Miami New Times

Seen & Heard on Planet Coug: Donald Trump edition

DONALD TRUMP’s penchant for making headlines extends to the most unexpected corner: the sport s page. And not just any sports page but one directly related to Washington State football.

The Miami New Times today dug up a 2010 sports page Trump mailed to then-Miami president Donna Shalala. On it, Trump wrote Miami should hire Mike Leach (pictured above).  Trump’s note, per the Miami New Times, says:

You made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech — Look what's happened to them since he left — (they know its [unreadable]) — Jealous! Hire Coach Leach and you will be #1 —
Best Wishes,
Donald Trump

— And you can now get him for the right price
Best Wishes
Donald Trump

In the article today, writer Kyle Munzenrieder notes Shalala didn’t take Trump’s advice on Leach.

“Instead, he wound up at Washington State. After three losing seasons with the team, he finally posted a decent 9-4 record last season. In any event, Leach and the Washington State Cougars are decidedly not ‘#1.’ writes Munzenrieder.

Strangely, he didn’t note that the last of those nine wins came in the Sun Bowl -- against Miami. 

Leach, by the way, has an autographed picture of Trump on his office wall at WSU. For the the Miami New Times article, CLICK HERE.

SPEAKING OF TRUMP, who popularized the phrase “You’re fired,” on his TV show The Apprentice, one Pac-12 school seems to have taken that to heart.

WSU has two new assistant coaches in the fold this season (JaMarcus Shephard and Dave Nichol) but that’s nothing compared to Arizona and ASU.  

Rich Rodriguez at UA fired his entire defensive staff from last season.  The changes didn’t have to do with scheme as much as recruiting, Rodriguez told the Arizona Daily Star. New assistants Jahmile Addae and Donte Williams are both 33 years old, while defensive coordinator Marcel Yates is 38.

Arizona State did Arizona one better in the coaching change department – ASU's Todd Graham has five new assistant coaches this season, though that came about as ASU coaches moved on to other schools rather than being handed walking papers.

The Cougs play both Arizona schools this season. The Cougs travel to Tempe on Oct. 22.  Washington State then hosts Arizona Nov. 5 on Dad’s Weekend.

WSU won’t hold its first spring football practice until March 24.  Arizona, meanwhile, has its “spring game” today.  Arizona has six more spring practices but its spring game, which may hold little resemblance to a true scrimmage, gets underway at Friday at 5 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Arizona. 

COUGREAT BASKETBALLER Klay Thompson made the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

Thompson, who shares the March 7 SI cover with fellow Golden State Warriors Steph Curry and Draymond Green, is featured in the magazine’s story Joy ride: On the road with the Warriors.  You can read the story online HERE

It's the second time Thompson has been on the cover of SI. The only other Cougar we could find who hit the cover of SI was QB Ryan Leaf, back in September of 2000. Henry Rono, the remarkable track star of the late 1970s?  Drew Bledsoe? Jack Thompson? Nope -- although Bledsoe did on appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids a couple of times. Bledsoe also made the cover of The Sporting News, as did Thompson.

WASHINGTON STATE PLANS to announce its new president in April, if not before, the WSU committee in charge of the search said in a letter posted March 2 .

The search committee has narrowed the field from 200 to eight finalists.

“They include current university presidents and provosts as well as an individual from the private sector,” the letter reads. You can find it HERE. The new president will have some big shoes to fill. Elson Floyd, universally renowned during his eight years as the university's president, passed away on June 20, 2015 after a battle with cancer.

THE 4TH ANNUAL CougsFirst! Show and After-Party is set for March 10 at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

The event is free and offers up a tremendous opportunity to network with fellow Cougars and browse the booths of more than 100 Cougar-owned businesses displaying their products and services. is a proud co-sponsor of CougsFirst!  For more information and to register to attend, CLICK HERE

EVERY PAC-12 FOOTBALL PROGRAM this offseason made at least one assistant coaching change. The only school that made a head coaching change was USC, hiring Clay Helton after firing Steve Sarkisian midseason. Sarkisian is suing Southern Cal for wrongful termination, asking for $30 million in damages including $12.6 million in salary left on his contract.

Sarkisian agreed to binding arbitration this week to settle the disupte. In arbitration, the testimony, depositions and other documents are shielded from public record. Sarkisian has claimed USC dismissed him rather than allow him to seek treatment for alcoholism. USC has said the lawsuit as "full of half truths" and "outright falsehoods."

Washington State misses USC this season on the schedule for the second straight year.

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