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Mike Leach weighs in on Pac-12 realignment

The former WSU coach stepped in front of a microphone Tuesday at SEC media day.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Days Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Love him or hate him, Mike Leach was able to break new ground during his time at Washington State. During eight seasons in Pullman, Leach found consistency that few others have been able to find with the Cougs. The quirky head coach helped WSU regain national prominence on the field.

Leach left WSU and the Pac-12 in 2019 to head to the SEC. Now, just a couple of years later, WSU seems almost destined to fall off the national radar for a completely different reason.

Three weeks ago, USC and UCLA shocked the college football world by announcing that they were ending a nearly century long partnership with the Pac-12 to jump to the Big Ten. Now, the Pac-12 is on the ropes and, along with it, WSU’s status as a member in a power football conference.

On Tuesday, for the first time since the realignment was announced, former WSU head coach Mike Leach stepped in front of the mic for an interview. The current Mississippi State head coach represented the Bulldogs at SEC Media Days in Atlanta and Leach wasn’t shy about his feelings on the reasoning behind the possible demise of his former conference home.

“There was definitely some conference mismanagement at the top,” Leach said during an interview with Paul Finebaum, “and that’s very sad for the schools, the players and the coaches.”

Leach has never been shy about giving his opinion on any topic, and his thoughts on Pac-12 leadership. During his time at the helm of the Cougs, Leach made his feelings on Larry Scott and the conference leaders very well know, even going as far as accusing conference officials of manipulating wins and losses after officials missed a blatant targeting call in a game at USC.

“It’s horribly tragic. I mean it’s completely tragic,” Leach continued on the Finebaum show. “And I hope the Pac-12 and they assemble some other teams together because that would be what’s best for college football.”

Leach left Washington State somewhat abruptly following the 2019 season. But, despite the departure, he appears to remain a big fan of his time on the Palouse.

“Washington State is a tremendous place — one of the greatest gameday environments that I’ve been to,” Leach added. “Those teams in the northwest, they need to have a great conference. They need to have an opportunity to play. And to be perfectly honest, some of this is suffering sins of the past, because the Pac-12 was left vulnerable because there’s a failure to have a TV deal.”

The Mississippi Clarion Ledger has a recap of Leach’s comments below and you can watch more of Leach’s interview with Finebaum here.

Mike Leach asserts Pac-12 Conference exoduses caused by ‘mismanagement at the top’
Leach had some pointed comments that seemed to blame former Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott for the Pac-12’s marquee programs departing.

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