BY Howie Stalwick 06:30AM 02/26/2015

Cougs’ football worst Pac-12 job? Hah! Try USC

An ESPN story lists coaching at Washington State as the worst football job in the Pac-12 and 4th worst among big conferences. Wait a minute: You ever checked out USC?

A spiffed-up Martin Stadium is no longer a drawback. / Adam Lewis, Sportspress Northwest

As soon as I saw the headline, I knew Washington State was going to get crushed.


As usual.

The headline? “College Football’s Worst Jobs.”

The subject? The worst head football coaching jobs in the Power 5 conferences.

The good news? Wazzu was not ranked last.

The bad news? Wazzu was ranked fourth from last. Wake Forest was declared worst of the worst, followed by Iowa State and Kansas. came up with the list. You need to pay to read the entire article. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the computer screen it’s (sort of) written on.

This just in: Winning football games at Washington State is difficult. On some days against some opponents, it’s damn near impossible. Always has been. Always will be.

But the fourth-worst job in the Power 5? The single worst job in the Pac-12? Please.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does anyone in the Pac-12 have a more attractive stadium with a larger percentage of wonderful seats for viewing a game than Washington State? A better student section? A better training center? A better nutrition plan? A better academic support staff?

True, there are no fancy amusement parks in Pullman. No 5-star restaurants. No giant shopping malls. No professional sports.

In other words, there are fewer ways for players to spend their limited (in most cases) dollars and time. Fewer ways to be distracted from football and academics. Fewer ways to drift apart from your teammates and other students.

As for coach Mike Leach and his staff, Pullman is hard to beat as a safe, sound place to raise a family. The pay is good, and your money goes a lot farther in The Farm Town than The Big City.

Between Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston, you’ll find enough to do, unless you’re itchin’ for a good opera. Dining and drinking establishments are plentiful, and the golfing, hunting and fishing is great. Spokane is a short drive to the north, and a direct flight from Pullman to Seattle – described as “laborious” in the article – takes about an hour. Comes with a complimentary glass of Northwest beer or wine, too.

Yeah, it gets cold in Pullman in the winter. DAMN cold. But does anyone think they’re slappin’ on the Coppertone at Colorado and Utah during the winter months? Snow can be a gorgeous alternative to ceaseless rain at the Oregon schools and Muttville (aka Dawgtown). How would you like to live and train, month after searing month, in triple-digit heat in Arizona? The Bay Area schools are fine unless one dares to leave campus and risk spending the rest of his or her life parked on a freeway. As for the L.A. schools, I prefer air I can breathe, not count.

Give me a football stadium smack dab in the middle of a lovely campus (re: Washington State), not one in an endless traffic jam away from campus in a different city (re: UCLA). The Cougars fly in and out of an airport that might be 10 minutes from campus during rush hour. It’s more like rush minute in Pullman. Wars have been fought in less time than it takes to drive from Sea-Tac to Montlake.

The worst job in the Pac-12 . . . the best job in the Pac-12 . . . it is entirely subjective. If you need big-city flash and dash, you will be miserable in Pullman. If you value the ability to walk to the store late at night to get a bag of chips and not get shot, stabbed or punched, Pullman is a little slice of heaven.

One man’s opinion? I think the worst job in the Pac-12 is USC.

The pressure to win at Sark U is enormous. Coaches see their wives and children bi-annually, since it takes slightly longer than forever to commute between work and your grossly overpriced home each day. Metropolitan Los Angeles is teeming with a gazillion more prime-time recruits than Metropolitan Pullman-Moscow-Colfax-Steptoe, but the odds of your car still being a) present or b) having wheels after you watch, visit and/or grovel over a recruit, is infinitely better in Lentil Land than in La La Land.

Also to be considered is the fact that the Trojans play in an aged stadium in a part of town so riddled with crime that security guards politely ask reporters if they wish to be escorted to their car after games. I always turn them down, because I live for the day when a young thug demands that I turn over all my valuables, then hands everything back once he realizes that I might be worse off than him. I mean, my financial portfolio usually consists of two wagers on the ninth race at Emerald Downs.

To summarize: Pullman ain’t perfect, but it’ll do. There’s a lot more to love than dis about life on the Palouse, and there will be a lot more to love once the Cougars start winning again. They’ve done it before; they’ll do it again. It won’t be easy; it wasn’t before. As Tom Hanks once said on the big screen, “The hard is what makes it great.”


  • Big

    Well played Mr. Stalwick. Your heart felt article about WSU and Pullman brought tears to my eyes. Pullman is a great college town and outside of town there are many outdoor recreational opportunities. Go Cougs

    • art thiel

      All they need is a great football team. Where is Mike Price when you need him?

    • Big

      Mike Price and Bill Doba, thems were the days.

  • Tian Biao

    excellent – a very spirited defense of the essentially indefensible. but still, as much of a wasteland as p-burg is, it can’t be any worse that Utah. new wazzu motto: when you’re number 11, you try harder.

  • RadioGuy

    You’re right about one thing, Howie: There are a LOT more expctations attached to the USC job than at WSU. Wonder why that is? Being a Coug fan means understanding that you’re throwing rocks at tanks by trying to compete in a league that’s outgrown you. Kind of like supporting the Syracuse Nationals or Rochester Royals…their fans loved them, too.

    • Tian Biao

      agreed. in fact, the Cougars are lucky to even be in the Pac 12. Culturally, academically, and athletically, they are better suited for the Mountain West.

      ps Howie: I very much enjoyed the takedown of USC. nice.

      • kaddy

        Academically? Why don’t you enlighten us?

      • Effzee

        In the Year 2000…… The new Martin Stadium will become the home of the Whitman Rodeo after Eastern Washington University replaces Wazzu in the PAC-12.

        • Random_acct

          No. Eastern Washington will just take over our stadium.

  • Effzee

    “In other words, there are fewer ways for players to spend their limited (in most cases) dollars and time. Fewer ways to be distracted from football and academics. Fewer ways to drift apart from your teammates and other students.”

    Aside from, of course, the distraction of straight-up crime itself. Yeah, those silly big cities and their strange cultural things that make families drift apart…

    “As for coach Mike Leach and his staff, Pullman is hard to beat as a safe, sound place to raise a family.”

    Wait a second. Is this column satire? If so, well played, sir. Well played indeed.

    If not…. Then wow. Shine that pig, Howie. You just keep on shinin’ that pig.

    • Big

      Gee gallie, you madder than a hen less rooster. Oh, how has your trolling of going?

    • Random_acct

      What? Pullman isn’t safe? Who knew?

  • jafabian

    It’s the Cougs inconsistent football history that works against them. Gonzaga basketball is considered a prime job. If they had the history of Eastern Illinois it wouldn’t be. Same with WSU. What LA should do is do is get someone or a group of someone’s to go along with USC to fix up the Coliseum. Pat Haden’s been proposing a renovation for a few years now. That would get the Trojans the stadium they need for recruiting and the kind of stadium the NFL wants to return to the LA market.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Howie , you just made Jim Moore ultra proud. The ESPN people would balk at your disdain but they have to ~their studios is down in that Hell hole.

  • ll9956

    Good article, Howie.

  • Schaefdawg

    MMmhahahahahahaha….. better facilities? seriously? Talk to the ucks, Better stadium?, talk to alot of schools, being with the Dawgs, besides, Martin may be new, but its mostly empty in the second half of games, (had a son and daughter there), the campus is built on a friggin’ hillside, which is interesting during the icy months. Mmmmm… nice try, but no thanks.

    • Random_acct

      Not on a hillside. On a hill. That has a side. Got it?

  • CougGal80

    Excellent points made! And in regard to hellacious commute made the LA coaches, you mean they don’t walk like CML? Yeah, I’ll take the Palouse any day.

  • Dp Thatzme

    Great article Howie.

  • rosetta_stoned

    Most writers would link to the original source they were lambasting.

    • art thiel

      Fixed. But it’s mostly behind the paywall.

  • Seamark60

    Great article Howie. Very well written. It’s our differences that make the Pac 12 the best conference in college football.

  • Random_acct

    “No 5-star restaurants.”

    What? You obvioulsy aren’t counting Cougar Country Drive-in.