Coach Leach: "I'm excited to be here and excited to stay here"

Leach introduced as new WSU football coach before packed crowd in Pullman

Published On: Dec 06 2011 10:25:21 AM PST   Updated On: Dec 06 2011 06:26:01 AM PST
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Before a packed ballroom in the Compton Union Building Tuesday afternoon, Mike Leach was welcomed aboard as the new head coach of the WSU football program.

Leach flew into Pullman early Tuesday and was introduced to the crowd by Provost Warwick Bayly and Athletic Director Bill Moos; President Elson Floyd was reportedly sick and could not attend the press conference.

In his introduction to the man taking over the football program from Paul Wulff, Moos said of Leach that, "I talked to one man and I only wanted one man."

The crowed got on its feet, the ballroom erupting in thunderous applause as Leach took to the podium, posing briefing with Moos and a Cougar jersey, before making some brief remarks about carrying on the legacy of the WSU football program, thanking all of the coaches - Paul Wulff, Bill Doba, Mike Price, Dennis Erickson and Jim Walden - that built the foundation that Leach will be working with moving forward.

"I'm thrilled to be back coaching ? there's nothing like the unity and working together with a team," Leach said.

When asked about his long-term plans for building the program, Leach's plan was straightforward and simple: "I have one day plans, I plan to win one game a week."

Coach Leach said that he will be working to bring together his staff in the coming days, but confirmed he has hired Dave Emerick.

Emerick spent the last two seasons on former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops' staff. Stoops' replacement, Rich Rodriguez, confirmed the report with the Arizona Republic on Monday. Emerick worked with Leach for six seasons while the two were at Texas Tech and they have known each other since he was at the University of Kentucky.

Leach, hired last week to replace Paul Wulff as WSU's head football coach, has been given $1.8 Million a year to fill out his coaching staff.

As for the possibility that Coach Leach would be coming in for a few years to help build the program only to leave, he was again straightforward in his response: "I'm excited to be here and excited to stay here."

A record of just 9-40 in the last four years has left many Cougar faithful bleeding crimson on the Palouse, but the arrival of a big name coach with a big time record instantly set hearts afire for victory and the smell of roses.

"I came back to Washington State to go to the Rose Bowl and we're going to go there," Bill Moos said.

There were students and instructors alike who ditched class to attend Coach Leach's press conference, and many people used the same word to describe the atmosphere at the event: Exciting.

Hundreds of fans crowded into the CUB, the ballroom filled with crimson and gray and the occasional pirate black in the mix.

"There is going to be people dressed as pirates all over the place, it's going to be insane next fall," student Jeremy Feign said.

Part of the fanfare around Leach's arrival was also about the new coach's antics on and off the field.

"I used to watch him at Texas Tech because he was so exciting to watch. He brought so much energy I guess," student Taylor Watson said.

And it probably be safe to say that YouTube videos featuring Mike Leach scored thousands of views in the last several days.

"Ever since he got hired we've been looking at YouTube videos of him down at Texas Tech," student Jeff Honnold said.

A few Cougar fans expressed sadness for the departing Coach Paul Wulff and the things he did to help build the program, but agree its time to hoist their flag in support of Coach Leach.

"Definitely glad to see what he can do, especially with Marquess Wilson and Jeff Tuel connecting up for a big Air Raid Offense," student Dan Shirley said.

KXLY4's Aaron Luna and KXLY4 Sports Director Ben Kaplan contributed to this report.RELATED CONTENT: SLIDESHOW: VIDEO: Coach Mike Leach introduced to Washington State University