SPOKANE, Wash. -- In the months before Washington State
football coach Bill Doba stepped down after a disappointing season,
university president Elson S. Floyd's e-mail wasn't exactly
brimming with threats or derision about the team, according to
documents obtained by The Associated Press.
University of Washington president Mark Emmert had a much
different experience last fall.
Emmert received at least 100 e-mails threatening to withdraw or
withhold financial support unless Husky coach Tyrone Willingham or
athletic director Todd Turner were fired. He even got an offer of
$100,000 each for scholarships if he would sack the coach and
The UW president told The Seattle Times he didn't recall seeing
that e-mail and doesn't take seriously financial threats or offers
based on personnel decisions.
Willingham remains the Huskies coach. Turner resigned Jan. 31.
In contrast, in the months between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2007,
Floyd received fewer than 20 e-mails about Doba, and only one
writer dropped football season tickets, the AP learned in a public
Several e-mails urged the WSU president and athletic director
Jim Sterk to retain Doba. Most were received, expressing sadness or
dismay, after Doba was forced out.
Only three e-mails specifically urged Doba's firing during the
Floyd said Monday he wants to be sensitive to what his
constituents have to say, "but my decisions are not driven by what
they say. It's just another input."
"We made the decision to engage in what we refer to as a
transition. There was this belief that coach Doba was fired, or run
out. None of that happened," he said. "The coach made the
decision that he no longer wanted to be involved in recruiting."
Sterk was traveling and unavailable for comment, his office
Doba, 67, announced Nov. 26 he was stepping down "by mutual
agreement" after five seasons as head coach and posting a 30-29
career record. WSU finished 5-7 last season and missed going to a
bowl game for a fourth consecutive year.
"I think the decision to fire Bill Doba stinks" one alumnus
wrote, using 10 exclamation points for emphasis.
"A sad day for the university and a tough way for a truly great
man to be treated by his employer," wrote another. "Bill is
deserving of better!"
Reflecting the different worlds in which the UW and WSU athletic
departments operate, Floyd received no mail from professional
football players weighing in on Doba's job. Seattle Seahawks star
running back Shaun Alexander and former Seahawks quarterback Jeff Kemp wrote Emmert in support of Willingham or Turner.
The closest Floyd got to football royalty was an e-mail from
Steve Sebehar, who played center on the Cougars' 1981 Holiday Bowl
team and was an 11th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in
Sebahar wrote in an Oct. 16 e-mail urging Floyd to begin a
search for Doba's replacement.
Sebahar wrote he had been a season ticket holder for the past
five years, but did not renew his seats this year. "The primary
reason is the state of Cougar football," he wrote.
The e-mail was sent three days after the Cougars suffered a 53-7
loss at No. 9 Oregon.
Most, however, urged Floyd to keep Doba, a longtime assistant
before being elevated to head coach after Mike Price left for
Alabama in 2002.
"Cougars have a level of politeness that is really unusual,"
Floyd said. "There was no animosity."
Emmert's e-mails showed a different reaction. Nearly
three-quarters of the UW president's e-mails about Husky football
Using a public records request, The Seattle Times reported Jan.
10 that UW booster Ed Hansen offered $200,000 for law school
scholarships if Willingham and Turner were fired.
The newspaper reported that Emmert received at least 100 e-mails
threatening to withdraw or withhold financial support unless
Willingham, Turner or both were fired.