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Commentary: Leach’s buyout is steep, but worth it – if more embarrassment ensues

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We start with a question I asked about my own alma mater in yesterday’s loss to Northwestern – but I direct it to Mike Leach and the Washington State football team instead:

“What the heck were you doing all offseason?!?”

I mean, you lost to Portland State, a football subdivision team you were favored by 31 points to beat...in your home opener...in a recently renovated stadium paid for in part by incredibly loyal boosters...in the fourth year of a coach once heralded as the savior of the football program! If that’s not one of the most embarrassing losses in the history of Washington State football, I’m not sure what is.

The worst part is – Mike Leach’s contract runs through 2019, and a buyout at the end of the year would cost the school close to five million dollars.

While he might be known as the “Pirate of the Palouse,” it’s no reason for Leach to be stealing good people’s money – which is how it might seem to some Cougar fans out there.

Listen, Washington St. fans will react by either agreeing with me or telling me to mind my own business – that because I’m not a Washington State alum, I don’t understand the school or the program or...yada yada yada. But that anger is misdirected. Don’t get mad at me for watching with a completely unbiased eye and coming to the same conclusion: That yesterday’s performance was atrocious, mortifying and unacceptable. That Coug fans deserve better – and certainly don’t deserve to be mocked for the next year by graduates of Portland State.

Mike Leach himself said that this was the most talented program he’s had in his four years at the school.

So maybe talent’s not the issue – and coaching is. Or...he’s got a great future selling snake oil.

And that’s why I praise the vocal contempt for Leach – because if I had donated a bunch of money and saw that performance, I would too. It shows anger. It shows disgust. But most of all, it shows that the fan base cares. That they’re exhausted from being the perennial doormat in the conference – and that they could’ve gotten equal humiliation at a fourth of the cost under Paul Wulff. I’d be calling for my hard-earned dollars back – and I’d be calling for changes across the board.

Listen, I’m wholeheartedly rooting for the Cougs to somehow turn it around, make a bowl game, pull a few upsets this year (Sidenote: Stanford wouldn’t be an upset– they were admittedly horrendous too).

But by year four, the steps forward need to come more often. And the painful losses need to end.

Buyout or not, the patience game with Leach is over. Either get better this season – or it's time to strongly consider giving Leach his treasure chest of gold – and making him walk the plank.