Bill Moos caught himself Monday saying "us" about the UNLV athletic department he hopes to run.
"I'm talking like I already have the job," said the 58-year-old former Oregon athletic director, one of three finalists for UNLV's AD position.
That remains to be seen.
UNLV president Neal Smatresk could make a decision as soon as tonight, after interviewing the final candidate, Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood.
About 50 people showed up for Moos' 50-minute question-and-answer session Monday in the student union ballroom, more than double the number who attended Friday's public forum with Washington State senior associate athletic director John Johnson.
The audience didn't seem to mind Moos' repeated use of "we," "us" and "our" in reference to UNLV, applauding him at the end of the session.
The new AD's first job will be hiring a replacement for fired football coach Mike Sanford.
Moos said he has a list of about five to seven potential head coaches with staffs ready to go. He did not disclose their names.
Hiring someone with successful head coaching experience is important, Moos said.
"I think there's enough of them out there that would like to come here if the circumstances are right," he said.
Oregon's success in football, Moos said, was key to boosting the status of the entire athletic department.
He was Oregon's AD from 1995 to 2007, and Moos said 75 percent of the school's revenue during that time came from football.
The Ducks' athletic budget went from $18 million to more than $42 million during Moos' tenure, boosted largely by a renovation of Autzen Stadium that included selling 32 luxury suites at $45,000 per year. Oregon's athletic budget is now $66 million.
If he is hired as UNLV's athletic director, Moos said, it would be important to make a strong investment in hiring a football coach and staff to compete financially with the Mountain West Conference powers.
"My saying is don't step over the dollars to get the nickels," said Moos, who also served as Montana's AD from 1990 to 1995. "Get a good quality coach. Pay him, pay the assistants and fill that stadium. And then you're not talking about $100,000 (savings) here, because you make the $100,000 from hot dog sales. You've got to think big.
"If you want a first-rate football coach, then you've got to make this a destination and not a steppingstone. Does this next coach want to come in here and win seven games two years in a row and be off to Minnesota, or do you want to pay him and his staff so they can build something here that's really special?"
He said a city of roughly 2 million residents that is built on flash provides an opportunity for a successful and exciting athletic program that would create a buzz in the community and help attract top athletes.
But it's also important to come up with a solid long-range plan, he said.
"We've got to be on a mission," Moos said. "I know how to do that because we've done it in the past. I'm proud of our record and how we did it, as well."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.