Mike Leach hired to be new head coach at Mississippi State
PULLMAN, Wash. – Mike Leach is heading to Mississippi State.
4 News Now has confirmed Washington State University football coach has agreed to take the head coaching job.
“”I can’t tell you how excited I am to be the head football coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs,” Leach said in a press release. “I loved Washington State, but I am excited for the next chapter in the SEC. It’s a privilege to be a part of the MSU family, and we look forward to getting down to Starkville shortly.”
Sports radio host Bo Bounds, who is based in Jackson, reported Wednesday that Leach had interviewed for the open position.
Bounds said Mississippi State Athletic Director John Coven traveled to Key West to interview Leach, who owns a vacation home in Florida and talks often about taking time there in the offseason.
The news comes just weeks after Leach’s contract automatically rolled over, which would have extended him through the 2024 season with Washington State.
In past seasons, Leach has been rumored to be incredibly close to becoming Tenessee’s head coach.
This offseason, the schools that his name was mentioned with were Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Rebels hired Lane Kiffin, and Arkansas went with Sam Pittman.
According to Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman, Leach was torn about leaving WSU. Feldman’s source said Leach could not bypass the job “becuase of the added resources, a much deeper local recruiting pool and, because it was a shot to coach in the SEC.”
Leach has been with the Cougars for eight years. In 2018, he was named National Coach of the Year and was the first coach at WSU to lead the team to five straight bowl games.
WSU President Kirk Schulz and Director of Athletics Pat Chun released the following statement on Leach’s depature:
“On behalf of Washington State University, we would like to thank coach Leach for his eight years of service to the Cougars. Mike has transformed Washington State Football into a national brand and we will be forever grateful. We wish he and Sharon nothing but the best in their next chapter at Mississippi State. Now we look forward to elevating the Cougs to the highest levels of college football.”
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