Mike Leach emerges to talk staff, recruiting

SEATTLE -- He emerged through a fog machine to a standing ovation during halftime of Washington State's basketball game against Pepperdine at KeyArena.

"Anytime it comes to winning football games, it's a partnership between players, coaches and fans," new WSU coach Mike Leach told 9,831 in attendance.

Leach afterward gave an update on the status of his coaching staff and recruiting in a brief meeting with reporters.

He said he and his family will return Friday to their Florida home to prepare to move to Pullman. Despite that, Leach said his thoughts never will be far from football.

There are seven assistants on the road recruiting, but Leach said he still is considering a couple of candidates to be his defensive coordinator.

"A lot of folks have bowl games and other responsibilities," he said.

Leach said his complete staff will not be revealed until after New Year's Day. When pressed on how many assistants he still needs to hire, he declined to specify a number.

"It wasn't my understanding that math would be a part of this," he quipped.

As noted in a recent CF.C blog, Leach inherited 19 verbal commitments from former coach Paul Wulff. But five of those players -- twin brothers Rashad and Vershad Jackson, both of whom projected as defensive backs, California WR Travis Gardner, Federal Way linebacker Jordan Pulu and California offensive lineman Fernando Villanueva are no longer part of the class.

Leach said his staff is still evaluating each of Wulff's commitments. He declined to specify how many would be retained.

As previously reported by CF.C, Leach has procured three known commitments this week and four total since assuming the head coaching job. A 6-foot-4, 205-pound linebacker, Khalil Pettway, and 5-10, 175-pound wide receiver Alex Jackson both played at Culver City High School in California, and had multiple Bowl Championship Subdivision offers.

Leach also has received commitments from 5-11, 190-pound safety Feddie Davey of Miami and 6-1, 215-pound linebacker Keith Ewing of Bellaire, Texas.

"A whole bunch of players have kind of opened their minds and listened to our message," said Leach. "They're excited about the Cougs and what we have to offer."

  • Leach was asked if he was surprised by the reception that he has received since he was introduced as WSU's coach earlier this month. "Everybody that I've ever met from Washington State has been immensely proud that they went there," Leach said. "It's just an honor to be in that family."

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