Cougars take home Pac-12 awards

Leach receives conference Coach of the Year award while Minshew takes Offensive Player of the Year

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Cougars take home Pac-12 awards

Head coach Mike Leach makes calls from the sideline in the game against Eastern Washington Sept. 15 at Martin Stadium.

Head coach Mike Leach makes calls from the sideline in the game against Eastern Washington Sept. 15 at Martin Stadium.

OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Head coach Mike Leach makes calls from the sideline in the game against Eastern Washington Sept. 15 at Martin Stadium.

OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Head coach Mike Leach makes calls from the sideline in the game against Eastern Washington Sept. 15 at Martin Stadium.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

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WSU Head Coach Mike Leach has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and quarterback Gardner Minshew II is the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Leach won his award after leading WSU to a 10-win season for the fifth time in program history and the first since 2003. This was an impressive accomplishment given the fact the Cougars were projected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North prior to the season. Instead, WSU ended up being the Pac-12’s final hope of reaching the College Football Playoff this year.

Leach is also the first coach in the history of the program to lead the Cougars to four consecutive bowl games.

Maybe the biggest challenge for Leach going into the season was finding a way to replace the Pac-12’s all-time passing leader Luke Falk, but he found his answer in the form of Minshew.

In his one season in Pullman, Minshew finished second in the nation with 4,477 passing yards and was tied for fifth in the nation in passing touchdowns with 36. He led the nation in completions with 433 and passing yards per game with 373.1.

Minshew mania swept the nation as mustaches started to appear all over Pullman.From children dressing up as the quarterback for Halloween to Leach sporting a fake mustache after Minshew gave him one following a win over Colorado.

Minshew also won the 2018 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation’s top senior or fourth year quarterback.

Minshew and Leach will look to finish their impressive season together with a win against No. 24 Iowa State in the Valero Alamo Bowl at 6 p.m. Dec. 28.