You may be shocked to hear this, but many consider Mike Leach to be an interesting character. You're probably equally shocked to learn he has a lot of stories -- about everything.
Leach is not in the mold of the typical college football coach. I have to imagine that carries over to recruiting. Some college coaches probably try to seem cool to recruits. They'll call them "bro" or "dude" and talk about how "sick" that new video game, cell phone or song is. Can you imagine Leach doing that? I can't, not even a little. Instead, I would guess Leach is the same as he always is.
WSU is coming off a busy recruiting weekend with 11 players in Pullman on official visits. That led to me wondering how a typical conversation between Leach and a recruit goes. For this hypothetical, let's say the prospect's name is Andy and he's from Sacramento.
WSU chief of staff David Emerick and Andy walk into Coach Leach's office. Leach is sitting on a couch watching film. Film clicker in one hand, cup of coffee in the other. It's December in Pullman, but Leach is wearing shorts with sandals. Mike Leach does not care about your cold weather complaints.
Emerick: Hey coach, Andy is here on his official visit.
Leach: Hey there Andy. Glad you could make it to Pullman. Where'd you fly in from?
Leach: Been there many times. Interesting place. Remember the first time I went to Sacramento. It must have been 1984 ... no 1985. I was in law school at Pepperdine at the time. It was during one of the breaks, I can't remember which one. Must've been spring break 'cause it wasn't cold out.
I was driving along the road and saw something up ahead. You know when you see something in the distance, but can't make out what it is? We pull up and damn if it isn't a wild boar. And not just any boar. This thing was huge. Turns out it has an injured foot or leg or something. It's just laying in the middle of the road, making this awful screeching sound. Sounded like something you'd hear in a Dario Argento horror movie.
You ever watch any of his movies?
Andy: Uhh ... I don't think so.
Leach: Great director. Really underrated. You should check out his movies. Anyway, where was I?
Emerick: Wild boar.
Leach: Right the screeching boar. I wanted to leave it there and drive around, but I was with my friend Ralph. Real big guy. He had one of those mountain man beards. Didn't look like a Ralph. I guess he was a small baby and his mom really liked Ralph Waldo Emerson or something.
Ralph pulls a knife out of his pocket and opens the door. I'm thinking he's not about to do what I think he's about to do. Sure enough he did! He walked up to that thing and stabbed it right in the chest. He then proceeded to pick it up and carry it. It had to weigh 150 pounds, maybe more, but he managed to carry it back to the truck and drop it in the back.
I ask him what are we going do with it and he rattles off some address. We drive there and it's this little building. Real hole in the wall and the type of place you don't want to go unless you're with a guy the size of Ralph. He goes in and I don't know what he said to the guy inside, but the next thing I know a couple guys come get that boar and haul it into the back of the building. Turns out this is a small restaurant, one of the best barbecue places in California.
And to this day those were the best barbecue ribs I've ever had.
Andy: (Stares blankly in silence)
Emerick: Okay! Thanks coach! Andy, let me show you where all the flat scenes are going to go in the new football operations building.
(Andy and Emerick get up to leave)
Leach: It was great talking to you! We're building a great thing at Washington State!
After the visit Andy is asked by a recruiting service how the trip went.
Andy: It was good. I got to see the town and the new facilities they are building. They look really nice. The guys on the team were cool. I talked to Coach Leach a little bit, he's a real interesting guy.
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