Mike Leach Takes Reins Of Cougar Football Program

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is the next Washington State University football coach, Washington State University confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

The news was first broken early Wednesday afternoon by Bruce Feldman with CBSSports.com that Leach had verbally agreed to a deal that would bring him to the Palouse. It was subsequently confirmed by an anonymous official in the athletic department and by early Wednesday afternoon, WSU officials confirmed what everyone knew.

“This is an exciting day for Washington State University and Cougar football,” WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos said. “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.”

“I asked athletic director Bill Moos to select the best head football coach in the country and I am convinced that he has done exactly that,” WSU President Elson Floyd said.

Leach replaces former head coach Paul Wulff, who was fired Tuesday with a year left on his contract following a 9-40 record over the last four seasons that was capped off with a 38-21 loss last Saturday at the Apple Cup in Seattle.

In an announcement from the university released via Twitter, Coach Leach said, “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. 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.”

Leach last coached in 2009 at Texas Tech, where he amassed an 84-43 record over 10 seasons.

While talking about Wulff’s firing and the future of the program, Moos said that he felt that in order to be successful and win bowl games, WSU would need a top-tier coach that would be able to revitalize the program as well as energize both the fan base and boosters. During his comments, when asked about Leach, Moos spoke very highly of him and mentioned that Leach had run a camp for the Cougars last year, and that his record of 10 consecutive winning seasons coupled with multiple trips to the post-season was impressive.

Feldman says that Leach’s contract would be for 5 years and make him the third-highest paid coach in the Pac-12.

In addition to Washington State, Leach is also considered to be the top pick for the head coaching position at Kansas, which could be part of the reason WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos moved so quickly to secure Leach for the Cougar football program.