On December 5th, 2019, Washington State locked up Mike Leach, signing him to a 4-year contract extension, which would have kept him there until 2024. That officially changed on January 9th, 2020, with Mike Leach agreeing to become the new head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
I was completely shocked when I heard this news; I would have expected him to stay at least one more season before leaving.
Now we all have to ask the big question: What will happen to Washington State over the next few years?
It took Washington State a little while to find their replacement for Leach after many coaches didn’t want the job. One of the prominent people who turned down a chance for an interview was Alex Grinch, who was the Cougars Defensive Coordinator from 2015-2017. Currently, Grinch is the Defensive Coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners. Washington State was eventually able to hire Nick Rolovich, the head coach of Hawaii from 2016-2019. During his tenure at Hawaii, Coach Rolovich posted a record of 28-27.
Personally, I think this wasn’t the smartest hire, but this is a difficult time of the year to hire a new head coach. Washington State may have had to dig to the bottom of the barrel to find someone.
This leads us back to my original question: How will Washington State fair over the next few years? I think WSU may fall back into a dark era, and if you have not already guessed it, I am referring to 2008-2011 when Paul Wulf was the head coach. During Paul’s time at Washington State, the Cougars were looked upon as a comfortable victory and maybe even laughable.
I want the Cougars to remain competitive, but with the departure of Mike Leach and the hiring of Nick Rolovich, I question whether the team has the coaching talent and player talent to compete. I wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cougars’ streak of competing in bowl games 4 years in a row will come to an end in 2020.
My prediction is that Washington State will squeeze out 4-5 wins each year for the next several years. Then who knows, maybe Nick Rolovich will be gone and Washington State will be back at ground zero.
Washington State may never reach the Golden Days of Mike Price, but they need to try harder.