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Leach taking over at Washington State

Posted on: November 30, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:08 pm
    As we first reported, Mike Leach is taking over as the head coach at Washington State. Leach, who was offered the position late Tuesday afternoon, agreed to a five-year contract. Leach will travel to Washington on Monday and be introduced at a press conference Tuesday, Dec. 6 at noon in Pullman.

"This is an exciting day for Washington State University and Cougar football," said Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. "I have spoken about the need to re-energize our fan base and take Cougar football to the next level. I believe the hiring of Mike Leach accomplishes both of those goals. His credentials speak for themselves." 
The 50-year-old Leach replaces Paul Wulff, who was dismissed Tuesday morning.  The hiring of Leach would seem to mesh with  Moos' comment earlier at the press conference where he announced Wullf's firing that he likes a "flashy, high-octane offense that lights up the scoreboard."

"First off I would like to express my appreciation to Paul Wulff for all his efforts and dedication to Washington State and wish him the best in the future," said Leach. "It's an honor to have the opportunity to work with Bill Moos, who is a legend in this business. To have the opportunity as a coach to work with someone like that is an experience few head coaches get. Along with Bill and Dr. Floyd, I'm excited about being a part of the future of Washington State.

"I have always admired the tradition of Washington State. It's a university on the move that is experiencing growth. I'm excited about what they are doing with the facilities and it's a team that has battled through some hard times and shows great promise in the future. I'm proud to be a part of this team."

Wulff was 9-40 in four seasons at Washington State and just 4-32 in league play. The Cougars program has struggled for much of the past decade. Washington State hasn't been to a bowl game in eight years. But prior to this stretch, there had been quite a bit of success, with two Rose Bowl appearances and four Top 10 finishes between the 1997 and 2003 seasons.
Under Wulff, a former Washington State offensive lineman, the Cougars did make strides in the past two years. They were 4-8 this season while being hit hard by injury. Still, the Cougars lost seven of their final eight games. They had to play three different quarterbacks, losing starter Jeff Tuel for much of the season. They ranked 48th in the country in scoring, but just seventh in the Pac-12. In 2010, the Cougars were 106th in scoring and dead last in the Pac-12. Most of the talent Wulff had assembled will be back in 2012, including Tuel and standout wide receiver Marquess Wilson. Both figure to be good fits in Leach's Air-Raid system.

In his 10 seasons at Texas Tech, Leach had a career record of 84-43 and was the architect of some of the most prolific offenses in college football history. Eight times in those 10 seasons, one of his quarterbacks led the nation in passing. The year before Leach arrived in Lubbock, the Red Raiders averaged 23 points per game. By Leach's second season, they averaged over 35 ppg and they never averaged less than 33 points the rest of his decade running the program. The Red Raiders finished in the top 25 rankings in five of his last six seasons at Tech.

His teams had Top 10 wins over No. 4 Cal (2004); No. 3 Oklahoma (2007); No. 1 Texas (2008) and No. 8 Oklahoma State (2008). In 2008, he won national Coach of the Year honors. The Wyoming native was the only coach in Texas Tech history to lead his team to bowl games every year.

At Texas Tech, Leach also inherited a program that had one of the lowest graduation rates in college football and was on academic probation. He eventually turned it into one that had the highest graduation rate of any public institution in major college football. However, he was fired from Tech in December, 2009 regular season after allegations that he had mistreated a player, Adam James, the son of ESPN announcer Craig James.

The controversy led to Leach to sue Texas Tech for breach of contract and file suit against ESPN and James for defamation. Both cases are still unresolved.

Full disclosure: I co-authored Leach's 2011 book Swing Your Sword, which details, among other things, his path into coaching, his offensive system as well as the circumstances surrounding what happened with him and Texas Tech in his exit from the Big 12 school.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Dec 1, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:47 pm

Leach taking over at Washington State

I think that Mike will turn around Washington State's  football program, pretty close to being immediatly. He done miracles at Texas Tech. Although basically I am a Longhorn fan, going way back, I am also a Mike Leach fan! Get some fireworks going, for Washington State, Mike. Start recruiting down here in Texas where it is a religion.

Since: Apr 2, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:47 pm

Leach taking over at Washington State

Well written article!
I've been waiting to see what school would bring Mike Leach back following the Craig James inspired firing at Texas Tech. Tech's loss is Washington State's gain. And college football fans everywhere gain as WSU will return to its former competitive status... a rising tide lifts all boats. More than one school that had the opportunity to ignore the ESPN falsification of the Leach - baby James story and hire a great coach. Congrats to WSU and good luck to Coach Leach! Go Hogs! Would enjoy seeing a WSU vs. Arkansas match-up soon. Leach vs Patrino... now that  would be some REAL gridiron fireworks. 

Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:37 pm

Leach taking over at Washington State

Good for Mike Leach.  He is a great coach that got the shaft from the lying mothership.  Too bad for me that I don't care for Wash St and won't get to see his games on the east coast.  Not sure why Maryland didn't step up and take the chance after the fridge left.  There is some baggage there, but we all know the mothership runs the ACC, so I'm sure that had some pressure towards MD.

Since: Sep 4, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:04 pm

Leach taking over at Washington State

My alma mater's( Texas Tech) loss is WSU's gain. Good for the Coogs! With decent offensive talent, Leach will transform the program into a winning program immeditely. Mike will also recruit well in talent rich Texas. Receivers, offensive linemen, and QB's love the Leach offense. No one coach's it quite like Mike either. Even his harshest critics cannot deny he is a genius at offense. I can't wait to watch the Cougars next year. The Pac 12 will soon learn what the Big 12 already learned. It is no fun to go up against that offense! They will make good defenses look bad. What a match-up when Oregon plays WSU. Final score 84-77!

Since: Nov 30, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:56 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

This is the most excited I've been in a few years about college football.  Coach Leach brought such pride to Tech and NOBODY wanted to come to Jones Stadium to play against the Red Raiders.  With the laid back atmosphere on the West Coast, Leach will flourish and the Cougars will love him and and back him... time to get nasty WSU, make Coach Leach proud and Get 'Ur Swords Up!

Since: Dec 1, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:16 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

So glad to see Washington State get Mike Leach.  Great coach.  Too bad that Craig "baby" James and ESPN used their power and position to slander Leach.  Craig James should have been fired.  ESPN should have been fined and hopefully will by the judge hearing this case. 

Since: Dec 1, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:36 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

While at Tech, I loved watching Coach Leach call that crazy offense. Once he was gone, I have not been able to get into college football as much. I'm excited to see the Ol' Pirate on the sideline again. Good luck WSU. You will enjoy Coach Leach. BTW....He will go for it on 4th and 8 on his own 33 yard line!!

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:23 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Well my pipe dream is over. I was hoping that a miracle would take place and Fresno State would fire Hill and somehow find the duckets to hire Leach. I guess Leach wouldn't even think about coming to Fresno, he would probably stay retired before he would come here. Well my new pipe dream is that the alumnai will join together, put pressure on the fresno State officials to get rid of Hill and hire Turner Gill. He did a wonderful job at Buffalo, maybe Kansas just wasn't in the cards for him.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:13 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Congrats to Leach. I thought there were some other openings that he would be perfect for, but he was probably thinking he needed to jump at the first good offer that came his way, due to the fact that his "telling it like it is" interview style turns off most administrators and has taken him out of the running for some jobs in recent years (the most obvious one being Maryland last year).

Washington State will certainly play a wide open style of offensive football that will be entertaining to their fan base and allow the Coogs to recruit good players that can throw and catch the football.

Leach's biggest obstacle will be to develop quality and depth on both the offensive and defensive lines.

If Washington State can hold opponents to point totals in the high 20s to low 30s, they will wiin a lot of games because nobody in the Pac 12 plays any defense.

Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:50 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

"I have always admired the tradition of Washington State. It's a university on the move that is experiencing growth. I'm excited about what they are doing with the facilities and it's a team that has battled through some hard times and shows great promise in the future. I'm proud to be a part of this team."

Bologna (baloney) alert! In particular sentence one. That said, I hope he turns the program around.

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