SPOKANE — Mike Leach is bringing his high-powered passing offense — and swashbuckling style — to long-dormant Washington State.
The school said Wednesday that the former Texas Tech coach agreed in principle to a five-year contract. He will be introduced Tuesday at a news conference in Pullman.
Leach will be paid a base annual salary of $2 million, with supplemental income of $250,000 a year, plus performance incentives, athletic director Bill Moos said.
Leach, 50, was 84-43 at Texas Tech, leading the Red Raiders to 10 bowl appearances in 10 seasons. He was fired in 2009 amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion.
He replaces Paul Wulff, who was fired Tuesday after four losing seasons.
“I have always admired the tradition of Washington State,” Leach said in a statement. “It’s a university on the move that is experiencing growth. I’m excited about what they are doing with the facilities and it’s a team that has battled through some hard times and shows great promise in the future. I’m proud to be a part of this team.”
Moos said he has been talking with Leach since mid-November, and offered him the job Monday.
“A lot of schools wanted him. He wanted us,” Moos said. This is the first time that Washington State has been able to hire a man with head coaching experience at a BCS-level school, he said.
Washington State could not have afforded Leach without revenue from the new Pac-12 television contract that will eventually pay each school up to $20 million per year, Moos said.
Leach was at the top of Moos’ list of candidates, partly because Moos wants a high-powered offense at WSU. While at Texas Tech, Leach’s Air Raid offense routinely led the nation in passing and set numerous records.
Leach was offensive coordinator at Kentucky and Oklahoma before becoming the Red Raiders head coach in Lubbock in 2000.
In 2009, Texas Tech fired Leach two days after suspending him after it was alleged he mistreated receiver Adam James, who had a concussion. Leach denied the allegations and later sued for wrongful termination. Leach has said he suspects an $800,000 bonus he was due the next day was the reason he was fired.
In a separate case, Leach has also sued ESPN Inc. and a Dallas public relations firm, accusing them of libel and slander after he was fired. James is the son of ESPN analyst Craig James.