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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

MOE: Chun departure calls dynamic with former coaches into question

Leach left, Greeny left under Chun’s watch
After six year at WSU, Pat Chun leaves Pullman for Seattle, AD job at Washington.

The sentiment “Once a Coug, always a Coug” certainly feels a little sour on the tongue today.

Former Washington State University athletic director Pat Chun’s departure was confirmed Tuesday afternoon in a statement from WSU President Kirk Schulz and an announcement from University of Washington.

Despite all the highs experienced in 2023–24 —two NCAA Tournament appearances and semi-consistent national rankings for the football, soccer, volleyball and basketball teams, — the fall of the Pac-12 left a stain on this year’s athletics exploits.

But this, for many Cougs, is different. Because it’s not the fact that Chun is leaving; it’s where he’s going.

Conversation regarding Chun’s accomplishments on the Palouse has been circulating social media over the last day and a half, from his inheritance of a debt-riddled program and successful fundraising efforts to his handling of the ever-changing NIL landscape. 

There’s another point, however, that merits further thought.

When former WSU volleyball coach Jen Greeny announced her departure in late December 2023, there was one particular administrator absent from her farewell posted to social media. She extended gratitude to former WSU AD Bill Moos and now interim AD Anne McCoy for their support, but Chun’s name was nowhere to be seen.

Greeny’s departure is, arguably, the most telling loss WSU Athletics experienced in the 2023–24 school year. As one of the most decorated, successful coaches in the school’s history, she held deep ties to her alma mater and built a program worth Cougar pride.

Her choice to leave wasn’t inherently unexpected, what with the uncertainty of the Pac-12’s (and by extension, WSU’s) future at the time.

Chun, however, could have likely been another factor.

Greeny’s husband and former WSU assistant volleyball coach Burdette Greeny liked several posts on X Tuesday that indicated further animosity between the coaches and Chun. 

“It’s not Pat’s job as AD to be friends with his employees,” one post liked by Burdette read. “But speaking as a person who is manager of several employees, it’s also true that having icy or downright hostile relationships with your staff is suboptimal.”

This post was part of a thread that accredited Chun as being a key factor as to why the program was unable to retain other coaches, including Mike Leach and Kyle Smith.

The politics and movement of college athletics are always complex with numerous factors to take into account, such as pay and family dynamics. There is also no denying that, under Chun’s leadership, however, WSU has lost additional big names within the program’s history.

Chun would go on to hire Nick Rolovich to fill the vacancy left by Leach, and we all know how that story played out. Though Rolo and his firing have always been their own beast, this week’s events have spurred speculation on the relationship between Leach and Chun.

And, with the wounds of Smith’s departure still fresh, Chun’s move becomes even more frustrating for loyal Cougs. One can’t help but question what was happening behind closed doors.

As for what we know to be fact: Chun is now a Husky.

I honestly could not have cared less if Chun left for any other institution. Call it parasocial, but I know I’m not alone in this feeling of betrayal. Jumping ship is one thing; I can reason with and get behind better pay, better prospects, better whatever.

And it’s not to say Chun’s been dealt an easy hand on the Palouse; on the contrary, one can only imagine the stress brought on by the conversations had and decisions that needed to be made since August 2023 at the very least.

But turning to a rival? After the last six years and everything the Cougs have been through, I don’t know how Chun can make that move without a guilty conscience.

At the end of the day, we only have control over our future. What happens next is a waiting game and only time will tell just who will be given the reigns of Cougar athletics. A new era is right around the corner, for better or for worse.

But Chun’s six-year tenure in Pullman has been and always will be, marred. 

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About the Contributor
KEDZIE MOE, Evergreen Sports Reporter
Kedzie is a junior PR major from Seattle, Washington. She began writing in the sports section in the fall of 2023 and working as a copy editor in the spring of 2024. She is interested in the intersection of sports, culture and politics.

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  • Kam HMar 29, 2024 at 10:01 am

    Its not that he left for a rival. Its that she shit in his bed, amd now going to make another lie in it. Guess this is a good thing for Chun. Ditching town before the population realizes the damage he has caused, this up coming year, to their air b&b, restaurants and housing prices. He will never be welcomed back reguardless of where he landed.