WSU Cougars

WSU agrees to contract extension with football coach Mike Leach

McClatchy news services

Mike Leach is staying put.

Washington State University announced on Monday the school agreed to extend their football coach’s contract through the 2022. The new agreement will also provide increased compensation for Leach next season as well as for the assistant coaches’ salary pool.

Under the revised agreement, Leach’s 2018 compensation will be $3.5 million, $3.75 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020. Following year the 2020 season, Leach will also receive a one-time retention bonus of $750,000. Additionally, the WSU assistant coaches’ pool will see an increase of $400,000 for 2018.

“Coach Leach has led a spectacular turnaround in the fortunes of our football program during the last six years, and we want to keep him in the Cougar family for a long time to come,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz said in a statement released by the school.

Questions about Leach’s long-term future at WSU arose this fall after athletic director Bill Moos left for Nebraska, and deputy athletic director Mike Marlow left for Northern Arizona.

Moos and Marlow were instrumental in persuading Leach to come to WSU, and their departures raised questions about Leach’s future. Reportedly, Leach met with then-Tennessee AD John Currie in Los Angeles to interview for the Volunteers’ job.

Currie was subsequently fired by Tennessee, which then installed Phil Fulmer as athletic director and hired Jeremy Pruitt as head football coach.

However, Leach’s reported interview with Tennessee drew concern from WSU supporters and alums. In an interview with The Seattle Times on Dec. 8, Schulz said he and the coach were in negotiations on a new contract extension and raise.

“I would like to thank President Schulz and Washington State for their commitment to Cougar football and appreciate his vision and leadership for WSU Athletics,” said Leach in a statement released by the school.

“We have accomplished some great things in our time here and my staff and I are excited to lead WSU Cougar football into the future. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for our program.”

This season Leach has guided the Cougars to a 9-3 record and its third-straight bowl appearance, a first for a Cougar head coach. He is also the first coach at WSU to post three-consecutive winning seasons since Jim Sutherland did so from 1957-59.

Leach will complete his sixth season at WSU when the Cougars face Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego. He owns a 38-37 record at WSU.

Additionally, Since Leach's arrival, WSU's attendance has gone from 76.1 percent of capacity in 2011 (year before he arrived), to 97.1 percent in 2017, the second-highest percentage at Martin Stadium in the past 20 years.

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