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Gov. Jay Inslee, noted Washington graduate, on WSU losing Mike Leach: ‘There may be some who don’t consider that losing’

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, during the AP Legislative Preview at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

OLYMPIA – News of Mike Leach’s departure from Washington State University broke as legislative leaders were discussing issues for the upcoming session, which begins Monday.

Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, who was part of a panel discussing resources for the homeless, surprised some in the room by saying the state will now “save about $5 million a year in our budget because Mike Leach is leaving the state.”

Later, Gov. Jay Inslee, who had not been present for the homelessness discussion, was unaware Leach was taking the job at Mississippi State. “I’ve not heard that as being confirmed,” he said when asked about Leach leaving.

When Inslee was told it was confirmed, and Leach had even changed his Twitter biography, he paused for a moment.

“There may be some who don’t consider that losing,” the governor said. Inslee, who is a graduate of the University of Washington, couldn’t resist a final dig at Leach’s record against his alma mater: “I look forward to a robust, competitive Apple Cup.”

UW beat WSU 31-13 in Seattle in November, the Huskies’ seventh straight victory over the Cougars. In each of those games, Washington held Leach’s high-powered offense under 20 points.

The Apple Cup will have a much different look in 2020 when the Cougars and Huskies face off in Pullman, where both teams will be led by new coaches. North Central High and Eastern Washington graduate Jimmy Lake was elevated from Washington defensive coordinator to head coach when Chris Petersen stepped down in December.