Friday, October 19, 2012
Walker clarifies, reafirms recent comments
Walker was mostly impressed with USU’s ability and commitment toward building a mid-major football program. The UtAgs, at 5-2 this season, are 31-point favorites Saturday against NMSU.
Just four years ago, both teams had identical 3-9 records.
“Coach (Gary) Anderson and his staff have done a great job,” Walker said. “I think the other person who deserves credit is their AD (Athletics Director Scott Barnes) and the support that they’re giving that program. They definitely know what they’re doing and they’ve done a good job establishing one of the better teams, not only in the WAC conference, but one of the better mid-level teams in the country.”
Walker later added: “They’ve just done a very good job building that program. They have great resources. They’ve made a commitment to football. It’s pretty cool to see where they were and where they are.”
As a follow-up, Walker was asked more questions about the comments he made:
Sun-News: It sounded like some wishful commentary on your part.
DeWayne Walker: “Yeah. It’s obvious. … I’m just reiterating some things that I think are pretty obvious. I’m not going to sit up here and say that’s the reason (Utah State is) winning. Gary’s done a great job coaching along with their coaches. I just think with the blueprint when he got hired, along with Scott Barnes, it’s worked.”
SN: There was a plan in place?
DW: “There’s no question. Because Gary and the AD got hired at the same time. The AD, I think one of his strengths is raising money. I just found out, when he took over the job, they were, I think, (reportedly more than $2 million) in the red and now they’re $21 million in the black. So, I think that says something in his abilities and their abilities to raise money. … That has a lot to do with what’s going on, on the field. I just really believe that. I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus. That’s not my intention. … Their university, their athletic department, they made a commitment: ‘We’re going to have a football program.’”
SN: They understand how it ties into the university and the importance of it?
DW: “This is what Utah State has decided to do with their football program. … I was asked about Utah State’s program; this is what they’ve done. This is what San Jose State’s done. This is what La. Tech’s done. This is what North Texas has done.”
SN: Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State — all were basically in the same spot as NMSU not long ago. What's enabled them to build that recent success?
DW: “It’s obviously a vision. Vision and dollars. Vision and dollars.”
SN: Let’s say, DeWayne Walker was interviewing at a program like Texas-San Antonio — a first-year football program. The administration asks what you need. What do you tell them?
DW: “I’m an experienced head coach now. Now, being experienced, I would have done some research, I would have looked at my conference and I would have looked at the better teams in my conference and I would have said: ‘Budget-wise, fundraising-wise, facilities, what do they have?’ If I can have what they have, then I think it’s fair game. And I’ve said this already. I think it’s unfair for any head coach to be judged if he doesn’t have what his competitors have. You can. If you want to judge me for not doing more with less, OK. That’s fine. That’s OK. … I would tell any head coach, I think that’s something you have to pay attention to. You want to make sure you have the resources and things to be competitive.”
SN: What would you need here to have a championship-level program?
DW: “Where we are today, can we get all the things that these other schools have? Probably not. But I think, if you have the top four or five things that can help? Maybe salaries for the coaches; strength and conditioning program; where can we get fundraising dollars; facilities. There might be 10 things. And you might not get all 10 things at once. So let’s sit down, ‘OK, what is our vision?’ What are three or four things we can get done ASAP to start moving in that direction?”
Recent history: In 2009, Louisiana Tech (4-8 overall record), Utah State (4-8), NMSU (3-10) and San Jose State (2-10) finished with a combined 13-36 record. This year, Louisiana Tech (5-1), Utah State (5-2) and San Jose State (4-2) have a combined 14-5 record, while NMSU is in the WAC basement with a 1-5 record. The three aforementioned schools — discounting NMSU — will have conference homes next season, with Louisiana Tech headed to Conference USA and USU and SJSU off to the Mountain West Conference.
Coaching salaries: Let’s just look back to last year and compare Utah State to NMSU. In 2011, USU paid their offensive coordinator, Dave Baldwin, $157,500. NMSU paid offensive coordinator Doug Martin ($90,000) and defensive coordinator Dale Lindsey ($70,000) a combined total of $160,000. Utah State’s defensive and special teams coordinators combined to make $251,500, while the remaining Aggie assistant coaches (seven total) combined for $383,222. Anderson was recently given his second contract extension in as many years, which could pay him as much as $765,000 a year. That also included annual salary increases for his assistants. By contrast, the Aggies lost Martin to Boston College, and Lindsey, whose contract was not renewed. Also departing the NMSU program following last season were offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier and defensive line coach Jesse Williams.
Projects: NMSU made football investments — many coming five to eight years ago. Upon entering the WAC, other improvements included: The Stan Fulton Athletics Center, in 2004, more than $6 million; a new video scoreboard, in 2007, a $1.5 million improvement; the Hall of Legends football meeting rooms, in 2007, an estimated $2.5 million addition; and football coaching offices, in 2009, at a cost of more than $1.5 million. But such moves have subsided during recent years. In the meantime Louisiana Tech announced in 2010 a $20 million fundraising plan geared toward building a 90,000 square-foot football-only facility at Joe Aillet Stadium; Utah State had a May 29 groundbreaking on a new $6.4 million strength and conditioning center; and San Jose State plans to have a new football-only facility ready for the 2013 season that could cost as much as $14 million. Substantial fundraising efforts contributed to many of these projects.
Who: NMSU (1-5, 0-2) at Utah State (5-2, 1-0)
What: WAC Football, Week 8
Where, When: Logan, Utah; 1 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, temperatures in upper 60s
Spread: NMSU +31
Radio: KGRT-FM 104; Vista 98.7 (Spanish)