Mike Leach died on Monday, leaving behind a legacy of creativity and authenticity on and off the field. Leach revolutionized the air raid offense, experiencing success across three different Power Five Conferences and mentoring a generation of bright football minds to reinvent the game themselves.
Beyond his success on the field, Leach earned a reputation as a true entertainer, often espousing advice -- solicited and unsolicited -- and providing extremely thorough answers to reporters’ questions.
Here’s a look at some of Leach’s best interview moments.
Let’s start in Pullman, Wash. The year was 2017 when No. 5 USC and Sam Darnold rolled into Martin Stadium in search of their fifth straight win. Kicker Erik Powell nailed a field goal with 1:40 remaining and the Cougars held on to upset the Trojans. After the game, Leach compared the scene in the stadium to Woodstock, “except everyone’s got their clothes on.”
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Leach, who was born in 1961, would have been eight at the time of Woodstock.
Less than two months later with a Pac-12 Championship and a date with the Washington Huskies on the line, Leach was back on the mic. But in-state rivalries and conference titles were the last things on his mind. When a reporter, who was due to get married in nine days, asked Leach for advice, he got that and more.
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Leach has been married to his wife, Sharon, for more than 35 years but seemed to recall specific details about the wedding-planning process.
Word of Leach’s wedding advice followed him from Pullman to Starkville and Alyssa Lang of the SEC Network was not going to pass up on the opportunity to get her own personal take from Mike Leach.
Weddings weren’t the only topic Leach revisited in interviews. He was known for offering insight into the culinary arts of candy, coffee and nachos.
Even when he kept his answers concise, he always had a quip or notable Leach-ism at the end. Throughout this past season, Mississippi struggled to convert PATs, at one point only making 87.1% of their 31 attempts, good for fifth-worst in the country.
When questioned about what strategy changes could be made, Leach joked – or so we think – that he might have to take matters into his own hands and suit up.
Back in 2008, Leach was featured on 60 Minutes for his mastery of the air raid offense at Texas Tech.
With the help of host Scott Pelley, a Texas Tech graduate himself, America got a better look at how Leach would go on to charm college football.
Just over a month ago, Leach gave fans another entertaining segment when Mississippi State hosted Auburn. The Bulldogs went on to win in overtime but Leach was not pleased with his players’ effort, even folding their chair midway through the game saying “they didn’t deserve to sit.”
Here are a few more interview gems of Leach throughout his career.