After a season that pretty much no one saw coming, thanks in large part to a quarterback pretty much no one saw coming, WSU coach Mike Leach and quarterback Gardner Minshew II have earned top conference as coach of the year and offensive player of the year in the Pac-12.
Despite being voted to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North, Leach guided the Washington State Cougars to just their fifth 10-win season in school history, including seven wins in conference play. The team also defied all expectations after Leach had to replace dang near his entire coaching staff, with his hire of defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys as the master stroke.
The coach of the year honor is the second for Leach since arriving at Washington State; he shared it with the Stanford Cardinal’s David Shaw in 2015.
Minshew’s superb day of accolades continued after earning first team All-Pac-12 honors in the afternoon. Minshew had arguably the best season of any quarterback under Leach at Wazzu, finishing the regular season with 4,477 passing yards and 39 total touchdowns against just nine interceptions. He also averaged more passing yards per game than any quarterback in the country and was also tops in 300- and 400-yard passing games.
The player of the year honor is the first for the Cougs since 2002 when Jason Gesser won the same award.
Congrats to both Leach and Minshew!