A Washington State football player, wide receiver Marquess Wilson, has quit the Cougars’ team, citing abuse by head coach Mike Leach and his coaching staff.
Mike Leach led by Texas Tech for ten years but his tenure ended in a widely publicized firing due to player mistreatment issues. Despite the publicity nightmare in Lubbock, Leach and his high-powered spread offensive system became one of the hottest coaching commodities last season after the abuse buzz died down. He accepted the position with Cougars in an attempt to turn around a beleagured program but appears to have stirred up another wave of controversy just 11 months into his new gig.
Wilson was suspended indefinitely by Leach after he left a mandatory conditioning session last Sunday, the day after a blowout loss to Utah but in a statement released Saturday, the 2011 All-Pac 12 Second Team selection said otherwise:
Dear Cougar Nation:
It is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to forgo playing football for Washington State University. I realize the school is saying that I am suspended for violating team policies and may return next week, but this is a lie. This is an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room.
It is been a privilege to be a Cougar, to perform on your field and wear the Crimson and Gray. I would like to thank Washington State University for giving me the opportunity to do what I love most, to play football and receive a quality education for the past three years. I’m grateful to the athletic department for the coaching, care and encouragement I have received prior to this season.
This was going to be our year. My teammates and I were aspiring to be the winning team you deserve. Unfortunately for all, the new coaching staff has destroyed that endeavor. I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program.
My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not “tough love”. It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride. I resign from this team. I am deeply sorry to those I am letting down. I am not a quitter. I was raised by my family, and many previous coaches to exhibit dedication and embrace sacrifice, but there comes a time when one has to draw a line in the sand.
Lastly, I thank my fellow teammates, those who also have left the program this year, and those we are leaving behind. I hope our departure will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field. I pray for healing and recovery for all those who have been hurt by this treatment
Leach temporarily brought excitement back to the football program in Pullman but barring a tremendously well-orchestrated response it seems unlikely he will last another 11 days, let alone 11 more months.
In unrelated news, current Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville slapped the headset off assistant coach Kevin Oliver during a frustrating two overtime victory over 1-9 Kansas.
Featured Image: Jake Roth/US Presswire