Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Lisa Burnett
Office Manager 

Good Riddance


January 23, 2020

Mike Leach, Washington State University head coach for eight seasons, has left to be head coach at Mississippi State University.

Good riddance.

The football coach of any university is often the face of the football program, and more notably, the face of the school. As a recent graduate, I was always embarrassed by our choice of coach. Leach was dismissive, crass and rude to both his players and the press.

At first when you see Leach in an interview, his monotone, expressionless responses are entertaining. When asked who would win in a fight between the Pac-12 mascots, Leach wondered what kind of mythical powers a Sun Devil has saying, “You'd have to get one of those Harry Potter activists to read up on how to kill a Sun Devil.”

These interviews are amusing, but when his dismissive demeanor in interviews perpetuates and turns rude, the amusement quickly fades.

In Leach's Texas Tech days, after a loss to Texas A&M in 2009, he blamed the player's loss on their girlfriends, saying “we’re not going to compare scores and we’re not going to listen to our fat little girlfriends.”

Following his “Fat little girlfriends” quotes, Leach and his wife Sharon published the "Fat Little Girlfriends Cookbook: A Pirates Guide to Cuisine."

Why not make a buck off publicly humiliating your players?

Later that year, Leach was suspended indefinitely from Texas Tech pending investigation of alleged mistreatment of player Adam James, who had suffered a concussion. In an interview with The New York Times, Leach described James as lazy and entitled.

Sound familiar?

Fast forward 10 years to the WSU vs Utah game Sept. 29. After WSU lost 38-13 Leach blamed his players saying they weren't tough and that, “They're fat, dumb, happy and entitled.” He continued saying the players thought they were free agents, special and pout when things go wrong.

Leach's most infamous quote has to be when he went off on a journalist after again losing the Apple Cup in 2019. Leach said, “You know you run your mouth in your little column and stuff like some sanctimonious troll...you can live your meager life in your little hole and write nasty things...” Maybe to Leach, any press is good press.

His success in football is what keeps him around. He was the first coach in WSU history to win 11 games in a season (2018). WSU was bowl eligible for the first time in a decade in 2013 under Leach's coaching. He was Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2018.

Success can take you so far. Leach's constant disregard of professionalism and ethics is worrisome. He isn't held accountable for his actions and he rarely apologizes. With his history of humiliating his players and being rude to the press, I see him as a huge liability. May Mississippi State have luck in mitigating that liability.

Lisa Burnett,

Office Manager


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