PULLMAN, Wash. Washington State University announced Wednesday that Mike Leach has been named the Cougars’ head football coach. Leach, who agreed in principle to a five-year contract, 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,” he said. “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,” Leach said. “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.”
During his tenure, his offense led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders were second in passing offense and fourth in total offense with both marks tops among BCS conference schools.
In 2008, Texas Tech set a program record with 11 regular-season wins while tying the overall victory record. The Red Raiders were ranked as high as second in the nation and four student-athletes earned All-America First Team status.
Leach also received three national coach of the year awards, the Woody Hayes Award, the Howie Long/FieldTurf Coach of the Year and George Munger Award. Quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree finished fourth and fifth, respectively in the Heisman Trophy voting.
During Leach’s time in Lubbock, Texas, the Red Raiders increased their yards per game by more than 150 and averaged nearly 20 points more per outing. In the passing game, Texas Tech threw for about 300 yards more per game in the decade Leach was at the helm.
Defensively, Texas Tech held opponents without an offensive touchdown a dozen times under Leach, including seven shutouts. Three of the whitewashes came in 2000 when the Red Raiders tied for the national lead.
Texas Tech special teams also improved under Leach as placekicker Alex Trlica (2004-07) set NCAA records for career extra points and extra points without a miss (233). His 377 points ranked in the NCAA career top 10 among kickers.
While Leach was the head coach, 17 Red Raiders were drafted by NFL teams. During his last-two seasons at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders earned 28 Big 12 All-Academic honors.
Prior to Texas Tech Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999), as the Sooners set six Big 12 Conference and 17 school records. He spent two seasons in a similar capacity at Kentucky (1997-98), the only two seasons in school history in which it passed for more than 4,000 yards while setting six NCAA and 41 Southeastern Conference records.
From 1992-96 he served as offensive coordinator at Valdosta State, where his offense broke several national, conference and school records, capping his final season by being named the 1996 Division II Offensive Coordinator of the Year by the American Football Quarterly magazine.
Leach was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Iowa Wesleyan (1989-91) and his quarterbacks broke 26 NAIA records during those three seasons. In 1989, he was the head coach for Pori, Finland in the European League. The linebackers coach at College of the Desert (1988), Leach’s coaching career began at Cal Poly (1987) where he mentored the offensive line.
After graduating with honors from BYU in 1983, Leach earned a master’s degree from the U.S. Sports Academy and his law degree from Pepperdine, where he graduated in the top one-third of his class.
Leach and his wife Sharon have four children.