PULLMAN — Washington State has extended the contract of football coach Mike Leach for two years, ensuring he’ll be at the helm through the 2018 season, athletic director Bill Moos said Monday.
Leach has led WSU to a 5-5 record in his second season, 3-4 in the Pac-12, as the Cougars prepare for a game Saturday against Utah in Pullman.
That’s the most victories for the Cougars at this point in the season since 2006.
“Mike Leach has done a fabulous job in his short time at Washington State,” Moos said in a statement. “Extending his contract through the 2018 season will ensure a bright future for Cougar football.”
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The Cougars are one victory shy of qualifying for a bowl game. They have not played in the postseason since 2003.
Leach was hired before the 2012 season and he signed a five-year contract that paid more than $2.2 million per year, plus incentives. He is the highest-paid coach in Washington State history.
Details of the new contract were not immediately released.
Leach owns a career record of 92-57 in his 12 seasons as a college head coach, the first 10 at Texas Tech.
Leach thanked Moos and Washington State President Elson Floyd for the extension.
“The support we have received from students, fans, alumni and the administration has been tremendous and by the end of this year we will have facilities that rival anyone in the country,” Leach said, referring to a new football operations building under construction.
“As I’ve said many times, my family and I are extremely happy at Washington State and love living in Pullman,” Leach said.
Leach was hired to bring his high-powered passing offense and winning ways to long-dormant Washington State. He replaced Paul Wulff, who was fired after going 9-40 in four years.
Leach went 3-9 last season, and just 1-8 in the Pac-12.
But that lone league victory was over archrival Washington in overtime in the Apple Cup.
Seniors proud of accomplishments
The seniors at WSU have endured a lot in their less than idyllic college careers. They’ve been through seasons of two, three and four victories, a coaching change and some of the worst defeats in school history.
The combined record of WSU’s 20 seniors over their four years is 14-32.
But when they take the field at Martin Stadium for the last time on Senior Day against Utah on Saturday, they’ll have a chance to leave behind a different legacy.
“Our senior class, you know, we’re taking a lot of pride in being hopefully the class that gets this thing rolling and leaving our mark,” offensive lineman Elliott Bosch said.
“It’s gotten progressively better each year I’ve been here.”
It could all come together on Senior Night. This senior class, despite having undergone some of the darkest days at WSU, can still be the group to take the program to the postseason for the first time since 2003, and just the 11th time ever.
The Associated Press and The Spokesman-Review contributed to this report.