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Wazzu gives Mike Leach raise

After they led Washington State to its first bowl game since 2003, coach Mike Leach and his assistant coaches are being rewarded with raises.

Leach's guaranteed annual compensation will raise to $2.75 million, an increase of $500,000, as first reported by the Spokesman-Review. An additional $500,000 will be added to the salary pool for Leach's assistant coaches, according to WSU athletic director Bill Moos.

When the Cougars finished the 2013 regular season 6-6, Moos had seen enough. He implemented the raises before the team's 48-45 loss to Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

"It was the first bowl game that Washington State had been to in 10 years -- that's a significant milestone," Moos said. "Secondly, when we hired Mike, now three years ago, he was like fourth or fifth in conference in his compensation. In just a couple of short years, he dropped down. I wanted to make sure we were proactive in keeping him competitive in the market of conference coaches and those around the country."

"The other part was I wanted to increase the salary pool for our assistants," he added. "It's just a great staff. Tremendous chemistry, and we were starting to get some schools trying to rob some of our guys."

With his new compensation, Leach stands to be one of the highest-paid coaches in the conference, behind Washington's Chris Petersen and UCLA's Jim Mora, both of whom are scheduled to earn base salaries of approximately $3.25 million in 2014. USC coach Steve Sarkisian, who made a base salary of $2.6 million in his final year at Washington, according to USA Today's salary database, also is likely to make more than Leach, but USC, as a private school, does not have to disclose salary information.

Defensive line coach Joe Salave'a, who has been linked to overtures from USC and Washington, was given a $100,000 raise to $275,000.

In Leach's two years at WSU, the Cougars are 9-16. They were 9-40 the previous four seasons, under former coach Paul Wulff.