Cougars extend Coach Mike Leach’s contract through 2022 season

Close up of Mike Leach observing the field.
Washington State University head football coach, Mike Leach

By Washington State Athletic Communications

Washington State University Athletics announced Monday that Head Coach Mike Leach has agreed in principle to a provision in Leach’s contract to extend the agreement an additional year through the 2022 season, bringing it to a five-year contract. The new agreement will also provide increased compensation for Coach Leach beginning in 2018 as well as for the assistant coaches’ salary pool.

“Coach Leach has led a spectacular turnaround in the fortunes of our football program during the last six years, and we want to keep him in the Cougar family for a long time to come,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Importantly, our on-field football success has reaped dividends for the entire athletic program, invigorating the interest of fans, boosting football season ticket sales and increasing donor contributions to the Cougar Athletic Fund.”

The president also noted how the success of the football program under Leach has benefited the university at large. “Intercollegiate athletics are a critical front door to every university,” Schulz said, “and the achievements led by coach Leach have raised the visibility of WSU across the nation—which boosts our goal to become one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030.”

This season Leach has guided the Cougars to a 9-3 record and its third-straight bowl appearance, a first for a Cougar head coach. He is also the first coach at WSU to post three-consecutive winning seasons since Jim Sutherland did so from 1957-59.

“I would like to thank President Schulz and Washington State for their commitment to Cougar football and appreciate his vision and leadership for WSU Athletics,” said Leach. “We have accomplished some great things in our time here and my staff and I are excited to lead WSU Cougar Football into the future. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for our program.”

Under the revised agreement, Leach’s 2018 compensation will be $3.5 million, $3.75 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020. Following year three (2020 season), Leach will also receive a one-time retention bonus of $750,000. Additionally, the WSU assistant coaches’ pool will see an increase of $400,000 for 2018 and both President Schulz and Leach recognize the need for a new indoor practice facility.

The Cougars began the 2017 campaign with six straight victories, including the first five at home featuring a triple-overtime win over Boise State and a victory against No. 5 USC. WSU closed out its home schedule with a come-from-behind victory over No. 18 Stanford, the second-straight season the Cougars have defeated the Cardinal.

In his six seasons leading the Cougars, Leach has amassed 38 victories, second most among any WSU coach during that same span. He has guided the Cougars to four bowl games in the past five years, also a first for a Cougar coach, and over the past three seasons WSU has the third-most conference wins of any program in the Pac-12.

Additionally, Since Leach’s arrival, WSU’s attendance has gone from 76.1 percent of capacity in 2011 (year before he arrived), to 97.1 percent in 2017, the second-highest percentage at Martin Stadium in the past 20 years.

The Cougars are preparing to face No. 18 Michigan State in the 2017 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, Dec. 28, in San Diego, Calif. Gametime is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.