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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU announces Mike Leach class on football, insurgency warfare will take place this spring

Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach addresses the crowd during the Alamo Bowl Rudy's Bar-B-Q Pep Rally in December. WSU announced Friday that Leach’s course on football and insurgency warfare would take place this spring, though it won’t be for college credit. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

It’s official: Mike Leach is going from head coach to head of the classroom this spring.

Washington State University’s Academic Outreach and Innovation announced Friday that the application process would begin next week for the course co-taught by Leach and Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, with a blending of insurgent warfare and football strategy. Selected WSU students who attend will not be offered course credit and their performance will not show up on their official transcripts.

“One thing that we’ve really tried to emphasize is that this is a nonacademic, extracurricular lecture series,” said Dave Cillay, vice president for academic outreach and innovation at the university.

The application process will open Tuesday and last for five days, Cillay said. Students will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so those interested should be prepared to submit their applications early. Forty students will be accepted for the course, which will hold evening sessions March 27, April 3, April 10 and April 17 in Pullman. A final session summarizing the content of the course will be held April 23 at The Spark: Innovation Hub on the Pullman campus. It will be free and open to the public, as well as livestreamed on the internet.

“We anticipate that’s probably going to be the most well-attended aspect of the last session,” Cillay said of the stream. “But we will have a room that seats close to 300.”

Leach had been teasing the course on Twitter over the past several months, and had initially indicated the final session might only be open to donors to the WSU Athletic Fund. Cillay said the university made the decision to open the session to the public to maximize attendance.

“We’re going to have a number of students, we imagine, that are going to apply who didn’t get into the live session,” Cillay said.

The course’s subject matter blends the expertise of Leach, who popularized the “Air Raid” offense that uses spread formations and speedy players to combat traditional football schemes, and Baumgartner, who worked for the U.S. State Department in Iraq during the troop surge and as a counternarcotics officer in Afghanistan.

The course will wrap up three days after the scheduled Crimson and Gray Game in Pullman, the traditional culmination of the spring football season.