You know it's officially the silly season of college football when Mike Leach's name surfaces in connection with a job at another school, and that's exactly what happened Sunday night when a television reporter in Texas said the current WSU football coach would be interested in the University of Houston.
It didn't take long for WSU to respond in a fashion you don't often see from an athletic department.
WSU officials say no truth to stories linking Mike Leach to Houston.— WSU Cougars (@WSUCougars) December 8, 2014
This sort of rumor-mill stuff has happened before during Leach's tenure at WSU; two years ago, after just one season in Pullman, he was said to be interested in N.C. State. It also was a time-honored tradition during his decade at Texas Tech, part of the reason why the administration there grew weary of him.
In this case, the University of Houston job still actually belongs to Tony Levine, who is coming off his second consecutive winning season in three years since taking over for Kevin Sumlin. That wouldn't necessarily be prohibitive - you'll recall that WSU AD Bill Moos basically hired Leach and negotiated the contract while Paul Wulff was still the coach - but did this thing ever really pass the smell test?
Leach already is making $2.75 million at WSU. He'd be leaving a Power Five conference for the AAC. He's been given the keys to the kingdom by Moos, complete with a gorgeous new facility. He's got a young team that's about to be bolstered by the best recruiting class of his four. He's been through two of the hardest years of his coaching career, and he's going to leave when the program finally has a chance to turn the corner with his players?
I'm not saying a move can't or wouldn't happen. Maybe a school blows him away with $4 million a year. Maybe Houston hoped it could lure him with the idea of recruiting Texas again. Crazy stuff happens. But this just seemed like one of those silly season rumors from the beginning. I mean, that tweet from the TV reporter wasn't exactly going out on a limb to begin with:
Allow me to frame this in a slightly different context:
"Source confirms [employee] has interest in [another presumably better paying job] if [employee can get out of his current job without any personal penalty]. Stay tuned for more!"
Personally, I'm pretty happy at my current day job as an English teacher, but if any of you want to offer me a 25 percent raise to change jobs, I'm all ears. I'll even move to another state!
Look, when your school is employing a good coach, his name is going to get floated all over the place. That's just how it works. This one never made a lot of sense, but don't be surprised if Leach's name pops up again.
'Tis the season.