Mike Leach will meet with WSU President Kirk Schulz on Tuesday to address Bill Moos' departure for Nebraska. Leach says he hopes he'll get to give input on who the Cougars' hire to succeed Moos as athletic director

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Mike Leach found out about Bill Moos’ departure for Nebraska on Sunday morning, when his wife, Sharon, alerted him to something she’d seen about it online.

But there are no hard feelings at all, Leach says.

Bill Moos is “the best athletic director I’ve ever met in the course of this business,” Leach said. “He’s a fantastic guy. Bill’s an honest, straightforward guy. A guy you could count on and you knew had your best interest at heart. He had a presence that inspired the whole department and a vision for what was needed to succeed.”

Now, Moos, the man responsible for hiring Leach to WSU, is a week away from starting his new job at Nebraska, and the Cougars must move on. WSU President Kirk Schulz named senior associate athletic director John Johnson the interim athletic director and convened a seven-person search committee that Schulz will chair.

Schulz tweeted Monday that he will meet with Leach on Tuesday to address Moos’ departure and what this means for the Cougars.

Leach said in his Monday news conference that he hopes to have some input on whoever Schulz hires to succeed Moos, and refuted the suggestion that Schulz, who began his tenure as WSU president in June 2016, does not have a good relationship with athletics.

“I’ve never had any problem whatsoever with President Schulz,” Leach said. “I’ve always got along great with him. … He’s been in and out of town, so I haven’t logged the time with him that I would have liked, but he seems like an organized guy and seems committed to WSU.”

Moos’ departure for Nebraska coupled with the Cornhuskers’ struggles under third-year coach Mike Riley, has also sparked speculation that Moos might try to lure Leach to join him at Nebraska as football coach. But Leach downplayed this.

“I don’t have any plan to do that,” Leach said. “They already have a head coach there, he’s a pretty good one too – Mike Riley.”

However, it’s common knowledge that Leach’s relationship with Moos, and their mutual trust in one another was a big reason why he agreed to become WSU’s football coach.

After leaving what he’s often termed a toxic situation at Texas Tech where he worked for “outright crooks” who, Leach alleges, still have not paid him for coaching the 2009 season, it’s important to WSU’s football coach to have a good relationship with his athletic director, and Leach says he wants to work with someone he can trust, and who will give him the autonomy to run his program.

“You’ve got schools that have actually had murders, rapes and sexual assault, schools that have cheated and fixed grades, schools that bought players, there’s only one school in the nation that’s shameful enough to have not paid their head coach. Only one. Texas Tech stands alone as far as being sleazy and not paying their head coach,” Leach said.

Asked to name a list of qualities he wants to see in a future WSU athletic director, Leach stressed honesty once again.

“He’d be honest in all circumstances,” Leach said. “There’s a lot of shady guys. He’d be honest in everything.”

Other qualities Leach would like to see in his future boss: “You’d have a vision of success, not just participation. Let’s elevate and let’s be the very best we can be,” Leach said. “And there’d be a sense of teamwork, everybody working together, pulling all things in the same direction – that’s the other thing I thought Bill did a great job of — uniting the whole athletic dept.

“And also, a vision and understanding of staying state of the art with everything from facilities, processes and things that exist in athletics. None of the backseat stuff. If you’re competing, you’re competing.”

From that standpoint, is it fair to say that Leach’s opinion of the person ultimately hired to replace Moos will determine whether he stays at WSU long-term?

“I plan to (stay at WSU), and have from the beginning. Obviously, I want the best possible athletic director,” Leach said. “We need a great athletic director who has the qualities and characteristics I mentioned. … I’m going to focus on beating Colorado for the short run.”

Leach said he believes WSU can continue on its upward trajectory without Moos as long as his successor comes in with a vision for success.

“We’re gonna be signed up for athletics no matter what. WSU’s been signed up for a long time, but there’s a difference between being signed up and aggressively pursuing success. We’ve got to maintain that course,” Leach said.

Leach also said that getting an indoor practice facility built is of utmost importance if the Cougars hope to stay on the track Moos laid out to build athletic facilities comparable with other schools in the Pac-12.

“Not just for football, but for all sports, it would be tremendous for track, soccer, football and even baseball probably,” Leach said.