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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 4:13 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

The idea of a 20-24 team conference is just ridiculous. You might as well break it down into four six team divisions and then have two playoff games just to get to the conference championship. But beyond this you would have elimination of atleast two of the other major conferences. The sec would absorb the best and brightest from the east coast schools. So in a way it sounds awesome to go that big conference wise, but at some point conference expansion takes away from the game. However if the Pac12 were to eat the better members of the Mountain west and the remaining texas schools and say one of the kansas schools to get there, that would leave the oklahoma schools and KU. Needless to say for basketball it would be a win win for both sets. But more than likely state schools would trend together. TAMU and MO jumping ship to the SEC this year was really more about the SEC prempting the PAC and I do not doubt that we will see longer college seasons, and with the idea of these super conferences the national championship game would be more along the NFL format, where the top team from the east and west would battle it out in the final game to rule them all.

The cons to this is we would lose alot of the pagentry that makes college football as much fun as it is. Traditions do mean something; although I have always thought the BCS games should begin to shake things up. Locking in the conferences into certain set games in the BCS system has always annoyed me, because wouldnt you want to see USC/Alabama one year playing in the orange bowl, or Oklahoma and say Michigan down in the Sugar. Im throwing out some big names but I mean just games that dont happen in these bowl games because of Conference tie ins.

Another thing I would like to see go away is the Big East's automatic tie in, which is pretty much a gimme now. The mountain west has a strong case to pick that up just for the fact that Boise is there, and the overall product is better than what the big east is putting out. If we were talking basketball my story would be different but the MW has a better case for football. The Big east is going to get nailed to the floor of non aq unless they finally pull Notre Damne into the fold and perhaps marshall and ohio. They arent the best teams in the country but they are likely among the few who would consider the big east at this point.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:10 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Well this will keep Washington State at secod tier level.  Leach doesn't beleive in defense, just lots of offensive statistics.  But this year has put an exclamation point on the fact that defense wins championships.

Since: Sep 19, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:42 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

If everybody hates ESPN, stop watching and get your sport news somewhere else.

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:12 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Dude....Arizona is in the northern division and Washington State is in the southern division....Or is it the other way around...?  The Pac-12 only plays 9 conference games per year so Arizona and Washington State will not meet every year.  On the other hand, the California schools will meet every year.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:56 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Every 4 years? Dude! You do know that they both coach in the same conference. But of course once the PAC expands to 20 teams (I would like to see it go to 24) it probably will be every 4 years that these two head coaches face each other.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:06 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

For those who don't know, 'skreffty' is one of the screen names used by Kent Hance, the Texas Tech Chancellor who colluded with the Craig 'Baby' James clan a couple of years ago to orchestrate a fraud that resulted in Mike Leach being dismissed. 

Since: Jun 10, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:45 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

 I wish Maryland had signed Leach when they had the chance. Good luck to him and Wash State. I hope Leach wins both of his court cases. 

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:43 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

No - I don't even like his commentary and I was angry when I saw him interjecting personal thoughts into the investigation.  I would have thought that ESPN would have tried to remain unbiased during the whole Leach-James scandal.  I think that Leach has a very strong case against TTU, ESPN, and Craig James and I hope that he gets all of the money that he is due (and then some) because I don't think that due diligence was done when firing Leach.  I think Leach was fired for two reasons: first, Craig James was pressuring Leach to get his son more playing time and when that didn't work he began complaining to the chancellor.  The chancellor was already angry that Leach was going to be getting a huge raise at the end of the season so they deciced to fire him based upon allegations taken out of context. 

I think James will "get his" when he is on the losing side of the defamation suit.  Long live the Pirate! 

Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:31 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

Does anyone out there like Craig James??  Why does he have a job?

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:30 am

Leach taking over at Washington State

First - let me say to the WSU fans out there, today is the first day of the rest of your life and the misery you knew as your school's football is officially OVER.  I am an Oklahoma State graduate and over the course of the past decade or so Mike Leach has had a mini-rivalry going with my school as our programs battled it out every year until the final snap because both teams had incredible offenses with little-to-no defense.  Mike Leach is nearly solely responsible for the pass-heavy attack seen at Houston, West Virginia, Southern Mississippi, Akron, and my school, Oklahoma State (among others).  Dana Holgerson developed the passing and running attack used at Houston, Oklahoma State, and now West Virginia and is "credited" with fixing each school's offensive issues or in some cases like at Oklahoma State - enhancing an already fantastic attack.  Make no doubt about it folks, Mike Leach was the inventor of the offenses you see at all of those schools with Holgerson's own touches mixed in.  Everything he needed to know about offense was taught to Holgerson by Leach.

You cannot knock success.  Mike Leach took Texas Tech to a bowl game EVERY year he was coach and he lost very few games by comparison to other schools in the FBS and he routinely finished 3-4 in the overall Big 12 standings every year - due to the lack of a good defense Texas Tech was rarely able to beat Oklahoma and Texas, though Leach did beat each once (when both programs were among the very best in college football - both are experiencing some changes right now with a lot of young players).  Although I hated facing Mike Leach on the football field every year I could not argue with Leach's ability to change a game, develop sharp and accurate quarterbacks, and develop excellent wide receivers.  Most recently two of Leach's receivers are elite NFL performers:  Michael Crabtree (49ers first round draft pick) and Wes Welker (5th round pick by Miami, traded to Patriots). 
To further enhance Leach's legacy is to read the biography of Wes Welker.  If you do not follow the NFL you need ot know that Wes Welker is Tom Brady's go-to-guy with the Patriots and Welker is among the very best slot receivers in the NFL.  Welker played high school football at a small private school in Oklahoma City.  Welker was an incredible athlete and played multiple positions on the team (Receiver, punt returner, punter, place kicker, cornerback, and occasionally, QB).  Despite Welker setting school records that still stand to this day Welker received NO offers to play FBS division college football almost completely due to his short stature.  Welker's coach sent a tape of Welker to Leach at Texas Tech and Welker was invited to visit the campus and was awarded a scholarship and was a key contributor to the Tech team during his tenure; Mike Leach was the only coach out of 124 (I think) other schools in the FBS division to notice that Welker possessed rare skill, desire, smarts, and athletic ability and was the only coach to offer him a scholarship. 
The situation with Adam James was an unfortunate one.  I think that Leach has a strong case because I believe the allegations were blown out of proportion and the Jones situation was used as a way to fire Leach because he was due a very significant raise based upon all of his accompishments and his long tenure with the team.  I think that the Chancellor of the school was very upset that the highest paid professional at Texas Tech was the football coach.  The chancellor forgot to not bite the hand that feeds you because Leach's success lead to sell-out crowds, endorsement deals, and football success never before seen at a school located in the middle of nowhere.
I think that Leach got a raw deal at Texas Tech and I think that the helicopter parents associated with Craig James' fame as a former pro player and ESPN analyst.  I think that Leach was tired of James' childish behavior and did send him to a closet to be by himself but I think that the whole thing was taken out of context and it was used as an excuse to fire Leach because he was not liked by the Chancellor.  I recall that Bobby Knight had a similar problem with Texas Tech officials. 

The bottom line is if you are a Washington State fan good things are coming.  Your period of suffering and sorrow is over as Leach will install the same program he installed at Texas Tech at your school.  The program Leach runs will be clean, will have a high graduation rate, and will rank among the best in the Pac-12 within 2-3 years.  I don't know if Leach can work his magic overnight and have WSU as a contender in 2012 but I guess we will have to wait and see.  I guarantee that WSU is at least going to the Rose Bowl at some point in the next four years.  I also bet that all of the coaches at the other Pac-12 schools are nervous - especially Chip Kelly because his offensive superpower in Oregon may have just been exceeded now that Leach is a member of the league. 
I wish Mike Leach the best of luck in the future and I thank him for not returning to the Big 12 because I was tired of facing him - that means good things for WSU!  Go Cougars!       

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or