The Washington State coach says it doesn’t and a national director of recruiting says politics is probably way down on a list of factors for most football players being recruited.

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There has been no ambiguity, no vacillation, no doubt at all about Mike Leach’s feelings toward Donald Trump. Since the early stages of Trump’s campaign, the Washington State football coach has been among his more vocal supporters.

But as the most divisive presidential race in recent memory hits quadruple-digit temperatures, one can’t help but wonder: Could Leach’s endorsement have any effect on his recruiting?

It’s rare that college coaches reveal their political leanings, and fear of alienation is usually the reason why. Back in October of 1984, Washington coach Don James appeared with Ronald Reagan at a campaign rally, only to have UW president William Gerberding reprimand him later.

Never mind that Reagan, who won 49 states the next month, was one of the most popular candidates ever. The thought was that if you align yourself with one side, you may be shunning the other.

Leach, however, has not shied away from his support regardless of Trump’s polarizing nature. And there is surely a large percentage of the population that commends him for his backing.

But for every American who reveres Trump, there seems to be one that reviles him. So might that influence whether a recruit chooses to sign with Wazzu?

“Not at all. They walk right by a picture of him hanging in my office. Everybody recruited here has seen the picture,” Leach said. “I’m sure not all of them will be voting for Mr. Trump, but they all walk by the picture. And I think they also appreciate the fact that I know somebody who’s trying to make a difference regardless of whether they’re voting for someone else.” national director of recruiting Brandon Huffman spends most of his waking hours talking to football coaches and high school stars. Committing, de-committing, re-committing — he’s seen it all and has developed a keen sense of a recruit’s psyche.

And while Huffman said that a coach’s political stances may come up during the decision-making process, it’s extremely unlikely to factor into the outcome.

“It’s basically ‘Can I play there?’ ‘Can I get into the NFL?’ Something like politics is going to be so far down the list,” Huffman said. “And Leach is such an unconventional recruiter as it is that he can almost get away with it.”

That last part is tough to argue. Whether it’s waxing poetic about Geronimo or publicly obsessing about pirates, Leach makes it clear that he’s a few hundred light years from normal. His identity isn’t defined by politics like an MSNBC or Fox News pundit. He’s a football coach whose personality defies everything typical about those in his profession.

But he also staunchly supports a candidate that repeatedly offends a good portion of the country. He is transparent in his admiration for a man tens of millions of Americans despise.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report recently penned a story about how this election is dividing locker rooms across the NFL. Could there be similar ramifications in terms of college-football recruiting?

Skyline football coach Mat Taylor doesn’t think so. He said college coaches come and go with such frequency that student-athletes should be making their decisions based on the university, not the guy wearing the headset.

“I guess you’re talking to someone that doesn’t have a lot of political views, but to me it doesn’t matter,” Taylor said. “If, say, you’re a really good offensive guard — you should go somewhere like Stanford, because if you start there, you’ll probably go to the NFL.”

Garfield coach Joey Thomas sees it a bit differently, though. The father of three wanted to make clear that he is not endorsing one candidate over another, but emphasized that character absolutely counts when it comes to playing on the next level.

“I’ll say this. As a parent, when my son becomes of age and I’m looking at schools recruiting him, of course you’re going to look at what the head coach stands for,” Thomas said. “When there are two schools that are close, that could very well be the deciding factor.”

One factor that hasn’t been mentioned yet is winning, which Leach has once again gotten the Cougs to do. After dropping its first two games of the season, Washington State rattled off three straight victories and emerged as Washington’s top threat in the Pac-12 North.

That’s something all Wazzu fans, regardless of political beliefs, have been able to enjoy together — and continued success will be the main determinant in whether talent continues to sign.

You don’t have to agree with Leach. In fact, polls suggest that most Americans don’t.

But who commits to Wazzu won’t depend on the candidate he supports. It will depend on the teams he beats.