OFFICIAL GAME PROGRAM
DECEMBER 28, 2018
Mike Leach, the 2018 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, is in his
seventh season leading the Washington State Cougar
football program after being named the Cougars’ head
football coach on Nov. 30, 2011. Leach has guided WSU to fi ve bowl
appearances in his fi rst seven years, including each of the last four
years, a program fi rst.
This season Leach was recognized for one of his fi nest jobs
coaching, leading the Cougars to a 10-2 regular season record,
including seven-straight wins at one point. The Cougars were ranked
in the top 13 of each College Football Playoff Ranking, including
four-straight weeks at No. 8, while also leading the nation in passing
for the third time in the past fi ve years. Senior quarterback Gardner
Minshew II, leads the nation in passing yards per game and total
offense. The most notable improvement came from the offensive
line, which allowed 44 sacks in 2017 (124th nationally) and only
11 (seventh) in 2018.
In 2017, Leach guided WSU to a 9-4 record, 6-3 in
conference play, and a second-straight Holiday Bowl
appearance and third-straight bowl game overall. The
Cougars opened the season with six-straight victories
and posted wins over No. 5 USC and No. 18 Stanford.
Once again, the Cougar offense ranked among the
national leaders in passing offense (second) while
the defense ranked in the national top 25 in seven
categories, including four in the top 10. Senior offensive
lineman Cody O’Connell repeated as a First-Team
All-American while junior Hercules Mata’afa also earned
First-Team All-American honors.
In 2016, the Cougars posted an 8-5 mark, including
a 7-2 record in Pac-12 play, along with an appearance
in the Holiday Bowl. Leach guided a WSU offense that
led the Pac-12 and fi nished third nationally in passing
(362.5 ypg), and also led the Pac-12 in completion
percentage, second nationally, at .703 percent. WSU
won eight-straight games midway through the season,
the most since the 1930 campaign. Redshirt junior offensive lineman Cody O’Connell was a
unanimous All-American and fi nalist for the Outland Trophy.
The Cougars ended the 2015 season with a 9-4 record, 6-3 in the Pac-12 Conference, capped
by a 20-14 Sun Bowl victory over Miami as Leach was named Pac-12 Co-Coach of the Year.
After starting the season 2-2, the Cougars went 7-2 over the fi nal nine games, posting lastminute
victories at Oregon and No. 18 UCLA, and rallying from a fourth-quarter defi cit in a 38-24
victory against Arizona State. For the second-straight season WSU led the nation in passing at