Happy Thursday Coug Fans!
And indeed, a happy 24 hours it has been. Because as Texas Tech is about to find out the hard way, one man's treasure is another man's plunder. Yesterday, Bill Moos made probably the biggest splash in the history of Cougar athletics by agreeing to terms with one of the most quirky, colorful, and brilliant minds in all of sports: Mike Leach.
Judging from the reaction from the online world, WSU just made a jump to national relevancy by stepping up to the plate and making the swashbuckling swordsman from Wyoming the third highest paid coach in the Pac-12. When's the last time you saw WSU mentioned in a breaking news update on ESPN? Read on...
Perhaps Rick Neuheisel put it best this week after his firing when he said:
"I think every program across the country has to make a determination as to what their expectation level is and then finance that expectation level, and in some places those numbers don't jibe."
For long, Cougars have been some of the stingiest fans in the Pac-10 and perhaps the country. With evidence from 2001-2003, we know that we can be a successful program and relevant on a national scale. However, with the constantly-changing landscape of college football, we simply can't achieve that anymore by just existing. Other programs and their donors are constantly stepping their game up in terms of facilities, and with some big projects on the plate, we had BETTER start doing the same. That's why this move was so very necessary to Cougar football, at the expense of firing one of our own.
While Paul Wulff may have not lost the confidence and trust from his players, he had lost it from a large portion of it from Cougar fans and even more importantly to the administration, Cougar boosters. I think that was the end result of his termination. As Moos said, he wanted to make a hire that would put butts in the seats and well.... Bingo. What better way to build excitement around a program and motivate donors than with a shiny new toy? Bill Moos landed just that, in the form of a consistently successful head coach with a flashy offense capable of sending chills down the spines of opposing defensive coordinators.
Paul Wulff was a down-to-business type of guy, well respected among the media but at the same time lacked the charisma of some of his Pac-12 counterparts. In many regards, Mike Leach is a polar opposite. Take a gander through youtube at some of his interviews and you can see for yourself. Leach will also bring a very different approach to the media and a VERY different leadership style to his players. Want proof? Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZaOFTp5_C8 (if you're in you're office you might want to turn down the speakers). Many of his former players love him, but also say that he's one of the most demanding individuals they've ever met.
Leach will also step into a MUCH better situation than Paul Wulff inherited. When Wulff was hired at WSU he was left with 3 commits and a cupboard more dry than a west Texas desert. Alternatively, Leach will walk in with 19 commits, which is already almost full as a class because of the full roster of scholarship players already in the fold. He'll have two bonafide Pac-12 Quarterbacks to work with, along with a young and talented stable of wide receivers including Marquess Wilson, Kristoff Williams, Bobby Ratliff, Dominique Williams, Isaiah Meyers, ect.
In other words, Leach and his Air Raid offense will reap the benefits of Paul Wulff's recruiting. Wulff bit the bullet for this program, but Leach is a guy capable of taking it to the next level immediately. Now the task at hand is to keep the current recruits on board and hire a strong staff around him which is one more advantage he'll have over Wulff, as Moos announced he'll have $1.8 milllion to allocate to his assistants as opposed to the $1.3 million Wulff was given for his.
This may have been a bowl team with Paul Wulff as our coach next year, but as much as I respect Wulff, this was a necessary move in my eyes. Mike Leach will invigorate the Cougar fan base and make us relevant on a national level again. Sure, there's a controversy surrounding him. We all know that. And apparently other teams know that as well with the lack of interest surrounding him over the last two seasons. He interviewed last season for the Maryland job and lost to Randy Edsall, and that was it.
However, after reading various comments and posts around the internet, Texas Tech fans LOVED Mike Leach and lament their administration for letting him go. Whatever happened with AdamJamesInTheShed-Gate, Cougar fans are welcoming Leach in with open arms...Now the other teams in the Pac-12, not so much.