Just one day after firing Paul Wulff Washington State athletic director Bill Moos named his new head coach Wednesday; Mike Leach. The former Texas Tech head coach and CBS Sports analyst will now be handed the task of getting Washington State back into the bowl season and beyond. Leach’s bowl credentials were a major factor for Moos when he was looking for his new head coach.
In each of his 10 years in Lubbock Leach led the Red Raiders to a bowl game and the last time Leach was coaching on a team that didn’t clinch a bowl berth was 1997 with Kentucky. At that time Leach was the offensive coordinator and in his first season at Kentucky. From 1998 to 2009 Leach has taken his team to a bowl game predominantly due to his explosive passing offense.
“I believe you fill the seats with a flashy high-octane offense that lights up the score board and then come back and win the championship with defense.” Moos also said the fans and university needed a big name coach that would bring excitement and attention back to Pullman.
That’s exactly what Mike Leach will bring to Pullman starting in 2012.
Leach’s offense is a spread offense that relies heavily on the quarterback throwing the ball, not running-spread like Urban Meyer and Chip Kelly’s offense. During his time at Texas Tech Leach produced some of the productive passing quarterbacks in NCAA division one history with Seth Dodge, Graham Harrell and B.J. Symons.
Symons holds the record for most passing yards in a season with 5,833 and most passes attempted in a season with 719, both set in 2003. Graham Harrell holds the record for most passes completed with 512 (2007). With Washington State having Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday Leach will have no problem having immediate success in Pullman.
However this doesn’t only benefit Washington State University, it benefits the entire Pac-12. The Apple Cup rivalry will have relevance and fire again. Oregon will have another high octane offense to go up against, along with Arizona. It also means the conference becomes more than just Oregon/Stanford vs USC in the Pac-12 title game.
The hiring also makes Leach one of the highest paid coaches in the conference at a base salary of two million with incentives boosting it to $2.25 million per year over five years. With Washington State now in Leach’s hands he needs to get some of the recruits Wulff lost back in the fold to give either Tuel or Halliday decent options to throw to.
No matter if your a Trojan, a Duck or even a Husky fan you have to give credit to Bill Moos for taking the risk and banking on the reward he’s going to get with Mike Leach.
After nine years at Texas Tech Leach was fired after reports surfaced about his mishandling of players most notable Adam James, son of ESPN College football analyst Craig James. Even with two years off and pending law suits with both ESPN and Texas Tech Moos must have felt that wouldn’t be a problem moving forward.
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