Steve Kelley, The Seattle Times: He is the perfect marriage of place and predicament. He coached in Lubbock, Texas. Ever been to Lubbock? It's Ellensburg without the hustle and bustle. (That's just a joke, Lubbock.) It's as windy as Candlestick at sunset and as exciting as Colfax on Monday nights. But Leach made it a destination for football players. He brought the nation to Lubbock. History says he will do it in Pullman. He will fill Martin Stadium. He will cause a commotion.
John Blanchette, The Spokesman-Review: The delirium that set in among Cougs on campus and across the state dominated conversations and overwhelmed social media, to say nothing of the Cougar Athletic Fund website, which reportedly experienced a high-volume crash for a brief time Wednesday. Short of letting a Kardashian design the next set of football uniforms, the school couldn't have done anything more to purchase a sliver of national buzz than hire this mad scientist of throw-and-catch.
Dave Boling, The News Tribune: In 10 seasons in Lubbock, he led Texas Tech to bowl games every year. Parse that sentence. Lubbock? Hey, that's a relatively remote location … like Pullman. Texas Tech? Weren't the Red Raiders sort of a conference bottom-feeder compared to Big 12 powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma … like WSU in the Pac-12. And 10 years? He stayed there 10 years, with all that success? Could this, then, be a rare coach that might be both successful and non-migratory?
Ted Miller, ESPN: And, not unlike Pullman in the Pac-12, Lubbock, Texas, is considered a Big 12 backwater, a place where it's widely viewed as difficult to win consistently. Leach's replacement, Tommy Tuberville, whose team is 5-7 and 2-7 in the conference this season, is finding that out. So Leach knows what he's getting into, although after living in Key West, Fla., for a couple of years, he might need to invest in some cold-weather gear.
Vince Grippi, The Spokesman-Review: It is the richest contract in Washington State's athletic history. "This school has never hired a BCS coach," Moos said of the cost. "This just isn't a BCS coach. This is a coach that in 10 years went to 10 bowl games. We've got a coach that, I believe, his peers in this conference are going to take notice, and we are on our way, in my opinion, to a great future with Cougar football."
Stewart Mandell, Sports Illustrated: Mike Leach's two-year exile from coaching is over because a moribund Pac-12 program was able to do what Maryland and so many others could not: It got past the baggage. As a result, the Cougars won't be moribund much longer.
Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: (Rex) Richards said it'd be "unfair pressure" for the Cougars to think Leach can make them a bowl team next year. "But he'll turn them into a bowl team in the next two or three seasons," the former Tech lineman said. Before Leach arrived at Tech, the Red Raiders had posted seven .500-or-better seasons in a row. Richards said he thinks Leach can make even more of an impact on the Cougars, considering how far down they are.
Bud Withers, The Seattle Times: There were things about WSU that might have appealed to Leach over Kansas: He's a Western guy — born in Susanville, Calif., and raised in Cody, Wyo. — the school has a rich history of quarterbacks and two good ones on hand in Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday; the Pac-12 is far more stable than the Big 12; and Moos has a solid reputation as a football-minded athletic director.
Ivan Maisel, ESPN: It's not a surprise that Mike Leach ended up at Washington State. It's a surprise that it took so long for the two of them to find one another. Leach is an iconoclast who is most comfortable when he is off the beaten path. Pullman makes Lubbock look like Times Square. Mike Price lasted only five months when he left Washington State for Alabama because he went from zero scrutiny to a fishbowl. Leach can be his own very different man with the Cougars. The fans will love him for it as long as the team is respectable.
Pete Thamel, The New York Times: Leach made his name at Texas Tech, where his pass-happy spread offense set records, registered memorable upsets and changed the offensive paradigm of college football. He lands at a university, Washington State, that has not made a bowl since 2003 and has had only sporadic success because of its isolated location and lack of a recruiting base.
Steve Kelley, The Seattle Times: I know there
are many Husky fans who wish Wazzu would be Apple Cup patsies in perpetuity. But for the rest of us, the idea of regularly having two bowl-going universities in the same state is exciting and intriguing.
John Blanchette, The Spokesman-Review: That WSU now has the wherewithal to pony up like that for a coach and get facility upgrades off the ground must be a source of some wistfulness for Wulff, the former Cougar lineman who did the dirty work of repairing a broken program but managed only nine wins in four seasons. It was Wulff who said his firing with a year remaining on his contract revealed that "the innocence of Wazzu has been lost" – a feeling no doubt reinforced by the revelation that Moos first met with Leach back on Nov. 16.
What They're Saying: It's Leach Time Edition
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