PULLMAN, Wash. (AP/CBSDFW.com) – Mike Leach is taking his pirate flag to the Pacific Northwest as the new head coach of the Washington State Cougars.
Leach replaces Paul Wulff, who was fired Tuesday after four losing seasons.
A press conference will be held Tuesday in Pullman, Wash. to announce Leach as the new coach. Reports say Leach has been offered a 5-year, $11 million deal.
“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 said Wednesday.
In 2009, Texas Tech fired Leach two days after suspending him after it was alleged he mistreated receiver Adam James, who had a concussion. Leach denied the allegations and later sued for wrongful termination.
Leach has said he suspects an $800,000 bonus he was due the next day was the reason he was fired.
In a separate case, Leach has also sued ESPN Inc. and a Dallas public relations firm, accusing them of libel and slander after he was fired. James is the son of ESPN analyst Craig James.
Leach has been out of coaching the last two seasons. During that time he has put out two books, worked in television and hosted a satellite radio show.
In a facebook posting SiriusXM College Sports Nation, which Leach is a contributor to, said:
In a bit of bittersweet news, we must report that our own Mike Leach will be leaving us, to become the next head football coach at Washington State University. Congrats on the new gig, Coach Leach, and the best of luck to you in Pullman!
Leach posted an 84-43 record at Texas Tech, taking the Red Raiders to nine bowl appearances in 10 seasons.
Leach was at the top of athletic director Bill Moos’ list of candidates, in part because Moos wants a high-powered offense at WSU. While at Texas Tech, Leach’s Air Raid offense routinely led the nation in passing and set numerous records.
Leach was offensive coordinator at Kentucky and Oklahoma before becoming the Red Raiders head coach in 2000.
Wulff was fired after posting a 9-40 record in four years during which he was charged with rebuilding a downtrodden football program. The Cougars finished 4-8 this season, the best record of his tenure.
Moos said Washington State needs to re-energize its fan base, in part to help pay for extensive renovations to Martin Stadium.
Construction has started on an $80 million project to add premium seating, luxury boxes and a new press box. Also on the drawing board is a $60 million football operations building.
Moos said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that WSU was at a “critical” juncture during which the program needed to either move forward or be content with being a league doormat.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)