Rollover year added to Leach’s contract

christian.caple@thenewstribune.comNovember 19, 2013 

PULLMAN — Washington State added a rollover year onto coach Mike Leach’s contract Monday.

The extension adds one year to the agreement at the end of each year. The clause effectively means that Leach is continually on a five-year contract unless either party stipulates in writing that they wish to forgo the extension by Dec. 31.

The contract entitles Leach to a $2 million base salary per year, as well as collateral compensation for media appearances, speaking engagements and the use of his likeness for promotional purposes.

“Mike Leach has done a fabulous job in his short time at Washington State,” athletic director Bill Moos said. “Extending his contract through the 2018 season will ensure a bright future

for Cougar football. He has elevated the program on the field, in the community and in the classroom. I believe he is among the best college football coaches in America and is a fantastic fit in Pullman.”

With two games left in the season, Leach has led the Cougars to five wins for the first time since 2007. The team was 3-9 in his first season and is 5-5 this season with a home game against Utah on Saturday and the Apple Cup at Washington on Nov. 29. With a win in either game, Leach will have positioned WSU to earn its first bowl bid since 2003.

Leach said the support he has received from students, alumni and the administration has been “tremendous.”

He added that by the end of the year, WSU’s upgraded facilities would “rival anyone in the country.

“As I’ve said many times, my family and I are extremely happy at Washington State and love living in Pullman.”

SENIORS’ LEGACY

The seniors for the Cougars have endured a lot in their less than idyllic college careers. They’ve been through seasons of two, three and four wins, a coaching change and some of the worst losses 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,” senior offensive lineman Elliott Bosch said. “It’s gotten progressively better each year I’ve been here … and I hope that we’re remembered as the ones that kind of started it all and got this thing back on track.”

It could all come together on Senior Night. The Cougars (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) sit one win away from bowl eligibility.

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.

Even with a victory, it will be a bittersweet afternoon for the Cougars who are nearing the end of their days donning the crimson and gray. While these past four seasons may not have gone as the seniors envisioned when they were freshmen first stepping onto campus, they were still full of lifelong memories and accomplishments.

Safety Deone Bucannon’s playing days won’t be over until long after he leaves Pullman. Bucannon leads the Pac-12 in tackles and is tied for second in interceptions, and esteemed NFL draft analyst Rob Rang wrote after Saturday’s win over Arizona that he expected Bucannon to be among the first 75 players picked in the upcoming NFL draft.

If his premonition holds true, it would be the highest a WSU player has been picked in more than a decade. Still, Bucannon said the upcoming end of his career as an amateur is “hard to swallow.”

“I love playing in Martin Stadium; there’s so much history here,” Bucannon added. “It’s just something that’s crazy and surreal. It’s like yesterday that I was a freshman playing my first game against USC in Martin Stadium, and the fact that my last one is coming up is kind of crazy.”

Cougars’ opponent this week

UTAH UTES (4-6, 1-6 in Pac-12)

12:30 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium; Pac-12 Network, 710-AM

Coach: Kyle Whittingham (74-38 in ninth year at Utah and overall)

Against the Cougars: Utah leads the series, 7-5.

Scouting report: The Utes come to Pullman in search of their first win since Oct. 12. And in search of a break. Starting QB Travis Wilson is out for the season with a previously undiagnosed condition. Former walk-on Adam Schulz will make his second start in Wilson’s place. The Utes rank 79th in total offense and 54th in total defense. They’re much tougher at home (where they beat Stanford) than on the road (where they haven’t won a Pac-12 game), though five of their past six opponents are ranked in this week’s AP poll. WR Dres Anderson (41 catches, 779 yards, six TDs) is Utah’s most dangerous offensive player. The Utes do not have a player from Washington on their roster, though co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson was WSU’s coach from 1987-88.

Did you know? Utah has lost its starting QB due to injury in each of the past four seasons.

2013 schedule

Aug. 29W, 30-26, vs. Utah State

Sept. 7W, 70-7, vs. Weber State

Sept. 14L, 51-48 (OT), vs. Oregon State

Sept. 21W, 20-13, at BYU

Oct. 3L, 34-27, vs. No. 14 UCLA

Oct. 12W, 27-21, vs. No. 10 Stanford

Oct. 19L, 35-24, at Arizona

Oct. 26L, 19-3, at No. 23 USC

Nov. 9L, 20-19, vs. No. 19 Arizona State

Nov. 16L, 44-21, at No. 5 Oregon

Saturdayat Washington State

Nov. 30vs. Colorado

christian.caple@thenewstribune.com

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