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Jim Mastro leaves WSU for Oregon

Only one assistant remains from Mike Leach’s original staff

NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

And then, there was one. With the disappointing news that Oregon once again poached a top flight WSU assistant, this time running backs coach Jim Mastro, offensive line coach Clay McGuire stands as the only coach who was on Mike Leach’s original coaching staff. I don’t count Jason Loscalzo, Dave Emerick etc. because, while they’re essential to WSU’s success, they’re not on-field coaches.

Mastro’s departure has been in the works for a while, and there’s good reason to believe that he agonized over the decision. In the end, it probably came down to an opportunity to advance his career, along with financial security. Mastro will have the title of running game coordinator, and as fellow writer mentioned, will likely have more influence over the offense than he ever would have under Leach.

Additionally, the Seattle Times is reporting that Mastro’s three year contract will pay him $375,000 per season, which is $124,000 more than WSU paid him in 2017. My guess is that WSU tried to make a competitive offer, but anyone who follows the Cougars is well aware of their budget issues. Oregon has no such issues, and we can assume that WSU’s offer couldn’t come very close to matching Oregon’s Swiss bank vault. Given the numbers above, Mastro would have been crazy not to take the deal. Even one of his star players thinks so.

Reading between the lines, that tweet suggests that Mastro handled his exit in the classiest way possible. He’s certainly a better example to follow on that front than cowards like Bobby Petrino and Todd Graham. One aside - I wonder how Max Borghi feels about all of this.

Mastro is now the third assistant to leave WSU for Oregon, following Dave Yost and Joe Sala’vea. Whether Yost’s loss was impactful could be debated, but I’ll take the side that WSU didn’t suffer at all when he left, seeing as how he didn’t recruit. The jury is still out on Sala’vea, as new defensive line coach Jeff Phelps seems to be doing a solid job. One area where Sala’vea’s departure will almost certainly be felt is recruiting in Samoa. Hopefully WSU can overcome that.

Mastro’s departure hurts, badly. Finding the next running backs coach now falls upon head man Mike Leach. Leach has done pretty well when it comes to replacing assistants at WSU, and given that he’s an offensive-minded guy, I expect Mastro’s replacement to be at least adequate. Whoever it is needs to be a damn good recruiter, because Mastro excelled in that area. Best of luck at Oregon, coach Mastro. Here’s hoping the Cougs beat your ass next season.


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Nearly one month before his departure, Mastro, who was also renowned for his proficiency on the recruiting trail, delivered the Cougars a final gift by convincing highly touted three-star running back prospect Max Borghi to sign with the Cougars.

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[Headline from 24 hours in the future]

Ernie Kent and his Cougars lost again Sunday night in Salt Lake City.

Utes about to conclude a month of Sunday play | Deseret News
Washington State has five Sunday games, while Utah and USC have four. The Cougars and the Utes, though, are the only teams that have stretches of four consecutive weeks of losing out on a weekend day of rest (no practice or school).

WSU Looks for Weekend Split at Utah Sunday - | Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars are looking to snap their seven-game losing streak to the Utes.


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