Mike Leach Courtship Began In Mid-November; Hiring Represents Significant Investment By Bill Moos

The courtship of Mike Leach wasn't quick, nor was this a shotgun wedding. Bill Moos began to explore his options in November, just in case things didn't work out with Paul Wulff. He said he needed a backup plan and always comes prepared. That's where Leach came in.

There were no other options for Moos: He wanted Leach and only Leach. So on Nov. 16, the Wednesday after the Arizona State game and before the Utah game, Moos flew to Key West to spend the day with Leach. They met and connected, and began to talk about the WSU job. Leach was interested, Moos said, but understood the job was not open at the moment, and may not come open. If Wulff finished strong, there was still the possibility he would keep his job.

Following the loss to Utah, conversations between Leach's agent and WSU, through an intermediary, began to heat up. The two sides began talking specifics and working on further details. Again, the contract was not formally offered, Moos said, because the job was not open. But there was an understanding that Leach was genuinely interested.

Moos knew Leach was in demand, saying, "A lot of schools wanted Leach. He wanted us." As far as Moos knew, Leach never interviewed for another job, but he was ready to pull the trigger on the WSU position. In fact, the plan was not to announce the hire today, but when word leaked about the offer, Leach wanted to put an end to the speculation.

"Leach was hoping we could do this today," Moos said. "He didn't want to deceive other schools who wanted him"

Leach's contract spans five years and is worth a total of $2.25 million each year. There are incentive clauses and a buyout of $2 million to start. The buyout will decrease yearly during the life of the contract. Leach will also have $1.8 million per year to use for assistant coaching salaries, which is a $500,000 bump from the current stipend. Moos added there was no haggling over figures: He offered these numbers and Leach said, "Hey that's great."

Moos said this couldn't have been done without the Pac-12 deal, which would seem to be obvious. Washington State is now spending $4 million per year, and probably more, on its football coaching staff, which is the largest figure the school has ever invested.

Which is where you come in. Speaking to the fans and donors, Moos said, "I opened my checkbook for you. Time for you to open your checkbook for me." There's still scholarships that need to be covered and facilities upgrades that need funding. So, as always, Moos has his sales pitch pants on.

And with all the excitement generated by Leach, asking donors to open their wallets just got a little easier. This was the sizzle, but also the steak in the form of a coach who has the pedigree and a history of winning.

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