PULLMAN - A month after agreeing to a one-year contract extension, Mike Leach is leaving Washington State to become the head coach at Mississippi State.
Mississippi State confirmed Leach’s hiring on Twitter Thursday morning. The school recently fired coach Joe Moorhead after a 6-7 season.
Leach, who interviewed for the Mississippi State job last week, was set to enter his ninth season for the Cougars. Leach has led WSU to a school record five straight bowl games, and his 55 wins with the Cougars rank him third in program history. The Cougars offense led the nation in passing four times over Leach’s tenure.
The Cougars finished 6-7 this season, their first losing season since since going 3-9 in 2014.
WSU President Kirk Schulz and athletic director Pat Chun issued the following statement:
“On behalf of Washington State, 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.”
Leach’s name was also brought up during the Arkansas coaching search and he was also considered a potential candidate at Florida State and Missouri. Leach was close to a deal with Tennessee in 2017 but ultimately stayed in Pullman and led the Cougars to an 11-2 record the next season and a top 10 finish in the AP top 25 poll.