Dec. 11, 2012. Editor’s note: High Country Press requested documents regarding ASU Football Head Coach Jerry Moore’s last season at the helm via the Freedom of Information Act. Below is the memorandum from Cobb to ASU Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, dated Dec. 31, 2011. The memorandum was sent following conversations between Cobb and Moore in which Moore rejected the offer outlined in the Dec. 20 letter and countered with a request to remain as head coach for one more season. If you missed that letter, check it out first.
Portions of this letter were redacted by ASU.
To: Ken Peacock
From: Charlie Cobb
Date: December 31, 2011
Re: Football Transition
Ken, as part of our discussions, I felt this could help facilitate the conversation.
We agree that it is time for Coach Moore to retire. I communicated this to him prior to Christmas. After some thought, he understands that it is time for him to define his retirement but has requested to coach one final season in 2012. And while I was initially disappointed that Coach was not in agreement with everything I proposed, I have since thought through all the positives and negatives of his request and strongly believe this is the best option for all parties involved. I have tried to think about what is best for Appalachian while also thinking about how you or I would respond to a similar request. I am comfortable that the following recommendation addresses our two major concerns after the season – a definitive retirement date for Coach and several staff changes – that were accomplished in the past two weeks.
Recommendation: The 2012 football season is Coach Moore’s last season as head coach. He will retire immediately following the final game of the 2012 season. This would be communicated immediately to him and the staff and announced publicly in the spring although it is assumed that it will be public before then.
This solution is best for Appalachian based on the following 3 reasons:
1. Potential FBS transition. As we discussed before the holidays, the conference realignment process has reached the point that it touches Appalachian. We should know this spring or summer what opportunities, if any, exist for us. This will make our future conference affiliation a known part of the decision-making process following the 2012 season and not speculative, as it would be in the next several weeks. I cannot stress the importance of knowing this direction in terms of creating the best available candidate pool. Also, potentially, the 2012 season will be the first of our 2-year transition period. If so, it is beneficial for this to begin with our existing situation instead of a new staff in terms of creating momentum during the transition years.
2. Financial. Coach Moore has a salary agreement offered and approved by the BOT in 2009 to coach the 2012-2013 season at a base salary of $230,000. [redacted … … … … … … … … … … … … … …]. Additionally, I calculated that we owe an additional $265,000 in severance and accrued vacation leave to the 11 members of our current staff. This puts the total financial commitment at $500,000 to make a change at this point in time.
The right new head coach will want somewhere in the $250,000-350,000 annual range and my guess is $650,000 for his assistant’s salaries. [redacted … … … … … … … … … …]. The head coach’s annual salary is $500,000 and the pool for assistants is $1.3 million. For comparison, our salary pool for 10 assistants is currently $520,000, which is third in the SoCon [redacted … … … … …]. Given our continuing need to absorb the out-of-state waiver and the recent reduction in our approved student fee request for 2012-13 by approximately $225,000, I am not comfortable spending from our current operating budget or reserves, especially as this could negatively impact funds for possible realignment. I do think that we will need to increase spending for the vacant assistant coaching positions, but this will be a fraction of costs for a new staff.
Our 2012 schedule is one of the best in recent memory. We will meet our ticket sales goal. We just completed a fundraising year where we reached $1 million by December 31 for the first time in history. We are currently more than 10% ahead of last year, which set a record for the Yosef Club.
3. Public Relations. Of the roughly 250 Division I football programs, Appalachian trails only Boise State in terms of number of games won during the past seven years. I have no doubt that it is in Appalachian’s best interest to allow a natural transition with Jerry versus terminating him, which is what this would be. Secondly, we all anticipate another difficult budget year for campus. Based on current issues, I do not see a viable way for you or me to explain to interested parties how we spent the referenced money. I also think we can be successful in 2012 if everyone is committed to making this work because we have already answered the chemistry questions of 2011 with current staff changes.
There are plenty of respectable coaches who will coach the 2012 season at Appalachian under this scenario once the go-ahead is given. I also do not think a transition year will negatively impact recruiting for several reasons. One, effective recruiting is an inexact science by nature. Second, over the last several years, kids being recruited by us have not come in with the expectation to play for Coach their entire college careers. Three, because of the unstable nature of coaching, no kid being recruited by any staff in America can be honestly told that they will play for that coach or staff for his entire career. In the SoCon alone, every team but Wofford and us changed head coaches in the past five years or, more accurately, during the college life of kids in the 2011 graduating class.
Potentially, new members of our 2012 staff could look like:
– Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks coach
- Bill Stewart, former head coach at West Virginia following Rich Rodriquez. He and Jerry are long-time friends and Bill knows our offense since West Virginia is where our staff went in 2004 to learn the spread offense.
– Offensive line coach
- Bill has a coach from that he wants to bring with him.
– Receivers coach
- We are targeting [redacted] for his leadership and knowledge of the offense
- [redacted] would move from the [redacted], a position that he has coached previously.
- [redacted … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …] and will do a great job in this minimum-salary position.
– Defensive secondary position
- Dale Jones is targeting a veteran college coach from [redacted] and/or defensive assistant at [redacted].
Ken, I realize the recommendation that I am making will require me to be more directly involved on a day to day basis in terms of leadership and chemistry within the staff and with the players. This is something that I will establish with Coach if you are on board with this recommendation. I beleive I can do this in a way that helps Coach and the football program if we have an agreement of my role from the beginning. Ken, the 8-3 season of 2011 was never about a lack of talent but solely about disjointed chemistry that eventually effected every person involved in the program. With these issues resolved, we have a team that can compete. There is nothing that would be more of a storybook ending to this journey for Appalachian, Coach Moore, and the thousands of Appalachian fans for our football team to win a 4th National Championship in Coach’s final year. I believe that with you and the Board of Trustee’s support we have a legitimate chance of making this happen.
Thanks for reading.