I don’t really know where to start in all of this. It seems so surreal. I think for most Red Raiders, this feels like a close family member has passed. I know that’s how I’m feeling. Mike Leach was more than a football coach. He is more than Texas Tech’s all-time leader in football wins as a coach. He’s Mike Leach. I don’t think there is a better way to describe him than that.
Regardless of what your thoughts on Coach Leach are, you should be able to appreciate what he did at Texas Tech. He put our school into the limelight when it came to football. Our most wins in a single season (11) came with him at the helm in 2008. He won an all-time program record 84 games. His Air-Raid offensive scheme forever changed the scope of football as we know it.
I was lucky enough to grow up watching Tech Football from the mid 90’s so most of my childhood I grew up with the Pirate calling the shots. I was at many fun games that he coached, obviously the 2008 Texas game sticks out, the 2006 Insight Bowl against Minnesota was an all time game as well.
But perhaps as heralded as he was on the field, he was off the field as well. Dubbed “The Strange One” in certain Tech circles, Leach had a larger than life off the field presence that only few coaches have ever had. Many will remember some post-game rants such as the “fat little girlfriends” tirade, the Baylor 2009 postgame locker room tirade comes to mind as well. But for all the tirades, the interviews about random things will always be remembered as well.
Whether it be wedding advice:
Or his opinion on candy corn:
I could go on for hours with Leach interviews and each one of them always puts a smile on my face. There are also tons of stories of him just being a good guy, like this one:
Thread: My favorite Mike Leach story.— George Stoia III (@GeorgeStoia) December 12, 2022
My dad is watching OU practice in 1999. He starts talking to Leach. Practice ends and all the coaches start jogging back to the facility. My dad asks, “need a ride?” Leach says, “Hell yeah, I ain’t jogging.”
So he gets in my dad’s car.
This is just one of many, many stories. I think it perfectly sums up Coach Leach in a nutshell. Always willing to meet a new “friend” and willing to talk to anyone he came across.
While his tenure at Tech ended in scrutiny on both sides, I believe all Tech fans can agree that we are better off not just as a football program, but we are all better off as people, by being able to sit back and have a chuckle with the ole’ pirate.
This news really hits home. Call your loved ones, tell them you love them. This all happened so quickly and you never know when it could impact someone close to you.
Mike Leach swung his sword valiantly for many years. He will continue to do so for eternity.
Thanks for all the memories, Coach. You will be greatly missed.