Clay McGuire departs to return to his alma mater, Texas Tech, where he will be co-offensive coordinator

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Washington State’s coaching staff has been hit hard by attrition this season, and Wednesday brought yet another change.

After six years at WSU, offensive line coach Clay McGuire has left to become the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach under Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech.

When asked about McGuire’s departure during a news conference Wednesday, WSU head coach Mike Leach seemed displeased about losing his offensive line coach.

Leach said he wished McGuire well but said, “He’s gotta sort that himself. From his standpoint, he’s going back home, but they’re on thin ice out there. If you fall through the ice you’re leaving home pretty quick too.”

The Red Raiders have been mediocre at best of late, amassing a 30-33 record in Kingsbury’s five seasons as head coach. As a result, Kingsbury appears to be on the hot seat going into this season.

McGuire and Kingsbury were teammates at Texas Tech, where they both played for Leach. McGuire played for Leach from 2000-04 and then got his start in coaching as a video intern under Leach, eventually rising to Texas Tech running backs coach by 2009.

He worked under Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina from 2010-11, then reunited with Leach in 2012 when Leach was hired at WSU.

McGuire helped Leach overhaul the Cougars’ offensive line and restock a talent pool that was woefully depleted when they first got to WSU. His list of pupils includes Detroit Lions’ draft pick Joe Dahl, consensus All-American Cody O’Connell and Cole Madison, who just accepted an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine.

With McGuire’s departure, WSU has now lost four assistant coaches this offseason: defensive coordinator Alex Grinch went to Ohio State, rush linebackers coach Roy Manning went to UCLA and running backs coach Jim Mastro went to Oregon.

WSU has filled the two defensive positions but has yet to name replacements for Mastro and McGuire.

Until their departures this winter, Mastro and McGuire were the only two holdovers from the original coaching staff Leach hired during his first season at WSU in 2012. Aside from strength coach Jason Loscalzo, who was hired with the original staff in 2012, inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson, who was hired in 2013, is now the longest-tenured member of the Cougars’ coaching staff.

Special teams coach Eric Mele has been at WSU since 2012, but began his tenure as an offensive quality control coach and was not promoted to one of the nine on-field assistant coaching positions until 2014, when he was named interim special teams coach.