Big-time investment goes into Leach hire

PULLMAN – Bill Moos said new WSU coach Mike Leach, the 2008 national coach of the year, will be paid $2.25 million a year, and there are additional incentive bonuses. "A lot of schools wanted him; he wanted us," Moos said at a hastily called press conference.

Bill Moos said it is mere coincidence that Mike Leach's annual compensation matches what Washington's Steve Sarkisian is guaranteed this year. Sarkisian gets a bump to $2.4 million next year.

If Leach were to leave WSU before five years, Moos said Leach would have to pay WSU $450,000 for each year remaining on his original contract. After five years, Leach would owe nothing.

Moos said he met with Leach on Nov. 16 in Key West, Fla., where Leach has been living since he was fired by Texas Tech prior to the 2009 Alamo Bowl. Moos said he stressed to Leach that he would not fire Wulff if the Cougars finished strong, but the team lost its two remaining games.

From 2000-09, Leach's Texas Tech teams featured high-scoring, crowd-pleasing offenses with plenty of passing. Moos has stressed the need to put "butts in seats" after years of subpar attendance at Washington State.

"I have spoken about the need to re-energize our fan base and take Cougar football to the next level," Moos said. "I believe the hiring of Mike Leach accomplishes both of those goals."

Leach, 50, compiled an 84-43 record at Texas Tech. All 10 of his teams posted winning records and went to bowl games. Leach's last two teams produced 28 All-Academic players in the Big 12 Conference.

WSU JUNIORS Jeff Tuel and Travis Long expressed regret that Wulff was fired, but both players said they're excited about the hiring of Leach.

"I can't wait," Tuel said. "If I'm throwing for as many yards as some of his guys were a game, then it's going to be a good year and I'm going to have a lot of fun."

Long said players are "definitely excited" about Leach. Moos said the "response of our donors has been fantastic."

LEACH IS SCHEDULED to be introduced at a noon press conference Tuesday in Pullman. Moos said previous commitments prevented Leach from arriving earlier.

"He's the only guy I talked to," Moos said, "and he's the only guy I wanted."

Prior to taking his first head coaching job at Tech, Leach had been offensive coordinator at such schools as Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Leach is the rare college football coach who did not play in college. Born in Susanville, Calif., he graduated from Cody (Wyo.) High School, Brigham Young University and the Pepperdine University School of Law.

"He's a fascinating individual and extremely smart," Moos said.

Moos selected assistant coaches Steve Morton and Chris Tormey and coordinator of football operations Shawn Deeds to continue working until decisions are made on a new staff. Moos said he will increase the assistant coaches payroll $500,000 to $1.8 million next season, which he believes is average for the Pac-12.

Moos said one of the primary reasons for a quick resolution was to hold together what he feels is a very good recruiting class. He expects Leach will retain all of the 19 recruits who have made verbal commitments to the Cougars but said that the final decision will rest with the new coach.

"At the end of the day, it's up to Mike Leach and his staff," Moos said.

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