For a generation of college football fans, an icon has passed on at the age of 61. Coach Mike Leach was beloved by so many across the world. Some knew him as a Coach, Pirate, Friend, Father, and Husband. Coach Leach had been a fixture for many of us who loved college football. Everybody has a Coach Leach moment that they point to as their favorite. For as quirky as he was, Coach Leach was as sincere as it comes. There was never a dull moment with him as he carried himself as this larger-than-life character that many of us could never picture a life without him in it.
Coach Leach leaves behind a legacy that will sustain through generations to come. He was the genius of the Air Raid, quirky, and all-around a good man. Not many folks had anything negative to ever say about Coach Leach. As the news started bursting the college football floodgates, we saw the outpouring of love and support across college football. There were Tweets of prayer and well-wishes from about every college football coach across the country. That started the outpouring from media and fans, with the same message of prayer and encouragement for Leach.
His lasting legacy in college football will forever stay with the sport. Generations from now, there will still be people talking about Coach Leach and his philosophy that shaped every program he was a part of as a Coach.
On a personal level, I have had the honor of covering Coach Leach on several occasions since the media world. One instance, in particular, came back when Coach Leach was the Head Coach at Washington State. I had been in contact with Leach and his SID about having Coach Leach come on my podcast. So, the time came when Coach Leach was going to call me to do the interview. Leach called me from the middle of Wyoming, where funny enough, the cell service was spotty. I picked up the call, and I will never forget how Coach Leach answered the call, ” Hello Mitch, this is Coach Leach; I am currently driving through Wyoming, and I might lose you.” We proceeded through spotty service about everything under the sun, from his program at Washington State to working with Hal Mumme in Kentucky. Sure, the audio itself was questionable, but I will never forget that moment when I got to talk with the Pirate. Fast forward a few years, and I was standing on the sidelines covering Mississippi State with Coach Leach as the Head Coach; he always made it a point to say hello.
Even in the end, Coach Leach believed in humanity, and humanity believed in him.
Coach Leach, thank you for the memories. Long live the Pirate.