Report: Leach interviewed with Mississippi State

Pete Caster/Lewiston TribuneWashington State head coach Mike Leach argues with a referee after an offensive pass interference was called late in the fourth quarter of the Cheez-It Bowl at Chase Field Dec. 27 in Phoenix. Leach has reportedly interviewed for a position at Mississippi State.

This year, the Mike Leach job speculation game is going into overtime.

More than a month after Washington State announced its football coach had agreed in principle to a rollover of his five-year contract, Leach reportedly has been interviewed in connection with the vacancy at Mississippi State.

TV personality Paul Finebaum tweeted Wednesday his ESPN colleague, Bo Bounds, had told him Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen interviewed Leach this week in Key West, Fla., where the coach owns a bungalow.

The Starkville, Miss., school is seeking a replacement for Joe Moorhead, who was fired after going 14-12 in two seasons. Like Leach’s team at WSU, the Bulldogs lost a bowl game to finish 6-7 this past season.

Throughout Leach’s eight-year coaching tenure with the Cougars, especially during his present streak of five consecutive bowl appearances, his name routinely has been mentioned in connection with other jobs, particularly in the South. In the days after the conclusion of the 2019 season, the list included Arkansas, Florida State, Mississippi and Missouri. All those vacancies have been filled.

The rumors were quelled when WSU announced Dec. 5 that Leach had agreed to a rollover of his original five-year contract and its subsequent amendments. Leach said later he didn’t need to sign anything to make the rollover official.

“It was already signed with the original contract,” he said. “It’s a rollover each year. It’s great to work with Washington State, but it automatically rolls over. That announcement reinforced that.”

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian also is being mentioned for the Mississippi State job, along with head coaches Billy Napier of Louisiana-Lafayette and Skip Holtz of Louisiana Tech.

Dale Grummert may be contacted at daleg@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2290.

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