BY SPNW Staff 03:31PM 11/30/2011

It’s official: Cougs make big-time hire in Leach

Washington State moves quickly to hire former Texas Tech coach, who in 10 years was surrounded by success and controversy.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is the new head football coach of the Washington State Cougars, replacing Paul Wulff. / Wiki Commons

One day after firing Paul Wulff, Washington State University has hired Mike Leach as head football coach,  most recently the head coach at Texas Tech. Leach has reached a verbal agreement on a five-year contract. Leach will receive a base salary of $2 million a year plus $250,000 in other income — the largest contract in WSU history.

The school released a statement Wednesday afternoon that read in part: “Leach has agreed in principle to a five-year contract (and) will be introduced at a press conference Tuesday, Dec. 6 at noon in Pullman.

“‘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,’” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd.

“‘This is an exciting day for Washington State University and Cougar football,’” said 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.’

‘Leach brings a proven record of winning to Pullman. In 10 seasons as a head coach, all at Texas Tech (2000-09) his program earned 10 bowl bids. In addition, the Susanville, Calif., native who was raised in Cody, Wyo., recorded a school-record 84 victories during his tenure.”

“‘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.’”

Leach, 50, amassed an 84-43 record at Texas Tech. He was fired in 2009 amid allegations that he mistreated a player who had suffered a concussion.

Under Wulff, who will be paid $800,000 for the final year of his five-year contract, the Cougars went 9-40, worst by any coach in school history, including 4-8 in 2011.

Leach attracted Moos because of the high-powered spread offense Leach ran at Texas Tech, which frequently led the nation in passing. Moos also stated that he needs to draw more fans in order to pay for renovations at Martin Stadium.

Leach worked as offensive coordinator at Kentucky (1997-98) and Oklahoma (1999) before taking the Texas Tech job in 2000. Since his firing in 2009, he has worked in television and hosted a satellite radio show.

In the past year, Leach has been considered by many in the national media to be a candidate for the college coaching vacancies at Kansas, Miami, Maryland and Minnesota.


  • Artthiel

    Thanks for caring. We had a momentary problem with our content management system, which ended publishing the story before it was ready. The clean version is up, and my column will be there shortly. Apologies for the goof — Art