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Originally published November 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 26, 2007 at 9:35 PM


WSU fires head coach Doba

The dramatic 42-35 victory over Washington in Saturday's Apple Cup wasn't enough to save Bill Doba's job as he was fired today.

Seattle Times staff reporters

The dramatic 42-35 victory over Washington in Saturday's Apple Cup wasn't enough to save Bill Doba's job as he was fired today.

The official announcement was scheduled at a 4:30 p.m. news conference.

Doba, 67, had a 30-29 record in five years as head coach and was 3-2 against Washington. His only winning season was his inaugural 10-3 campaign in 2003 that concluded with an upset over Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

The following years the Cougars were 5-6, 4-7, 6-6 and 5-7. He was 17-25 in Pac-10 games.

After 2003, his only ranked team was the 2006 squad when the Cougars were 6-3 entering November then lost three straight.

Doba supporters pointed to his Midwest decency that set a tone in the program, his loyalty, his Apple Cup success, his popularity with players, a staff with well-regarded coaches such as George Yarno and Mike Levenseller, and a good 2007 recruiting class.

Critics said he didn't win enough, that many of his coaching decisions (particularly trick plays) were bad, that his age and uncertain future at WSU hurt recruiting and stadium fund-raising, and that the football program needed to be re-energized.

Doba's salary is more than $500,000 but he is among the lowest paid coaches in the Pac-10. It will cost WSU about $2.8 million to honor the contracts of Doba and his assistants.

Doba joined the WSU staff in 1989 as linebacker coach when Mike Price succeeded Dennis Erickson as head coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1994.

Price accepted the job at the University of Alabama after the Cougars had qualified for the Rose Bowl in the 2002 season and Price and Doba coached together in the Rose Bowl.

Doba's wife, Judy, died in April, 2006, after a four-year bout with ovarian cancer.

Doba was fired by WSU athletic director Jim Sterk who consulted with first-year president Elson S. Floyd. After Saturday's victory, Sterk said the win would be taken into consideration but added, "You want to take a full body of work before you make a decision on something like this."

The Cougars want to build an addition to Martin Stadium that is expected to cost at least $40 million and would like to begin construction after the 2008 season. Boosters will be asked for donations and need for a "sense of excitement" about the football program to attract has been cited.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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