With Wulff gone, Leach adds up 6 ways for WSU

THE WINNINGEST coach in Texas Tech history could hardly buy an interview with a BCS-conference school a year ago. Now Mike Leach is rumored to be at or near the top of every wish list from Topeka to Westwood. With Paul Wulff being let go today, Washington State will rocket up that list of alleged pursuers. For six very good reasons, the fit between Ol' Wazzu and Captain Air Raid would seem ideal.

Let us count the ways ...

1. THRIVING IN ISOLATION. Leach knows remote. He thrived in remote, winning consistently in Lubbock for 10 years. Other than Lubbock itself, there's little else in West Texas besides hellacious dust storms. The Palouse ain't Key West, but it's a heckuva a lot closer to it than western Texas. Granted, Leach was able to recruit partial academic qualifers at Tech, which isn't possible at WSU, but his remote record is head turning nonetheless.

2. PERSONALITY PLUS. Cougar fans, apparently smitten by years of Jim Sweeney, Jim Walden and Mike Price, like their head coaches to be on the quirky side. Paul Wulff was business-like and low key and you'd have thought he'd committed a cardinal sin because of it. Leach is so offbeat he makes Walden look like Don James. Leach loves to talk -- about football, pirates, fishing, economics, best sellers, you name it. Heck, he's even pals with movie star Matthew McConaughey.

3. MARQUESS WILSON. More precisely, Marquess plus Kristoff Williams, Bobby Ratliff, Dominique Williams, Henry Eaddy, Isiah Myers and Gino Simone. You talk about launching an Air Raid outpost in Pullman and that collection of wideouts is one great place to start. Toss in Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday and the makings are here for magic.

4. PASSION FOR THE GAME. A year ago there was something on the order of two dozen FBS coaching vacancies and Leach was able to land just a single interview (with Maryland) in the wake of his lawsuits against his former employer and ESPN. He wants to coach badly. There will be no shortage of fire in his belly.

5. TELEVISION TIME. The Pac-12's new deal puts the Cougs on the tube every week. Leach and his offense are made for the flat screen. This combination would be a considerable recruiting -- and fundraising? -- tool.

6. PROJECTING SKILLS. Leach lost more recruiting battles to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M than anyone this side of Baylor, yet he went 84-43 at Tech and led the Red Raiders to three 9-win seasons and one 11-win season. That's a record built on more than Xs and Os. It's built on finding hidden gems in the high school ranks and coaching them up.

Paul Wulff laid a solid foundation at WSU. He won't be allowed to finish his Herculean work (and make no mistake, the lifting he's done has been immense), but Mike Leach would seem uniquely suited to build upon it. Providing, of course, that Kansas and UCLA don't get in the way.

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