Starkville, MS (ESPN) – Mississippi State is hiring Washington State coach Mike Leach, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.
Leach had agreed in principle to a one-year contract extension through the 2024 season on Dec. 5, prior to the Cougars' appearance in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Washington State coaches were informed about Leach's move on Thursday morning, a source told ESPN.
Yahoo Sports was the first to report the hire.
Leach is 55-47 in eight seasons at Washington State and 139-90 overall as an FBS coach. He went 37-15 from 2015 to 2018, including an 11-2 mark in 2018, when Washington State set a single-season team record for wins and finished No. 10 in the final AP poll.
He guided Washington State to a school-record fifth consecutive bowl appearance this season, losing 31-21 to Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 28.
Leach will succeed Joe Moorhead, who was fired Jan. 3 after going 14-12 in two seasons with the Bulldogs. His stint ended with a 38-28 loss to Louisville in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Sources said school officials were not only upset by the team's performance in the Music City Bowl, but also with the situation involving starting quarterback Garrett Shrader, who missed the game with an eye injury reportedly sustained during a scuffle at practice.
Leach, who had talked to Arkansas about its coaching vacancy earlier this year, was close to landing the Tennessee job two years ago before the Vols fired athletic director John Currie and replaced him with Phillip Fulmer, who hired Jeremy Pruitt as head coach.