Rumors about Mike Leach and coaching vacancies in the South are nothing new. But somebody took the latest one to a new level.
A fake Twitter post Monday announced that the University of Mississippi had hired away the Washington State football coach, USA Today reported. The tweet was later discredited, but not before fooling fans and media outlets.
The unknown tweeter broke the phony news on an account assuming the identity of 247Sports reporter David Johnson, who covers Ole Miss. Johnson initially thought his account had been hacked but eventually learned a convincing facsimile had been produced, according to the USA Today report.
“Ole Miss has hired Mike Leach as their new head coach,” the tweeter wrote in a poster-style message featuring a photo of Leach. “We now know why administration moved so fast to terminate Matt Luke.”
Luke was fired Sunday after going 4-8 in his third season.
Leach has also been mentioned in a speculative way in connection with vacancies at Arkansas, Florida State, Missouri and elsewhere. Such reports have become common this time of year, and particularly detailed ones had Tennessee seriously considering Leach in 2017.
Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, an Arkansas graduate, endorsed Leach for the Razorbacks job last week.
“I don’t know if they can get him,” Switzer said in a podcast. “I don’t know if he’d be interested in the job, but the best guy out there is Mike Leach. He has an instant credibility.”
The rumored list of candidades for the Arkansas job is lengthy, and Leach doesn’t appear to in the top three, according to 247Sports.
Arkansas fired Chad Morris three weeks ago.
Leach’s Cougars lost 31-13 at Washington in their regular-season finale Friday, but at 6-6 they are bowl-eligible for the fifth straight year. In his previous 17 seasons as a head coach, including seven at WSU, Leach took teams to 15 bowls.
Bowl pairings will be announced Sunday. The Cougars’ most likely destinations are the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 27 or the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21.
Grummert may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2290.