It looks like Mike Leach isn't waiting long to fill the impending vacancy left by (reportedly) former outside receivers coach Graham Harrell: According to a report from FootballScoop.com, former East Carolina offensive coordinator Dave Nichol will be joining the Washington State Cougars.
FootballScoop also first reported Harrell's move to offensive coordinator at North Texas.
Prior to this past season -- his first as an offensive coordinator -- Nichol spent three years as the outside receivers coach at ECU under offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a Leach disciple who vacated the spot when he took the same position at Oklahoma. (Which has worked out rather nicely.)
Nichol was put in limbo when ECU let go of coach Ruffin McNeill, and it appears WSU has snatched him up. If true, this is a really, really good get for the Cougars; Leach, who calls the play from the sidelines, relies on a coach to be an "eye in the sky" to relay things to him from the press box -- things not obvious from field level. It needs to be someone intimately familiar with his offense, and Nichol -- a 1999 Texas Tech grad -- fits the bill after serving as on Leach's staff early in his Tech tenure.
As the Pirates' eye in the sky from the pressbox over the past three years, Nichol played an integral role for an unprecedented level of offensive production that established successive single-season school records in passing yards (4,265 in 2013/4,835 in 2014) and total yards (6,086/6,929).
Nichol also knows a thing or two about the Pac-12; his first job was on Mike Stoops' staff at Arizona from 2007-2011. Britton Ransford notes that he seems to be an OK recruiter:
Dave Nichol, reportedly the WSU's new WR coach, is an impressive recruiter. Also signed Ka'Deem Carey. https://t.co/OYRX8JzWPy— Britton K. Ransford (@BKRansford) December 11, 2015
This certainly seems to take some of the sting out of Harrell's departure; the outside receivers are going to have their third position coach in three years, and adding someone with experience there is pretty huge. This hire also lends credence to the idea that WSU is a place where bright, young offensive minds what to come in order to advance their careers.
There is no word on when the hire will take effect, but it actually wouldn't be too surprising if it happened almost immediately. Harrell is likely to want to get started at North Texas immediately, and Leach will need that eye in the sky in the bowl game.