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Mike Leach is ready for his ESPN closeup

Tune in, uh, now!

Idaho v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good morning. If you live in the Pacific time zone, and you tend to wake up early, TURN ON ESPN RIGHT NOW. This article published at the same time that ESPN aired E:60, its weekly answer to HBO’s Real Sports. This week’s edition features a segment that has been a long time in the making. So long, in fact, that I’d completely forgotten about it. For example, here is Schaap with Leach in Pullman, working on the piece nearly a year ago.

Well the feature is finally ready for prime time - ok, sunrise but you get my point - and is airing for the first time on Sunday. In advance of the segment, the Spokesman Review conducted an interview with the great Jeremy Schaap, who accompanied Leach around his hometown (Cody, Wyoming), his favorite place on earth (Key West), as well as Pullman.

Here are a couple quotes from the interview that stuck out to me:

We just got a lot of access with Mike. That was one of the things that really appealed. Not only is he an interesting guy, not only is he obviously a successful coach, not only is he controversial, but he’s also willing to give you access.

Interesting how Leach’s philosophy on access seems to ebb and flow. He’s happy to let reporters tag along on his famous walks to work, he’s ubiquitous on the talk radio circuit and he allowed time for Schaap/ESPN on several different occasions. Yet when it comes to activities surrounding his team (practice, game prep, injuries), you’re likely to get a better read on ballistic missile program developments in Pyongyang.

I’d never been to Montana before, so I flew into Billings. Checked that off my list...I told myself I was going to go to the Little Bighorn site. I was thinking, maybe we should drag Mike there but that might have been too symbolic for our purposes. I was looking forward to just talking to a guy who knows so much about so many different things.

I’m sure Schaap and Leach walking around Little Bighorn would have made for some interesting television, but they might still be there.

It’s also important that there are controversies there. He understands when you do this kind of story, you’re going to address them. So that element gives him some layers, too. It’s not a one-note story.

This will be the portion where I am most interested in what Leach says.

He doesn’t even show a reluctance to thrust himself into the world of politics and for the people at the institutions that employ him, that has proven at times to be problematic.

For better or worse!

I had maybe the best meal in had in 2018 at Black Cypress by myself one night. It was just outstanding. So I’ve got to give him credit for that. Oh my god, it was awesome. Better than any restaurant I ate at in 2018, that’s for sure.

Now that I no longer have family in Pullman, one of my biggest regrets is having never made it to Black Cypress for a meal. I’ve never heard a negative opinion.

I’m also doing a Drew Bledsoe story, so all the sudden I was in Eastern Washington, I was in Walla Walla for a few days. I think it was right after I saw Leach, I was in Walla Walla a few weeks later.

Jeremy has gone from zero to 100 when it comes to experiencing Eastern Washington! Looking forward to another E:60 feature on a Coug. Think it will involve wine at all?

If you forgot to set the DVR, there are a few more opportunities to catch the show.


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This Week in Parenting

Big week for Team Kendall, especially for mom. At 3:30 Sunday morning, Mrs. Kendall dropped the 10 year-old off at the base, where he departed for a week of camping and Boy Scouting in Croatia. As someone who deployed for 70 days before the oldest was three months old, I’m pretty used to being away, but mom is a different story. We took a trip to Africa last year and were gone for a couple weeks, but it’s different when the kid is leaving you rather than vice versa. The hope is he has so much fun that he doesn’t want to come home. It’s better than the alternative.

Said camping trip almost didn’t happen, due largely to the fact that people still have no idea how to communicate in the year 2019. What happened, you ask? Well you didn’t ask but I’ll tell you anyway. On 27 June, I got an email stating that parents needed to make sure to fill out BSA medical forms, Parts A, B and C. Being entirely unfamiliar with this, I replied immediately, asking how I could find and complete them. Crickets.

A bit later we were at his scouting meeting, and another lady had the medical forms with her. I filled them all out, and was told that he was cleared to go. 13 days later, while in the US, I got another email stating that his forms had been lost. Super. This week, she sent me the forms online and I started to fill them out. As I did so, I realized that the final form has a signature block for a physician. “This is odd,” I thought, “she didn’t say anything about needing a doctor’s signature when I handed her the originally-signed forms.”


Here is what I did reply: “Well, I don’t know how we’re going to get this signed by Friday, but we’ll try everything.” She said that there were a few American-centric clinics off base that could do same-day walk-ins, for a fee. I called, and was of course given bad information. My wife also called and was told that they in fact did not do walk-ins, and had no appointments available.

After a couple unsuccessful tries, I got ahold of an operator on the base appointment line. As God is my witness, here is what I told her, “I desperately need your help, or my 10 year-old son is going to file emancipation paperwork next Monday.” Mind you, for the entire week, he’d been telling anyone who would listen about all the cool things (astronomy, kayaking, rifle shooting, archery) that he was going to do in Croatia. It was going to suck really goddamn hard to tell him that he couldn’t go because dad didn’t have his s**t together.

The nice lady on the other end of the appointment line told me that if I took the form in early Wednesday, they could do some sort of something and three days later I’d have my signature. I did just that. Fast forward to Friday at lunch time - nothing. Finally, I ran over to the clinic to check on it before my all-important (read: not important at all) 3pm staff meeting. To say I was sweating bullets is the year’s biggest understatement. About 30 minutes later I had my signature, the forms were complete and my kid was cleared to go to Croatia, none the wiser about the high amount of stress mom and dad endured to get him there. All part of the deal, I guess.

On a lighter note, we were watching an old Jeopardy episode this week, in which “Stamps” was the final Jeopardy category. Unless it’s opera, ballet or something like that, I’m usually pretty confident in my chances. Well, here was the clue:

In case you haven’t been paying attention to this space (for your sake, hopefully you haven’t), the 10 year-old is a WWII savant. He looked at us with a giant grin and proudly spouted the answer, not knowing that he came about 90 minutes from declaring us the worst parents in the history of ever.


Best beer I had this week: Among the beers I brought with me from the US were Avery Rumkin, Ghostfish 4th Anniversary Belgian Quad and Bellevue High Voltage IIPA. I must say this was one of the highest quality variety packs I’ve left Spokane with. The runaway champion was Great Divide 25th Anniversary Big Yeti. I really regret the fact that I only brought one back.

Regarding the article, I may try and adopt this kid, because he will be a millionaire before he turns 30.

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