THE PUNDITS ARE WAXING eloquent in the wake of Bill Doba's departure. One called the "mutual…
Doba done in by expectations he helped create
But maybe more important, the firing of Doba meant WSU in particular and college football in general is bereft today of a type of person the school and the sport can ill afford to lose: a nice guy.
Bill Doba is a nice guy.
Nice to his fellow coaches and nice to his players. Nice to fellow WSU employees. There is no reason to think he isn't nice to the checkers at Dissmore's. Hell, he's even nice to sportswriters.
He's also bright, dedicated and professional.
Bill Doba has been fired -- even though it's being called a mutual decision.
In addition to all his positive personal attributes, Doba leaves behind memories Cougar football fans should forever cherish.
In his first year as WSU's defensive coordinator in 1994, the Cougars were ranked No. 2 in the nation in total defense, an accomplishment that paid off in a bid to the Alamo Bowl, where Ron Childs and the rest of WSU defense kept Baylor out of the end zone in a 10-3 victory.
In the glorious Rose Bowl season of 1997, when the offense scored at will, Doba's defense, anchored by Leon Bender, set the tone with an unforgettable goal-line stand against UCLA in the opener.
And in 2003, Doba's first year as head coach, the Cougars ended a third straight 10-win season by upsetting Texas in the Holiday Bowl, 28-20.
Because of all those accomplishments, football expectations rose at WSU. Heck, Doba himself guaranteed, mistakenly, that 2004 would see a fourth-straight bowl invitation for the Cougars.
In the end, it was probably the higher expectations -- for which he was partly responsible -- that did him in.
Cougar fans tasted the big time from 2001-2003 and they made it clear they wanted more. Meanwhile, the facilities arms race of college athletics continued to escalate.
Athletic director Jim Sterk wants to continue refurbishing Martin Stadium. To do so he needs money. To get it, he needs the football team to live up to higher expectations by getting into bowl games on a regular basis.
In a press release and in remarks made at his farewell press conference Doba, if anything, enhanced his nice-guy persona. In the press release he mentioned his late wife, Judy, who died in April 2006, of ovarian cancer.
"It has been a great ride for 19 years," Doba said. "The university has been great to me and my family and the support Judy and I received from the community is something I will never forget. I would like to thank Jim Sterk and (former university president) Lane Rawlins for the opportunity to fulfill the dream of a lifetime. And I would like to thank President (Elson S.) Floyd for treating me and this situation with dignity and respect."
Later, at the press conference, Doba said:
"I loved my job. I had a great time. I didn't cheat or do anything to embarrass this university. I hope to be remembered as a players' coach."
Architect of the school's biggest bowl win since Pasadena in 1916.
Victim of college football's ever-growing expectations.
Cougfan.com Recommended Stories
Pac-12 Hoops Media Day Notebook
SAN FRANCISCO -- Some quick hit comments from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott on the state of the Pac-12 and some new initiatives that are coming this men's basketball season, including an update on…Read More
WSU practice: Pole back; eye on UA run game
PULLMAN — Arizona is throwing a lot more and running considerably less compared to last season but WSU linebackers coach Ken Wilson said after practice Wednesday the Cougars must respect the No. 15…Read More
COUGFAN TV: Leach sets his own pace
PULLMAN -- Mike Leach was asked after practice about the fast pace of Arizona's offense and what challenges, substitution and otherwise, that could present for Washington State on Saturday, (Pac-12…Read More
Week 8: Super Sleepers
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risk! Tampa Bay…Read More
Watch: Sailfish Goes Psycho!
Check out this classic video of Dan Larson battling an acrobatic sailfish on a trip to the world-famous Tropic Star Lodge in Panama.Read More