Sterk Stays Above it All, Plus Other Stuff

So we all saw the comments from Scott Woodward, UW AD, over their failure in Olympia to secure taxpayer dollars towards their $300 million dollar renovation. For a refresher, Woodward said he held out “remote hope” that something could be done, but knew they were up against it.

“How do you lay off teachers and cut back on programs and then build a stadium?” Woodward said Monday in commenting publicly on the bill’s failure for the first time. “That was the psychological disconnect that a lot of people had a hard time getting around and I understand that wholeheartedly.”

Fair enough. The guy understood that times are tight, and politically this was going to be an extremely hard sell. But he didn’t stop there. When asked about the loud, mouthy WSU alums who had the audacity to actually speak out against UW’s request of using taxpayer funds towards their massive renovation? “It was just an irritant, that’s the best way to put it.”

I’m sure it was irritating. Irritating, as would any individual or group when they complain to the legislature that they oh, I don’t know, might want to second-guess handing over dollars for what would become a single-purpose facility, hosting six or seven events a year? But it’s understandable that Woodward would be irritated. I was irritated, and I’m a WSU guy!

But then, something happened. Instead of taking the high road and ending it there, Woodward lashed out at Jim Sterk and Elson Floyd. “The most disappointing thing about it is that [WSU president] Elson Floyd and [WSU athletic director] Jim Sterk didn’t do anything to try to contain that little group of Cougars that were out there doing that. It was a shame that they didn’t show leadership or courage to curtail something like that.”


Think Jim Sterk took this lying down? He didn’t. Per Grippi yesterday evening, Sterk responded to the call-out:

“It was so inappropriate that I laughed, basically,” Sterk said Tuesday. “I could not believe those comments were coming from him. One, to me as athletic director but then, two, to the president of the university.”

Does it even need to be said?? IT IS SO ON! But there was more, much more.

Washington State made a decision to not get involved in light of the financial stresses on a state legislature dealing with a $9-billion deficit.

“WSU felt it was not appropriate for the institution, for us to ask for any stadium support during this legislative session,” Sterk said. “The legislature and the governor, they were already facing all the significant challenges of the economic crisis. So that’s why we didn’t take a position.

“When the economy improves and if the legislature and the governor change their minds on stadium funding, as long as it’s fair to both institutions, WSU would join UW in the discussions.”

There’s more in the article, so we highly encourage you all to check it out.

Obviously this is a WSU blog. So can you guess what our reaction would be to all this?? But even taking the view from 10,000 feet, it’s clear. Sterk was right all along, and he’s right again here. It was always in WSU’s best interests to stay out of the way on this one. The university was right in the idea of watching how this whole thing plays out, and then, act accordingly. If UW gets access to the treasure trove of tax dollars, well, you can bet Elson Floyd and Jim Sterk will be running up the steps in Olympia, plans in hand, ready to ask for help. Until then, things will proceed as normal, with private donations as the backbone of our renovation.

Sterk’s comments were direct, to the point, and most importantly, STILL ABOVE THE FRAY. He clearly had a chance to return some nasty fire over the Cascades, yet chose to do what he’s done all along. He responded, yet still refused to get in the mud. And you know what happens when you mud wrestle with a pig? You both get dirty, and the pig is happy. It just isn’t worth it. BRAVO JIM STERK!

Moving on, hey, remember the photo contest? Well, we’re down to the LAST COUPLE OF DAYS OF VOTING. We’re up to around 300 votes right now, and it’s pretty tight…

“Mama Sledge”, the mother of rising Coug linebacker Mike Ledgerwood, has a slight lead over “Devard Daaaughling”. But “Bone the Dawgs” is lurking, just a few votes back. Polls close at 11:59 PM tomorrow, April 30th. Check out the link for the finalists, and keep voting. Good luck!

Lost in all the fray over stadiums, dollars, etc, was Grippi’s STRONG spring wrap-up for WSU football. Grippi looks at each position, and weighs in with his “Player to Watch”, “Unanswered Question”, “Time to Step Up”, and “What the coordinator said”. It’s a really good wrap on a spring that, let’s face it, didn’t go according to plan. Not when there were so many freakin’ injuries. I guess the good news is that it doesn’t appear that any of the nicks and cuts suffered by so many players weren’t of the season-ending variety. At least in April, it looks like most of the guys who were out will be ready to go by August. But we’ll see about that.

The most encouraging thing is that, according to Chris Ball in Grippi’s article, the culture is starting to take. Proof of that could be the big change in so many players’ weights, showing that the hard work in the weight room and at the training table was starting to mesh:

“We’ve instilled our culture,” defensive co-coordinator and associate head coach Chris Ball said. “With instilling our culture, the kids understand what to expect out of practice. When we come out here and coach, we’re coaching ball, not coaching how to run on-and-off the field. They’re doing that stuff.”

Sounds like light-years from last year, where they were so far behind they were teaching players how to get into a proper three-point stance?? And as Grippi has said on a few occasions while freezing his behind off for many practices….the team is, in fact, more physical, something we never heard last season. Physical in football is VERY, VERY GOOD! But they still have a full fall camp to survive. August is going to be hot and intense. Let’s hope they save some in the tank for Stanford in early September, and beyond??

Finally, we are hopeful the fund-raising idea can get finalized in the next couple of days. We will have an update for you, of some kind, probably on Friday. Until then, enjoy your Wednesday, and GO COUGS!


8 Responses to “Sterk Stays Above it All, Plus Other Stuff”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I would not sweat Woodwards comments. He is a rookie AD who has a pissed as hell tyee club asking where their renovation is going and why isn’t it done. He is frusrated and took it out on the easy scapegoat which is WSU. Jim did the right thing and the response is terrific.

  2. Chris '04 Says:

    Sterk is halarious! He’s such a nice guy too. He goes to my church and I’ve talked to him a couple times in passing.

  3. calebcherry Says:

    Because of my major… a lot of classes have me living in Smith, PEB, and Bohler through out the day. Every time I see Sterk walking around he’s go his game face on. Especially through out the Apple Cup-in the airness… He seemed to be pretty focused. Even when people would stop to say hi or be friendly in the hallway. I love his intensity.

    I got to the spring game or…. “game”… about halfway through. Hicks wasn’t pulling ANYTHING for his offensive teammates. So much so that a few times kids were getting face-mask to face-mask and needed to be pulled away.
    It didn’t seem like there were any rifts in the team that were being exposed… just that the offense and defense each REALLY wanted to show the other side up that day. I love it!

    One of the (many things) I love about Pete Carroll and how he conducts his practices at SC… is that its hard to watch them on tape on the practice field and not see that those players want to be the best on every down, at every drill, at every practice day… they want to dominate! Not just on game day.
    I hope this is the direction that CPW is going with the reason for being physical and competitive at practice. Not just to put the hurt on, but to get the spirit of competition in a mental and physical sense over one another.

    Now that the draft is over… I have NO idea how I’m going to pass the time till football season comes back for reals. Good luck everyone.

  4. calebcherry Says:

    This is a sidenote… and if anyone has any other info I’d love to know…. but for some reason after the draft I got curious about our Alex Brink.

    I guess after he was cut, I was told that he was almost immediately resigned to the Texans Practice squad.
    I went to the Texans site and saw that he is indeed on the roster. If you look at the depth chart it only lists Schaub in the QB slot. Their roster only lists Schaub, Orlovsky (a barely tested ‘vet’ who squatted with the Lions for his first few years and was with UConn when their football team made the transition to D-1 into the Big East), and Brink!

    According to this site
    ZERO QBs were drafted.
    And according to this site (updated late monday night)
    ZERO QBs signed through free agency.

    Are we looking at a potential guaranteed roster spot for Brink? I know there are still Mini-Camps where signings have to be made, but you’ve got to think even the worst NFL FO would make at least a FA signing at the QB spot if they weren’t happy with the depth options for that position.

    I don’t mean to misdirect the conversation on this post… but I just wanted to see if anyone had any news/info on the situation in Houston for Brink.

  5. kaddy Says:

    Good message from Sterk on the AD Forum yesterday…

  6. Hooty McBoob Says:

    Woodward is definitely showing his true colors. This guy may turn out to be as sleazy as they come.

    Last week he demands a yearly allotment of 50,000 of 64,000 tickets to the proposed “neutral site” Apple Cup. He knows the financial situation at WSU is tenuous at best and clearly tried to use that to his advantage. While I appreciate his ploy from a business POV, this was clearly not in the best interest of the game itself. In the face of this economic crisis, Sterk should be applauded for walking away.

    Now, Woodward has the onions (homage to Hawk) to say Sterk should have done something to quiet concerned citizens of the state down while he lobbied for tax-payer money for his stadium?

    Jim Sterk won’t say it so I will.

    Go fuck yourself, Mr Woodward.

  7. WSU91 Says:

    It’s all over the Seattle paper blogs that this wasn’t a “new” tax, rather a redirection of an existing King County tax, and a tourism tax (supposedly) at that. No matter to me, folks who take it upon themselves to point out what they think is right or wrong about how ANY tax generated revenues in the state of WA (or any county, or city therein) are being spent have every right to do so. Whether I agree or not with the folks who protested this bill is not the point here. I staunchly defend their right to protest. The sense of entitlement at UW is astonishing.

  8. WSU91 Says:

    BTW – I see that Ted Miller labeled Brandon Gibson a Washington grad on his ESPN Pac-10 blog – surely an oversight on Ted’s part, right?

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