One of the most dominant quarterbacks in Pac-10 history will be in Pullman for Homecoming Week.
Ryan Leaf, a WSU alum and 1998 Heisman Trophy finalist, will autograph his book 596 Switch during a talk at the CUB Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, from 2-5 p.m., at the Bookie on Friday, Oct. 14 and prior to the WSU football game in Hollingberry Field House on Oct. 15.
Leaf's book takes the reader inside the WSU locker room during the team's long journey from Pullman to Pasadena and the 1998 Rose Bowl. In the book, Leaf explains why he believes college athletes should be paid, gives insight on the state of recruiting in college football and touches on race relations.
Leaf also interviewed the Rose Bowl official responsible for allowing the final two seconds to inexplicably run off the clock. In that game, the Cougars trailed the Michigan Wolverines 21-16. Following a hook-and-ladder that advanced the ball inside the Michigan 30-yard-line, Leaf spiked the ball with one second left on the clock.
"I wanted to see what his perception was on it. At the time, he didn't believe we could complete the action of snapping the ball and spiking it in a two-second time-frame," Leaf said. "He truly believed he made the right call."
596 Switch takes it title from the next play the Cougars were set to run following the first down.
"Those two seconds came to be two of the most controversial in bowl-game history," Leaf said in a press release. "It seemed only fitting to tie the name of the book into something that people are still passionate about to this day, 13 years later."
While Leaf's NFL career was marked by injuries and a failure to fulfill enormous expectations, the Montana native eventually realized how important WSU remained to him.
"I came back from a WSU function and was just a little leary about it because I felt embarrassed, and I felt like I had let them down so much," he said. "But the reception and the response was amazing and I realized how warm of a place Cougar Nation is."
Leaf plans to show his appreciation for WSU by donating 25 percent of proceeds generated from book sales to WSU athletics.
For Leaf, writing a book never seemed like a possibility until last year.
"I really wasn't interested in writing a book to be honest," he said. "I was just doing writing as a theurapeutic thing and then I started doing some writing for Cougfan.com about the games and one of my stories got picked up on a national level."
Soon after, Crimson Oak Publishing approached Leaf about chronicling his time spent in Pullman.
"Crimson Oak Publishing came along, and I thought it just fit," Leaf said. "They were based out of Pullman, had a Cougar as a CEO and we thought this would be great for the both of us."
596 Switch is the first of three books Leaf plans to write. The second will detail his addiction to prescription pain pills and the third will be an autobiography, he said.