Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Washington State coach Mike Leach was named the new head coach at Mississippi State, the school announced Thursday.
"Mike Leach is a proven winner who has established a culture of excellence for nearly two decades as a head coach," Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. "An offensive genius and two-time national coach of the year, he has a track record of building programs to national prominence with accountability and a blue-collar approach.
"We are thrilled to welcome him and his family to the Mississippi State family and look forward to watching our football program grow under his leadership."
Leach initially agreed in principle to a one-year contract extension with Washington State through the 2024 season on Dec. 5. Before accepting the head coaching position at Mississippi State, he also talked to Arkansas about its opening.
Leach, 58, will replace former Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead, who was fired Jan. 3 after posting a 14-12 record in two seasons at Mississippi State. Moorhead's tenure ended with a 38-28 loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl last month.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be the head football coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs," Leach said in a statement. "I loved Washington State, but I am excited for the next chapter in the SEC. It's a privilege to be a part of the MSU family, and we look forward to getting down to Starkville shortly."
In 18 seasons, Leach has guided his teams to 16 bowl appearances. During his eight seasons at Washington State, he compiled a 55-47 record.