SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Washington State football coach Paul Wulff will return next season, athletic director Bill Moos said Sunday.
There had been rampant speculation that Wulff, 5-32 in his first three years, would be fired. But the Cougars (2-10, 1-8 Pac-10) showed improvement in the second half of this season. Moos said school president Elson Floyd left the decision to him, and that the goal of both is to see a successful football program.
"It is my feeling at this particular time that the best course of action to move in that direction is to continue with the current leadership," Moos said in a news release.
Washington State lost to archrival Washington 35-28 in an exciting game Saturday in Pullman. The Cougars beat Oregon State in their previous game - their first Pac-10 win in two seasons.
Many of Wulff's players expressed support for their coach after Saturday's game.
His supporters contend the Cougars are unquestionably better than when Wulff took over a decimated program from Bill Doba in 2008. Critics contend progress is measured in wins.
Wulff believes his efforts to rebuild the program from the ground up have paid off."This team is capable of going on next year and being a bowl contender," Wulff said earlier this week.
Washington State has been more competitive this season. The passing attack led by sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel, junior Jared Karstetter and freshman Marquess Wilson ranks 48th in the nation, though Washington State's total offense and total defense statistics both rank in the bottom quarter of the 120 major college teams.
Before he became athletic director this season, Moos was part of a panel that recommended hiring Wulff.
Around the time Wulff was hired, the Cougars were hit with the loss of eight scholarships by the NCAA because of academic performance. That has changed, as the team placed more players than any other Pac-10 program on the all-academic first team this season.
(have to give kudos for that one
) Wulff is a former WSU offensive lineman who was successful as head coach at nearby Eastern Washington.