The Washington State Cougars wanted Mike Leach, and Mike Leach wanted the Cougars back. Speaking to reporters shortly after the Cougars announced Leach as their next head coach, athletic director Bill Moos said, "A lot of schools wanted Mike Leach. He wanted us." The courtship began in mid-November, as WSU was a few games from concluding its season, and ended with an offer on Monday.
Moos flew down to Key West to meet with Leach on the morning of Nov. 16. The two spent hours together discussing football and life, getting to know each other along the way. Back in 2009, they had been introduced when Leach conducted a coaching clinic with the Cougars in Spokane. Moos said he felt he had to lay the foundation with Leach in order to have a chance to get him, should the decision be made to go in a different direction.
Following the meeting, the two went their separate ways, but talks began to heat up after the Cougars were eliminated from bowl contention with a loss to Utah. The two sides began working on the framework of a contract through intermediaries, though a final decision about the future of head coach Paul Wulff had yet to be made. Following an Apple Cup loss, Moos made the decision to terminate Wulff, thus beginning the more official courtship of Leach.
On Monday of this week, a contract offer was officially extended to Leach. There was no real negotiating over the salary and numbers in the contract, with Moos saying he made an offer and Leach said, "hey that's great." Leach will make a total of $2.25 million per year over the course of the five-year rollover contract. He will also have $1.8 million for assistants, which is just a hair above average in the Pac-12. The buyout for Leach's contract will begin at $2 million, decreasing by $400,000 each year.