Today, we continue to look back at our past CYInterviews with late, great college football head coach Mike Leach.
This revisit takes us back to September of 2015. The college football season was just beginning. Mike was in his fourth season as head football coach at Washington State.
Our discussion included thoughts on the upcoming season, Las Vegas buffets and Academy Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who was Coach Leach’s friend. You can read the full article and listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Originally published on CYInterview on September 4, 2015:
As the college football season begins this week, Washington State head football coach and CYInterview regular Mike Leach is getting ready for season four with the Cougars. The NY Times Bestselling Author is excited to get his players and staff on the field.
We had a chance to preview his team’s upcoming season, but it would not be a Mike Leach conversation without discussing a variety of other topics. Coach tells us about his summer trip to Europe, to watch American football, gives his thoughts on everything Las Vegas, from buffets to gambling, and talks about his friend Matthew McConaughey’s upcoming movie on the Civil War. Additionally, he reveals two of his favorite movies from cinema history that he believes everyone should see. The two movies are Something Wild and The Last Seduction. You will have to listen to the audio to hear why.
A conversation with Coach Leach is always full of interesting topics. You can read the highlights and listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Mike Leach CYInterview:
As the college football season is right around the corner, Coach Leach takes us inside the mind of a head coach’s and tells us what he is thinking about before his team has their first game of the season:
“The biggest thing, you’re constantly thinking of things to polish up, things to sharpen up, because after the first game you know that it will reveal things that you wish you’d anticipated, reveal techniques and just kind of really being sharp with your skills that, you know, you thought you’d address or hoped you’d address. So it does kind of reveal stuff. I mean, it’s kind of like you go out there and you’re tested against an opponent in a live game and then what it really does, it really doesn’t matter how good of a team you are, whoever is the greatest team in the world is gonna discover things after the first game to work on.”
The 2008 College Football Coach of the Year is in his fourth season with the Washington State Cougars. On what he most expects from this year’s team, he said this:
“I think the thing we’re most looking forward to is this is the first time that we’ve had really any real level of depth and we had a good nucleus of players back and with that said, we’re predominately sophomores, but, ‘cause we pressed a bunch of guys into service, oh maybe before they’re ready at the time, but in the end it will help them this year. Because, you know, they’re sophomores again, but they’re experienced sophomores from the standpoint that a lot of them had to play.”
Leading up to this season, Washington State has had a very competitive competition for the team’s starting quarterback job between Luke Falk and Peyton Bender. Coach gives us the latest on the competition:
“Well, Falk will start the first game. Peyton’s done a great job. Peyton throws the ball really well and Peyton as a freshman has picked things up incredibly quick. And that’s the other thing, it seems like some of it with Falk and Bender both, they play with a maturity level, it’s beyond their age and sometimes I have to remind myself of that, but just as being students of the game, just being really focused at what they do and just be talented in the fashion they are, they kind of exceed their year in school ‘cause you got two incredibly smart, polished guys. Again, one’s a sophomore, one’s a freshman and then Falk is, I think a portion of it has to do with experience, he’s very polished and is also really familiar with his personnel and I think that’s been helpful to him as well.”
This summer, the NY Times Bestselling Author went over to France to watch European athletes play American football. Hear are some of his thoughts from the trip:
“I’ve gone over there a couple times and it’s always exciting to see American football, you know, expand and things like that and the enthusiasm that they have in France and now it’s starting to trickle down to the younger age group. As a matter of fact, they even had women’s teams over there. And so I think in my case, it was one to see and check out Europe, which I always liked. You know, it’s kind of a sensory overload, just all of the stuff you can serve, see, check out, learn about, study.”
During his media rounds for the upcoming college football season in July, the word on Social Media from a particular reporter was that Coach Leach had an interesting discussion about Las Vegas buffets. We asked Mike about his thoughts on everything Vegas, from food to gambling. He revealed a few of his fellow college football coaches have some Vegas expertise:
“That conversation evolved towards Bob Stitt who’s allegedly an expert on Las Vegas buffets and Bob Stitt’s the head coach at Montana. He’s a friend of mine. … Food in Las Vegas is undisputedly good and whatever there is to see in some form or fashion is captured, displayed or somewhere in Las Vegas. … I’m not really a gambler. I’m not morally opposed to it. I just get bored with it. You know, I mean craps I guess is kind of the most analytical game, but you know that’s kind of a math question. …
I’ll tell you a guy who really knows how to play craps is Dennis Franchione [Texas State University Head Coach] and studied it and is an expert on it. Then as far as black jack, I’ve done it and had fun for the short run with friends or something, but I’ll be honest with you, I just get bored counting to 21, you know, counting to 21 over and over and over. They say, well, it’s fun ‘cause there’s money on it. No there’s not ‘cause I’m not gonna put a bunch of money on it just because. You know, Las Vegas was built by losers, not winners.”
Finally, Coach’s friend, Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey, has a brand new movie he is starring in about the Civil War. The title of the movie is The Free State of Jones. It is reportedly about a farmer from Mississippi leading a group of rebels against the Confederacy. Speaking of American history, last year the NY Times Bestselling Author released his own book on the Apache Warrior Geronimo titled Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior. Speaking about Matthew’s upcoming movie and some American history, Mike said this:
“I really look forward to seeing it and he does a good job in all of his stuff and then plus that’s kind of my subject I mean ‘cause the, you know, Civil War, if I were to pick a favorite, among my favorites [wars] for sure and then you know ‘cause there’s such great examples of courage on both sides and, you know, just great stories and, you know, great kind of commitment in shaping our nation. …
Things that were important of course was keeping the union together. The other thing that was important is states rights and I’m a states rights guy within the confides of democracy and I can rattle off a number of examples where they lose sight of that. I mean this whole notion of political correctness has lost all sight of any level of intellectual honesty or you know expressing opinions and thoughts. I mean you can’t solve a problem unless you’re getting an honest dialogue between the participants. And so I think that’s why we don’t get many problems solved.”