A lot of questions come with the hiring of new Washington State football Coach Mike Leach. One of the first for Husky fans is how will this affect the UW program?
The first way that the Huskies will be affected by the hiring is through recruiting. In his nine years at Texas Tech, Leach brought in consistently good recruiting classes. From 2000 to 2009, Leach had three top 25 recruiting classes and seven top 50 classes according to Scout.com rankings.
These stats are especially impressive considering he was competing for recruits with three other in state football powerhouses: Texas, Texas A&M, and Baylor.
Leach has a reputation of being an offensive minded coach stemming back to his offensive coordinator days at Kentucky and Oklahoma during the 1990s, so it is reasonable to expect him to have an instant impact on offensive recruiting in the northwest. Perhaps this sudden coaching change will shift the momentum in the 2012 recruiting class by attracting some still undecided players such as Everett running back KeiVarae Russell. Who knows? That kind of big name and big personality tends to attract recruits to programs.
Leach may also have recruiting connections in the state of Texas which would allow him to draw talent from the large talent pool of the Lone Star state. Texas is regarded as one of the top states for football in the nation especially when it comes to talent.
The second way that the hire of Mike Leach affects the Huskies is that Leach has FBS experience and a past filled with winning at Texas Tech. This is a major difference from Paul Wulff, the prior head coach. Wulff never coached FBS football prior to his stint at WSU. Leach knows how to win and has had a career primarily filled with winning.
During his nine year tenure as the Red Raider coach, Leach led his team to a seven or more win season every year. Texas Tech had two seven win seasons in Leach’s first two seasons at the helm, but never had less than eight wins for the remaining seven years. He also had one Big 12 championship in a year when his team went 11-2.
However, despite these successes at Texas Tech, Leach is yet to experience a challenge as a head coach that he is about to walk into at Washington State. He is taking over a struggling program that has not experienced a winning record since 2003. Before this year’s 4 win season, the Cougars have had three straight double digit loss years.
When Leach started at Texas Tech, he took control of an already stable program. In fact, prior to his hiring in 2000, the Red Raiders had not had a losing season since 1992, seven years earlier. His signing on at WSU will truly be a test of Leach’s coaching skills as he attempts to build a program from nothing which is something he has not had to do before.
All in all, Leach to WSU is a huge grab for the Cougars, and it may affect the Huskies in terms of recruiting and by forcing them to play a coach every year that knows how to win at the FBS level.