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Sports >  WSU football

Report: Washington State football coach Mike Leach interviewed for vacant Mississippi State job

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 8, 2020

Washington State head coach Mike Leach answers questions during a Cheez-It Bowl news conference on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State head coach Mike Leach answers questions during a Cheez-It Bowl news conference on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Nearly a month later, Mike Leach’s name is still floating through the college football coaching rumor mill.

The Washington State coach has interviewed for the vacant coaching position at Mississippi State, according to a report from radio host Paul Finebaum Tuesday afternoon.

Bo Bounds of the “Out of Bounds” radio show told the popular SEC reporter on the “Paul Finebaum Show” that Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen traveled to Key West, Florida, to interview Leach for the job.

Leach has a vacation home in Florida and often travels to the Florida Keys during the Cougars’ offseason.

Mississippi State recently fired coach Joe Moorhead on the heels of a 6-7 season that saw the Bulldogs lose 38-28 to Louisville in the Music City Bowl. Moorhead, who took the job at MSU midway through the 2017 season when Dan Mullen was hired by Florida, went 6-12 during his two seasons in Starkville.

While Leach may be in the running for the position, it seems the Bulldogs may also be leaning toward Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. According to a story from FootballScoop.com and various other reports, Sarkisian has emerged as a “significant candidate” to replace Moorhead and there’s mutual interest between the Bulldogs and the former Washington and USC coach.

WSU fans had a scare a few days after the regular season ended when a fake Twitter account posted a Photoshopped graphic indicating Leach had accepted the open position at Ole Miss. The post was quickly reported as false, and the Rebels hired Lane Kiffin.

Leach’s name was also thrown around during Arkansas’ coaching search, although those rumors were put to rest when the Razorbacks hired Sam Pittman. Leach, set to begin his ninth season with the Cougars, was also considered a potential candidate at Florida State and Missouri, but neither program seemed to show legitimate interest in Leach, with Missouri hiring Eliah Drinkwitz and the Seminoles going with Mike Norvell.

Before WSU’s appearance in the Cheez-It Bowl, Leach and the Cougars agreed to a contract extension to keep the coach in Pullman through 2024.

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