The Cougs are enjoying the perks of the program's best start since 2001. They've climbed the rankings, and Luke Falk has entered the Heisman conversation. But there's also a downside to this sort of thing for fans - coaching rumors. Now there are no actual reports of anyone going after Mike Leach - so this conversation is admittedly premature. But if WSU keeps doing what they're doing, that could come in a couple months.
What sparked this was a comment from Lindsay Schnell, a very good reporter for USA Today Sports who has also covered the Pac-12 for Sports Illustrated. When asked on the Football Four Podcast if she thinks Leach will be at WSU next year she said, "I would guess no. I've thought for a while that he was ready to jump if there was a good job that fit him. And if they continue to have this success I don't see why people wouldn't come after him."
So why would Leach leave? One factor Schnell mentioned was the challenge of recruiting to Pullman.
Leach actually commented on this Tuesday, saying it was because of preconceived notions. He went on to say, "It sells really well once you get somebody here because we're a true college town and there is a lot of energy here. Everywhere you go it's all students and it's all centered around the university. I think that's pretty captivating to anybody. But you kind of have to educate them on where Pullman is, what it's like and all that stuff."
Leach has undoubtedly raised the talent level at WSU the last few years - and he's not one to get caught up in recruiting grades, as much as finding players that fit his and Alex Grinch's systems.
As Lindsay said - it would have to be the right fit. So what jobs might be available?
Mizzou is lateral move. Not going back to Texas for obvious reasons. Tenn and LSU maybe but SEC schools fear originality— Mike Clark (@MikeC_WSU) October 4, 2017
The thing is, Leach doesn't seem to be the type that would get lured by a school’s brand name or history. He made his name, and has always seemed perfectly content at places like Texas Tech and WSU, who don't have the profile of those other schools.
Leach will never coach in the state of Texas again because they have sovereign immunity.— WazzuCrew11 (@WazzuCrew11) October 4, 2017
Mike Leach seems very content in Pullman, from his daily three-mile walk to campus, to the fans and game day environment he's raved about. He weathered three tough seasons to develop a consistent winner, and now a 5-and-0 squad and his most promising team yet.
Leach doesn't seem like the type that would mess with a good thing.
Plus, he's 56, $3 million per year and an AD who wants him around at any cost at the lowest pressure job in the Pac-12.— Michael Preston (@RM_Preston) October 4, 2017
Former Wazzu wideout River Cracraft doesn't think Coug fans have anything to worry about.
“He's not going anywhere,” Cracraft said. “He loves Pullman, the coaches love Pullman. Everybody wants to be part of something special. If we finish the season undefeated and win the National Championship he still wouldn’t leave, because why would you? You've developed this program and now you're gonna get out, what's a better place?
“I don't think he's going anywhere,” Cracraft continued. “I don't even think that's in the back of his mind. There's a lot of stuff that goes on in that guy's head and I really don't think that that's one of them.”
Lindsay Schnell brought up a couple very good reasons why Leach wouldn't go anywhere. First, the facilities at WSU are great, which is related to the second point.
I'll say this - if an when Moos retires all bets are off.— Geoff O'Neil 🔥 (@GeoffONeil) October 4, 2017
WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos has done a lot to help Leach, like stadium and facility upgrades, as well as raises for his assistants. They've got a good relationship, and you can bet Moos would do anything in his power to keep Leach around.
Schools may in fact make a run at Leach in the next couple months, but I don't think he's going anywhere.