Cougs and Red Raiders unite

PULLMAN -- Washington State football players are going to be faced with a new challenge starting tomorrow when Mike Leach is introduced as their new coach: Ongoing publicity on a national scale. There also appears to be another upshot of Leach's hiring: Texas Tech fans adopting Ol' Wazzu as their second team. And the word adopting is meant in the truest, ticket-buying sense.

The hundreds of comments on the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal website regarding Leach and Tommy Tuberville offer insight into how beloved the old pirate is by so many.

In a nutshell, most Texas Tech fans love Leach, the new coach of the Cougars. And most fans have grave doubts about Tuberville, who replaced Leach as Tech's coach last year.

What horrible sin did Tuberville commit? I mean, besides replacing Leach?

Well, one year after going 8-5 and becoming the first coach in school history to win a bowl game in his first season, Tuberville – a man with a sterling record in his previous coaching stops -- dared to finish 5-7 with a team that was hit with massive injuries.

For the Red Raiders, seeing their string of consecutive bowl games end at 11 and selling a school-record 46,565 season tickets one year after averaging a school-record 57,107 fans per home game … well, those are the types of numbers the Cougars desperately want.

Still, so many Texas Tech fans are calling for Tuberville's firing after two seasons that athletic director Kirby Hocutt felt compelled to tell the Avalanche-Journal that Tuberville is coming back next year. The Red Raiders twice gave up 66 points this year in their first losing season since 1992.

MEANWHILE, MANY TECH fans say they plan to attend Washington State games, buy Cougars merchandise and/or make donations to WSU in support of Leach.

"I am also now a WSU fan after nine years as a TTU season ticket holder," one fan wrote to the Avalanche-Journal. "I will now watch WSU on TV and send my donations to the WSU football program to support a winning coach. I really miss watching the Leach kind of football."

Another one fan wrote, "I guarantee you one thing. Leach and WSU will play in a BCS game before Tom T. and the Raiders do. Book it! Leach's firing will go down in history as the dumbest move in Tech history!"

One more comment: "Coach Leach was an innovator, a maverick, and able to adapt his style of play to win games. WSU made a great hire and can expect to get better quickly."

A new Facebook page started by Cougar fans as an online fan club for Leach has more than 2,500 members so far and one of those on the ground floor of it estimates that 20 percent of the members are Texas Tech fans. The page is called called Pirates of the Palouse, and from the sounds of the Tech fans there many of them have every intention of traveling to Pullman this fall to see their old captain in action.

Leach, who attended a long-planned family event this weekend, will be formally introduced at a press conference Tuesday at noon at WSU's student union building. The public is welcome to attend. The event will be broadcast at CF.C will have full coverage. Leach will also be in Seattle on Tuesday for an evening press gathering that the public is not able to attend.

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