Leach says he is thrilled to coach againA press conference Tuesday introduced Leach as the new Cougar football head coach.
Published 12/7/2011Comments (0)
The Mike Leach era officially began at Washington State University Tuesday when he was introduced as the new Cougar Head Coach.
Leach spoke for the first time in front of about 1,300 Cougar fans in the CUB's Senior Ballroom, who were ecstatic to see him for the first time.
Leach, who has been out of coaching for the past two seasons, was quick to share his excitement in arriving to Pullman and told those on hand that he's ready to get back to work and continue to build the Cougar program.
"I'm thrilled to be back coaching," Leach said. "I've enjoyed my two years (off), but that's a different dimension than coaching. While coaching, there's nothing like the unity and working together as a team. You have players, coaches and fans building a program. There's challenges, but there's big payoffs too in the journey and the battle."
Leach arrives in Pullman with a proven track record in his coaching career, most notably his time in Texas Tech University from 2000-2009. In ten seasons with the Red Raiders, Leach never had a losing season and went to ten consecutive bowl games, something that already has Cougar players talking.
Safety Tyree Toomer said Tuesday that he knows of Leach's history, and that next season could be a special one for the Cougars.
"I'm excited," Toomer said. "I feel like you kind of got the feeling after the season a change was going to take place and the fact that we got the best coach out there added a lot of excitement. Everyone's excited about this next season."
Leach, who had not met with his players until after his press conference, said he already has philosophies for them to value. He said the players must play together and make sure they are the most excited team to step out onto the field on Saturdays.
"Whether you're the butcher, the baker, or the candle stick maker, I think it's important to be excited about what you're doing and be the best of doing your job," Leach said.
As for hiring a new staff, Leach said the only person he has hired so far is Recruiting Coordinator David Emerick, who handled the same duties for him at Texas Tech. As for coordinators and position coaches, there have been several names rumored around the country interested in joining the staff. Leach said that he will speak with several people, including those he's worked with in the past.
"I'm going to look at some people that I've worked with no question," Leach said. "There's a number of good candidates out there, and we're going to build a staff as quickly as we can so we can mobilize the recruiting effort."
Athletic Director Bill Moos introduced Leach on Tuesday and said Leach was the only man he talked to about the job and was the only man he wanted. Leach said that on top of the excitement to work in the Pac-12 conference, working together with Moos was an opportunity he felt he could not pass up.
"I love the direction of the conference, and those outside the business might not now about Bill's (Moos) reputation, but he's a guy everybody wants to work for," Leach said. "He's a guy that has the vision of a program, and everybody pulling together. I just thought it was an incredible opportunity and this part of the country is exciting."
Immediately after his press conference, Leach met with fans for a short period of time and then for the first time met with the team. Sophomore wideout Marquess Wilson, who had 82 receptions for 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011, said it was worth the wait in meeting his new coach and he looks forward to working with him.
"It was great," Wilson said on meeting Leach. "To see him for the first time and actually get to hear him speak felt good knowing that he was a straight forward coach. He knows what he wants to do and how he's going to do it. It's going to be great being able to play for him."
Leach was without question one of the hottest available coaches this offseason and was heavily pursued by other colleges around the country. Leach decided to go Crimson and said he is often asked'why Washington State'and only one thought would come to his mind.
"Well that's a stupid question," Leach said.
Although Leach added he had never said that out loud, there were several reasons why he did choose to come to WSU.
"The commitment of excellence in every phase of the university," Leach said. "The excitement around the community, and the fact that you can win here and win big.”