Ex-Hawaii HC Nick Rolovich Named Mike Leach's Replacement at Washington State

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 15, 2020

Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich holds the Hawaii Bowl trophy after the team's 38-34 win over BYU in the NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

Washington State has hired Hawaii's Nick Rolovich as its new head football coach, per Hawaii athletic director David Matlin (h/t ESPN's Kyle Bonagura).

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic originally reported the news on Monday. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg (h/t Bonagura) reported Rolovich will "sign a five-year deal worth approximately $3 million annually."

Rolovich replaces Mike Leach, who left WSU to become Mississippi State's head coach. 

The 40-year-old Rolovich coached Hawaii to a 28-27 record from 2016-2019. Last year's team went 10-5 and earned a Mountain West Conference Championship Game berth. Hawaii lost 31-10 to Boise State but earned a 10-win season after defeating BYU in the Hawaii Bowl.

Under Rolovich, the Rainbow Warriors earned Hawaii Bowl bids in three of four seasons. They went .500 or better each season outside a 3-9 campaign in 2017.

Rolovich takes over a Washington State team that has gone to bowl games in each of its past five seasons. The Cougars won 11 games and finished 10th in national polls in 2018 before a 6-7 mark (3-6 in Pac-12) last season. WSU lost to Air Force in the 2019 Cheez-It Bowl.

Per Bonagura, Rolovich "operates an offense that has a lot of similarities to the Air Raid scheme Leach is famous for."

WSU finished first in Division I-FBS with 437.2 passing yards per game, according to NCAA.com. That mark led D-I easily, but Hawaii was fifth with 337.1 passing yards per contest.

Hawaii was also second in Division I-FBS in pass attempts (635). WSU was first in that as well (710).

Rolovich's first game leading the Cougars will be August 29 at Arizona.