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Thanks, Dobes

Posted by Jeff Nusser on November 27, 2007

That might seem like an odd thing to say to a guy who was fired yesterday for not leading the football program to heights we became accustomed to with three consecutive 10-win seasons, but it needs to be said to a guy who served Washington State University with the class and dignity that far exceeded the standards most people have for their coaches.

Many have said yesterday was a great day for WSU football. It was not. It might have been necessary after going 11-23 the last four years in the Pac-10. It might have been necessary to bring some stability to the recruiting process. And it might have been necessary to prevent a UW-esque slip into oblivion.

But it was anything but a great day. A great day would have included Doba wrapping up a stellar career with a celebrated retirement. A “mutual decision” to go in a different direction — and if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you — is not great for anyone, except maybe the guy who eventually gets the job.

What I will remember about Bill Doba was his passion for football and his genuine nature. In a field that’s filled with more fakes than you can even possibly fathom — and I can tell you stories off the blog if you ever want to hear them — Dobes was the same guy down at My Office as he was with his players as he was with the media. His “aw shucks” persona really is who he is. He gave WSU all he had, even as his wife battled cancer, eventually passing away — a struggle I can’t even begin to pretend I understand.

I remember talking to Doba once for a freelance preview story. I had recently interviewed UW coach Keith Gilbertson, who spent the entire 20 minutes more or less telling me how stupid my questions were with curt responses and snide comments. Then I called Doba. He asked me how I was doing. He made small talk with me. He gave me everything I needed for my story, and then some.

He made me feel like he had all the time in the world to chat with an old friend which, of course, I wasn’t. I didn’t even tell him I was a Coug until the very end of the story, when I told him how I happy I was for him when he got the job.

There was no celebrating in these parts yesterday. Thanks, Bill, for all your work with WSU over the past 20 years. You will be missed, and I hope life with your family is everything you dream of.

Feel free to share your fond memories of Doba below.


One Response to “Thanks, Dobes”

  1. Longball said

    Well Nuss, when you’re right, you’re right. I think the Cougs made the right move yesterday, but there is nothing to celebrate as we say goodbye to an all time Coug great in coah Doba. I said this a couple weeks ago on the footbal blog and cant really say what i feel any better, so i’ll repeat here (please note, at the time i was reeling from the Cal loss)…

    -“After the sting of saturday’s loss has subsided i’ve had time to ponder the departure of Doba with a more lucid mind. I have thrown my fair share of expletives at him the last couple seasons, and have openly pleaded the case to get rid of him all over this blog and others… but i love the guy like family, like a favorite uncle. Myabe the favorite uncle that backed over your favorite cousin with the RV, but a favorite uncle none the less. It is not yet possible for me to imagine cougar football without the old man prowling the sideline, growling at his clipboard and berating the nearest official. Before Doba, the Cougars had zero defensive identity. Since Doba, we have had defenses that can be described as legendary, top national rankings, tons of NFL talent and an Outland trophy winner. As PtownCoug would say, “Jizus!” I actually remember the first time i ever became excited about Cougar defense… we were playing at Cal in 1992 and with the game on the line late in the 4th quarter, Tory Hunter stripped the ball from future NFL hall of famer Tony Gonzalez and sealed the win. Que the Shark attack! It was that very moment that made me stay in my seat and scream when our D was on the field, instead of bolting for the concessions to get more cocoa for my schnapps. Two years later we had the best defense in the country, and still the most exciting defense i have ever seen on any team. ever. Our Rose bowl and 10 win teams are always lauded first and loudest for the offense. But in all those years, Dobas defenses were JUST as important and had many of the greatest moments in Cougar history. Does any Coug fan NOT know where they were when Rien Long destroyed USC in overtime in ’02? Even this year, with all the dissapointments, i have to admit that the defense has had one of the most impressive mid season turn arounds i have ever seen.

    With all that said, at the end of this year a change is imperative, i just hope it happens like this… Doba announces he will retire when the season is over. I wish he would announce it sooner than later. Then we can cease all the attacks, and spend the rest of the season honoring what hes done for us and sending him off in style. And what a great motivation for the team in the Apple Cup. Name the weight room after him, or hell, the ROTC cannon. Induct him in the hall of fame, throw a parade, give hime the key to the city, and so on. I think it would be a shame to have Dobas time with Wazzu end in any other way.”-

    Obviously things didnt work out like i wished.

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