PULLMAN – Mike Leach is pretty much staying out of the limelight until his unveiling in front of the Washington State faithful Tuesday at noon, but that doesn’t mean he’s unreachable.
He surfaced Friday morning on SiruisXM radio, talking with Jack Arute on his College Football Playbook show, which Leach used to co-host.
And Leach’s new job was the main subject, as it’s been on his cell phone since Tuesday.
“About half the people who call me want a job,” said Leach, who explained he’s attending a long-planned family get-together in Orlando this weekend. “And then the other half is a mixture of well-wishers and media.
“When I woke up yesterday I had 35 phone calls and I had 85 messages.”
Asked about the talent he’s inheriting in Pullman, Leach answered in a roundabout way, first praising previous coach Paul Wulff, saying “I have the utmost admiration for him and his staff,” then getting into what awaits him.
“They’ve got some young players,” Leach said. “They’ve got a couple quarterbacks. And I’ll have a better idea as I watch more film.”
WSU’s quarterback history was one thing that impressed Leach, whose pass-heavy offense at Texas Tech led the nation in yardage six times in 10 years.
“It’s a place that’s had some success in the past,” he said of WSU. “They’ve turned out a bunch of quarterbacks, more than I’d realized when you consider Ryan Leaf, Mark Rypien, Drew Bledsoe, (Timm) Rosenbach, and then, of course, the Throwin’ Samoan (Jack Thompson). I think he’s the leader of the pack of those guys.
“I hope I didn’t leave one out, but they have a pretty good pile of them that have come out of there.”
Despite being on a family vacation, Leach said he worked the phones heavily Thursday putting together his coaching staff and has a pile of resumes.
“This has been planned for months, then I got a job right in the middle of (it),” he said, laughing.
The most important element is pulling together assistants and he wants it done by next week.
“As soon as I get up there,” he said, adding he’ll have his press conference and then get his staff together, “shortly after that as quick as possible. Now some guys will have bowl games, so you’ll wait on that, but you want to get it nailed down. Those that don’t, fire them out on the road.”
Leach said he has a list of assistant’s names, but wouldn’t say who was on it.
“There are guys out there that you know of based on watching them on film and you’re kind of keeping an eye on them, even though they don’t necessarily know that they are and vice-versa,” he said. “You get hit up by people that have kind of kept track of your work.”
Leach is expected in Pullman on Tuesday though he seems pretty well versed in the geography. When current co-host, former Boise State and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, mentioned he still lived in Boise, Leach quickly came up with a quip.
“I was trying to get (a job) as close to your house as possible,” Leach joked. “The University of Idaho wasn’t open and neither was Idaho State and neither was Montana. So I thought I did really good.”
But he wasn’t joking when he talked about his future home.
“It’s a unique place in a pretty part of the country,” said Leach, who was raised in Cody, Wyo. “It’s similar to where I grew up in a lot of ways and I’m looking forward to it.”