an Oregon, it won't happen.

  10. I'll take losing championship games over what we have now.

  11. Don't hire Moos Hire Johnson

  12. I agree with JerryWayne and BetonBlack. Bobby Hauck is a great football coach, and I would probably put money on a game between Bobby Hauck's Montana beating our Rebels right now. If he can get better recruits and better performance being the head coach in Montana than I think he would be able to do wonders here in Vegas. Who cares about stupid comments in a school paper when you are in the National Championship anyway.

  13. i dont get the vibe that you enjoyed moos as much as you did johnson, initial gut impressions are important to me. you can decide for me by proxy ryan. anyways, IMO we do not want hauck.. my family is from montana and interact with him and he is a complete d-bag. a winner? yep.. good for vegas PROBABLY not. He had players getting in trouble in missoula they'd go crazy in our little city. Anyways my 2 cents. if smastrek calls me.. ha. i'm going to put my money on koetter and johnson as AD.

  14. Johnson seemed sincere and like he would generally care about UNLV. What happens if we hire Moos and he starts spending a bunch of money like he is saying, and things don't pan out? You can't just expect this wonderous infusion of cash that Moos talks about without bigtime backers like Nike and others that Oregon has.

  15. College kids get into trouble wherever they are at. Think back a few years ago we had a great developing point guard in Marcus Lawrence. He was from Las Vegas he knew how the town worked and he still got into trouble. Look at the 9-12 players that just got suspended up at Michigan St. for fighting on campus. You can't blame college students getting into trouble on the coach. Now you can blame his disciplinary actions that were taken on him though. I don't know how Hauck handled the situation, but if it is the incident that I am thinking of didn't he take the kid off the team?

  16. Moos and Koetter!

    Johnson wants to bring in Rob Ackey from Idaho and Livengood will bring in Dykes, UofA's offensive coordinator. Those are terrible choices.

  17. All of the debating is meaningless, there is not a person on this site that can change anything or who's opinion matters. Is there actually anybody in Las Vegas that really believes the rebels will ever have a perennial winning football program? We are wishful but wishful thinking has never changed one thing. Look how this whole process has been botched. Who really believes that we are going to end up with a good coach out of this? Franchione, Koetter, Akkey....Please.... Look at how long it has taken just to find an AD. It is not as difficult as people make it out to be. UNLV has lost way too much precious time and is losing out on the mediocre recruits that we were bound to get. We will be having this conversation again in another 4-5 years from now.

  18. What ever happens lets hope JIM ROGERS man LIVENGOOD is not hired That will set UNLV back another 10 years.

  19. I don't expect UNLV to be anything amazing, but a winning program should be the goal. That is definitely possible here. Maybe not ever national championship bound, but maybe bowl bound 3 out of four years on average would be someting that I would be happy about.

  20. Moos seems to me like the better of the two so far.

  21. i think collectively, we'd all be happy with 7 wins and a bowl game. Baby Steps

  22. Also, the Livengood public forum was this morning at 9:30am. I was expecting some news on that, did anybody attend?

  23. @JerryWayne ... You'll have it shortly!

  24. id be happy being 1-11 as long as we beat reno..... baby steps

  25. (Agreed JerryWayne and SandG). I cannot honestly say that I am a UNLV football fan but I love football to death. Coming from SoCal I already have my team but I would love to see anything above horrible for this city since it is the only game in town. I just cannot spend my "enz" on a program that is dismal every single year. If the Rebs could consistantly win 7+ games a year I think a whole lot of people that share my position and have come from another state just might start to support. Probably not until them unfortunately. Reb fans I just don't have any faith in the UNLV administration, they have shown me nothing to swing me on board.

  26. I love Moos' big picture thinking. One reason why UNLV football has sucked for so long is that too many people don't believe it can succeed. Therefore, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Yeah, he had Knight at Oregon, but there's no shortage of rich people in Vegas who would support a winning program. Maybe nobody quite as big as Knight, but I'd rather have a quantity of riches, than to depend on a single guy (who proved to be his undoing).

    UNLV can't print money. He wouldn't be talking big picture if he didn't already know the money is available.

    And for those of you wanting to just drop UNLV football, note his statement that 75% of Oregon's $42M budget came via the football program. If you ever want UNLV to be anything more than a small college, football will have to lead the way.

  27. Tarkus - How is Moos going to bring out Oregon level donations in the worst market we've seen since the great depression combined with a losing program? Last time I checked the money trees have all but dried up in Vegas. Moos is clearly setting himself up for the ol' "I could have made a greater impact with more money; which ultimately will not be there in the short term..." - This is clear as day. Johnson is the correct hire here...

  28. "but there's no shortage of rich people in Vegas who would support a winning program."

    Tarkus - Get a clue! The money obviously isn't being delivered to UNLV in a truck right now. Let me remind you of something, "If you build it, they will come..." How many top high school recruits are raising their hands to play for UNLV these days. Building something takes time and money...

  29. if the money was being delivered in a truck we wouldnt need an athletic director who can fundraise.

  30. Vegas Fans?...Remember their has never been any kind of Football tradition here, The bar for a winning program can only be set so high. To think it will ever rank with Utah, TCU or BYU is unrealistic. A great coach won't touch this toxic program.

  31. Why would money be delivered in a truck to a program ran by Mike Sanford?

    Yes, Vegas is in a bad recession, but we're talking millions, not billions. These casino owners are not losing money; they're just making less money. They're still filthy rich.

    Just a couple weeks ago, we were talking about a donation for an on-campus practice facility for the basketball program. Money can be raised when people are excited about the program - even in a recession.

    I don't expect Moos to turn the Rebels into the Ducks of the south anytime soon, but the bar for UNLV is not even close to that level.

  32. I disagree that UNLV can never hope to "rank with Utah, TCU, or BYU". There is nothing inherently better about those programs; have you ever been to the Utah or BYU campus? Nothing special about either campuses or the cities, Salt Lake and Provo, they are in!

    I haven't been to TCU so I cannot speak on that.

    A program takes time to build and, with the right coach and AD, we could be at the same level as those three programs. That being said, I don't think we could realistically get the to level of USC or Florida.

  33. RebelAlum44: you are typical of what is part of the problem at UNLV, not only compare the cities, but Law, Medical and Business schools. Tradition had been started at those schools, when UNLV was a Cactus lined Junior College. How many times has UNLV beaten Utah in football since the first meeting in 1979? Try twice in 30 years. Keep drinking the Kool-aid.