Mike Leach hasn’t been at Washington State University as a contracted head football coach three seasons, yet he is currently the fifth-longest tenured head coach in the Pac-12 Conference.
When I saw this list compiled by Syracuse.com’s Patrick Stevens I had to ask myself, how in the world did Leach find his way into the top half so quickly? I almost couldn’t believe it, but sure enough, 11 days ahead of Jim Mora at UCLA and 15 ahead of Todd Graham, Bill Moos grabbed his chance to land one of the top football coaches in America right here at WSU. Had it happened 10 days earlier Leach would have moved up even higher.
The turnover-rate in today’s college football game is at an all-time high. It’s crazy to think how many new coaches have been hired around the country. In fact Leach has made his way into the top half of the national board when considering tenure as well, coming in at No. 61.
And remember that not all of this is schools wanting to get rid of the man in charge to find someone more apt to win recruiting wars. In the case of ASU’s Todd Graham, Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, USC’s Steve Sarkisian, Washington’s Chris Petersen and many others around the country, it was all about finding that “dream job”.
Interestingly, they are all on the bottom half of this list, which is a tribute to the fact those types of methods don’t often yield lengthy careers in one spot. Although Sark and Petersen were at their previous stops for a long time so it may not be a totally fair assessment in their case.
In fact I would think that unless something goes terribly wrong in Seattle Petersen could finish his career there. Based on the previous coaching tenure and loyalty of Mike Leach at Texas Tech, it would also be fair to say that he could well finish his career in crimson and gray. That could easily become the longest-standing head coaching rivalry in the Pac-12 in the near future as the conference continues the merry go-round.
Here’s a full list of the Pac-12’s coaching tenure.
8. Feb. 19, 2003, Mike Riley, Oregon State
11. Dec. 9, 2004, Kyle Whittington, Utah
55. Jan. 13, 2011, David Shaw, Stanford
59. Nov. 21, 2011, Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
61. Nov. 30, 2011, Mike Leach, Washington State
T-68. Dec. 10, 2011, Jim Mora, UCLA
T-72. Dec. 14, 2011, Todd Graham, Arizona State
T-87. Dec. 5, 2012, Sonny Dykes, California
T-92. Dec. 10, 2012, Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
107. Jan. 20, 2013, Mark Helfrich, Oregon
109. Dec. 2, 2013, Steve Sarkisian, Southern California
111. Dec. 6, 2013, Chris Petersen, Washington