Washington State hires Hawaii's Nick Rolovich to succeed Mike Leach as coach

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The 2019 college football season may be over, but the coaching silly season is not. Washington State has hired Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich to the same position, WSU announced on Tuesday. Rolovich replaces Mike Leach, who left for Mississippi State in a surprising move just last week. A press conference to introduce Rolovich is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. PT.

"I'd like to thank President Schulz and Pat for the opportunity and the trust they have put in me to lead these young men," said Rolovich said in a statement. "Not only on the football field, but we truly believe we are raising tomorrow's husbands, fathers and community leaders. The excitement is real and it's honest. Most recently what Coach Leach has built gives us a high starting point. I appreciate him as a friend and what he has done to build the program."

While the details of Rolovich's contract weren't released by Washington State, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN reported that he will receive a five-year deal at $3 million annually. Shortly after word broke Monday night during the College Football Playoff National Championship, Rolovich posted the following picture on his Twitter account:

Rolovich just completed a 10-5 season with the Rainbow Warriors, which included an appearance in the Mountain West Championship Game against Boise State and a Hawaii Bowl win over BYU. It is the program's best season in a decade, with the last 10-win effort coming in 2010 under Greg McMackin. For his efforts, Rolovich was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year. 

Hawaii was in a far worse spot when Rolovich took over his alma mater in 2016. The Rainbow Warriors were coming off a 3-10 season and had not won more than three games since 2011; in fact, the 2010 season was the last time the program even enjoyed a winning record. Things instantly turned around under Rolovich, though, who guided the team to a 7-7 effort in his first season with a Hawaii Bowl win. Despite a 3-9 effort in 2017, the Rainbow Warriors rebounded with eight wins in 2018. The 18 wins over the last two seasons is the best two-year stretch for Hawaii since the June Jones era in the mid-2000s. 

Washington State is coming off a 6-7 season and a loss in the Cheez-It Bowl. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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