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Mike Leach squashes rumor of defensive staff feud

“It’s not true,” coach says of reported rift between Tracy Claeys and Darcel McBath.

UCLA v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

On the heels of former Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday saying former defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned amidst a rift with cornerbacks coach Darcel McBath, Mike Leach didn’t mince words: “Well, it’s not true — I’ve never seen them argue about anything.”

That was about the extent of his comments on the matter, even as Spokesman-Review reporter Theo Lawson did his due diligence in asking followup questions about Halliday:

  • Leach said “yeah” when asked if he still had a good relationship with his former QB;
  • “No, and I wouldn’t worry about it anyway — why would I chase a rumor around?” when asked if he’d reached out to Halliday; and
  • No, he doesn’t think it’s a distraction to the team because “if I worried about everything that’s not true, I’d be wasting a lot of time. ... Plus, I don’t worry about or comment on people who aren’t here anyway.”

Earlier in the day, Leach’s chief of staff, Dave Emerick, used the school’s Cougar Podcast to also refute Halliday’s story:

“I think the whole thing is just unfortunate and unnecessary. None of it is really based in any kind of fact. Darcel McBath is a great guy, Tracy Claeys is a great guy. They got along with each other.

“The unfortunate thing is those are two great people. Tracy was a guy that we all liked, is a guy that the staff all liked — still like! I talk to Tracy, I texted him today. I know Darcel and Tracy have texted several times since this, so, it’s just unfortunate that rumors or whatever this is would spread like this.

“Connor’s obviously not quite as in the know on this as he likes to think he is. He just isn’t. He hasn’t played here in five years, and whatever inside source he has is not as accurate as Connor would want him to be. ... Tracy did what he did, he has his reasons, and for people to put this out there, it’s just unfortunate.”

One interesting aspect of this is that the players really have no way to weigh in — they’re currently in the midst of a social media ban. However, one former player who was intimately familiar with both coaches weighed in:

So there you go. Now you can decide for yourself who you believe. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯