There will never be another No. 1: Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson has Washington State jersey retired

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There will never be another No. 1: Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson has Washington State jersey retired

Long before Klay Thompson led the Golden State Warriors to three championships, the prolific shooter was making memories on the court as a Washington State Cougar. 

In his three years with WSU, Thompson earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors in his first year, was named All-Pac 10 First-Team during his sophomore season, became the first Cougar to be named Pac-10 Player of the Week on three occasions and set a tournament record with 43 points and eight-three pointers in the 2011 Pac-10 tournament.

Thompson finished his junior campaign by setting a single-season scoring record with 733 points to become WSU’s third all-time scorer. He chose to forgo his senior year, declaring for the draft in 2011. He was selected 11th overall by the Warriors, where he has been named NBA All-Star on five occasions, a two-time All-NBA Third Team selection, All-Defensive Second Team and was integral in leading the Warriors to their first NBA championship in 40 years in 2014. 

Now, Thompson is joining Steve Puidokas as the second Washington State player to have his jersey number retired.

Thompson returned to Pullman on Saturday to watch his No. 1 basketball jersey go into the rafters of Beasley Coliseum during halftime of the Washington State-Oregon State game. Moments after Washington State's Isaac Bonton hit a buzzer beater from deep to end the first half, Thompson took the court. 

"Everytime I walk in here, I get chills," Thompson said to an electric Beasley Coliseum. "I will always be a Coug. I'll always be a Coug. I'm so grateful for where basketball has taken me. It's taken me to China, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain, around the world. But there's nowhere like Pullman. There's nowhere like the Palouse."

He was joined by a star-studded cast, including fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry, former teammate Zaza Pachulia and Warriors assistant GM Mike Dunleavy.

Washington State’s Anthony Gordon to wear No. 3 jersey in honor of Tyler Hilinski at Senior Bowl

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Washington State’s Anthony Gordon to wear No. 3 jersey in honor of Tyler Hilinski at Senior Bowl

When Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon steps onto the field at Ladd Peebles Stadium for the Reese’s Senior Bowl Saturday, he’ll be donning a special jersey.

Gordon will wear the No. 3 jersey in tribute to honor late teammate, Tyler Hilinski, who passed away in 2018. The news was first reported by Buccaneers beat reporter Trevor Sikkema of Pewter Report.

Former WSU quarterback Luke Falk was the first Coug to wear Hiliski’s number on his jersey in memory of Hilinski. He came up with the idea in 2018 and wore the No. 3 during Senior Bowl practices, just weeks after Hilinski took his life in an off-campus apartment in Pullman.

Gordon will join quarterbacks like Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Colorado’s Steven Montez in the Senior Bowl game. He led the country with 429.2 passing yards and added 48 touchdowns, second to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Three things we learned from Nick Rolovich's introductory press conference as Cougars head coach

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Washington State Cougars Football / Twitter

Three things we learned from Nick Rolovich's introductory press conference as Cougars head coach

Thursday afternoon, Washington State introduced its newest head football coach Nick Rolovich.

His arrival comes on the heels of Mike Leach departing Pullman for the Mississippi State job last week. After a few days of searching, Washington State announced the hiring of Rolovich.

Here's what we learned from his press conference.

1. They'll implement the Run N' Shoot offense and be aggressive on defense

Rolovich plans on bringing over his Run N' Shoot offense that worked well at his previous coaching stop in Hawaii.  The offense emphasizes receiver motion to tell the quarterback whether the defense is using man-to-man or zone coverage, and routes change on the fly depending on that coverage. Leach's weapons from the air raid offense should find the transition easier than most changes and Rolovich says he will run the ball a lot more than Leach did, which running back Max Borghi was happy to hear. 

As for the defense, Rolovich won't specify a scheme until they hire a defensive coordinator, but he wants an aggressive attack that will have the opposing players sore on Sundays knowing they played the Cougars the day prior.

2. Recruiting will start in Washington and expand from there

As for recruiting, Rolovich stated that the Cougars will start their pursuits in the home state of Washington, but will recruit in many other places, as well. This strategy makes sense because Washington typically has good high school talent, and when you're recruiting to Pullman, it's easier to convince local kids to spend four years in-state than to kids from Southern California. The Cougars also typically recruit near the bottom of the conference, so it's not like they will be recruiting players who may not be high-flyers by targeting under-recruited local prospects. Washington State will not win games from recruiting, but rather, will develop those players and out scheming opposing teams. 

3. This is not a rebuild

The Cougars have made it to five consecutive bowl games and have plenty of talent on their roster. Rolovich made it clear that he expects to compete right away at the conference.

This is not a rebuild, this is an addition, and all the permits are in place.

This will not be like when Leach took over and needed to completely turn around the program, the Cougars should expect to play in a bowl game, at minimum, next season. 

You can watch the full press conference here. 

Mike Leach expresses gratitude towards WSU Cougars, fans

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Mike Leach expresses gratitude towards WSU Cougars, fans

The Washington State Cougars world was turned upside down when news broke that Mike Leach had accepted the head coaching positon at Mississippi State. 

Hours later, the Pirate was ringing a cow bell above his head and being introduced as the Bulldogs head coach. 

It all seemingly happened so quickly. 

Leach had just completed his eigth season in Pullman and had signed a contract extension in December. Despite all of that, Leach now calls Starkville home. 

As he departs, Leach took time to acknowledge the Cougars fanbase. 


I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the last eight years. It has been my honor to be your head football coach and to be able to work with such tremendous leaders as the late Elson Floyd, Kirk Schulz, Bill Moos, and Pat Chun.

When I was hired at Washington State, I said that it would take all of us together to bring WSU football back to prominence. You didn't let us down and we appreciate all of your support. It has been a fun ride with 55 wins and 6 bowl games in our time at WSU, with yo making Martin Stadium one of the best environments in the PAC-12. We truly hope that we left Washington State Football in a better place than where it was 8 years ago and wish nothing but future success for the Cougs.

Once a Coug, always a Coug."

As the search begins for Leach's replacement, they'll have a tall task of replacing the Pirate.

Mike Leach looks like a guy who immediately regrets taking the Mississippi State job

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MSU

Mike Leach looks like a guy who immediately regrets taking the Mississippi State job

Mike Leach to Mississippi seemed like it unfolded in just a matter of minutes. 

After Leach reportedly interviewed for the vacant coaching position at Mississippi State on Tuesday and by Thursday morning, MSU's AD was posting subliminal messages about hiring "The Pirate" away from Washington State. 

WSU fans were used to this type of speculation. They had a scare on social media a few days after the regular season that he accepted the Ole Miss job. That proved to be a fake. 

Leach’s name was also thrown around during Arkansas’ coaching search. Then there was Florida State and Missouri, but nothing ever came of it. 

Then, Thursday morning happened, and just like that, Mike Leach was the head coach of Mississippi State. 

One would think the new Bulldogs head coach would be elated... except, he doesn't really seem very happy. 

Leach looks like he's going to get real tired of that cow bell real quickly. 

And of all of the photos to use... 

Sure, Leach is probably excited about the new opportunity, but he looks more like a man who is asking himself, "What have I done...?"

First order of business: Find a crazy, long winded way of explaining away the need for the cow bells. 

Second: Eliminate the use of the term, "StarkVegas."

Happy trails, Pirate! 

 

Let's remember some of the craziest things Mike Leach said while at WSU

Let's remember some of the craziest things Mike Leach said while at WSU

In light of Mike Leach reportedly leaving Washington State to accept the head coaching position at Mississippi State, let's look back at "The Pirate's" best moments as a Cougar.

Leach has always been known for his theatrics and interesting opinions or tangents. His run at Washington State did not disappoint in that regard.

Let's dig in.

Mike Leach "hopes" Big Foot exists but isn't optimistic

He does however think Aliens exist... somewhere.

Mike Leach calls Autzen Stadium 'Middle-Earth'

Heading into a matchup this past season on the road against Oregon he spoke favorably about their stadium.

I’ve always like Autzen Stadium. It is one of my favorites in the country. Most people have it as the loudest, I would agree with that... [a] great looking stadium that looks like Middle Earth

Mike Leach demonstrates how to do a shovel pass...during his press conference

 

Leach claims his players are “fat, dumb, and happy and entitled”

Just this year, after Washington State gave up 50 points in the second half to UCLA, Leach gave a candid response about his players in the press conference:

We're a very soft team. We get a lot of good press. We like to read it a lot. We like to pat ourselves on the back, and if we get any resistance, we fold...They're fat, dumb and happy and entitled.

Leach ranks the Pac-12 mascots if they were going to fight

Again this season, Mike Leach was asked which Pac-12 mascot would win in a fight against all other Pac-12 mascots. His answer did not disappoint.

Leach bellyflops

Ahead of the Cougars’ season opener, the team went for a swim at a local pool. We got this fantastic video out of it. 

 

Once again, he roasts his players

If you’re a Cougar and your team plays poorly, be prepared for your coach to keep it real. 

Mike Leach sticks up for cats

He didn't think that cats got a fair shake,

When it comes to weddings "the women lose their minds"

Leach didn't care too much about how his wedding went. The women in his life did.

A compilation of his best quotes from 2019

Here's some more quotes from the man himself from his career in general

"The Pirate" will take his aerial assault, and his vibrant personality to the SEC. He will be missed, sort of. 

Reports: Mike Leach hired as Mississippi State head coach

Reports: Mike Leach hired as Mississippi State head coach

The Cougars will begin their first coaching search in nearly a decade.

According to Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel, Washington State head coach Mike Leach has accepted the same position at Mississippi State.  

According to radio host Paul Finebaum, Leach interviewed for the position with Mississippi State Tuesday afternoon. Bo Bounds ("Out of Bounds" radio) said that Mississippi State Atheltic Director John Cohen traveled to Key West, Florida for the interview. 

The Bulldogs recently fired Joe Moorhead following a 6-7 sophomore season where they lost to Louisville in the Music City Bowl. Moorhead finished his stint 14-12 after replacing Dan Mullen who left for the head coaching position at Florida after the 2017 season. 

The news may come as a surprise to many since the Cougars and Leach agreed to a one-year contract extension to keep him through 2024 before the Cheez-It Bowl after Florida State and Missouri failed to show a legitimate interest in Leach. He was set to begin his ninth season at Washington State where he won 55 games, good for third all-time in school history. The Cougars had qualified for a bowl game five consecutive seasons. 

However, the former Cougars head coach has been linked to SEC jobs in the past. Leach interviewed for the Tennessee Volunteers gig in 2017 and was linked to the vacant Arkansas job before the Razorbacks hired Sam Pittman.