The meeting took place with Tennessee athletic director John Currie in Los Angeles on Thursday, a source told The Associated Press.
The source spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither side intended to make the meeting public. Leach was scheduled to fly back to Pullman, Washington, later Thursday, and Currie was expected to land in Knoxville on Friday morning.
The Vols and Leach have not negotiated, and a deal between the two is not imminent, a source told ESPN.
When Leach surfaced as a potential candidate elsewhere last week, WSU president Kirk Schulz met with athletic department officials and decided that if Leach were to leave, they would make defensive coordinator Alex Grinch the primary target to replace him, sources told ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura.
At that time, WSU was already engaged in talks with Leach’s representative on a raise and contract extension. An offer was presented to Leach’s representative this week, and he was underwhelmed by the offer, sources told Bonagura.
Leach had a good relationship with former WSU athletic director Bill Moos, and after Moos left to take the same job at Nebraska on Oct. 15, Leach made a recommendation to Schulz on a possible successor. The job has yet to be filled, and Leach has grown frustrated by the lack of communication about the search process, a source told Bonagura. John Johnson, the interim AD, will not be considered for the permanent job.
Leach has been at Washington State for six years and is 38-37, but 26-12 the past three seasons, including 19-8 in the Pac-12. Previously, he coached 10 seasons at Texas Tech and went 84-43.
Tennessee (4-8, 0-8 SEC) fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after a season in which it set a school record for losses. This marks Tennessee’s fourth coaching search since the forced exit of Phillip Fulmer in 2008.
Tennessee was close to hiring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, but the deal fell through due to backlash from fans and supporters.
Vols officials also have courted Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, NC State’s Dave Doeren and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.