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Mike Leach Talks About Motivating Teams as a Head Coach

Washington State head football coach Mike Leach joined Jeff Thurn on Overtime.

Leach has been the Cougars head coach since 2011. Before his stint in Pullman, Washington, he coached at Texas Tech for 10 seasons.

 

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Washington State head football coach Mike Leach joined Jeff Thurn on Wednesday’s edition of Overtime. Leach has been the Cougars coach since 2011. Before his stint in Pullman, Washington, he was the head coach Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas for 10 seasons.

Leach talks about beating Baylor 10 straight times while at Texas Tech, and the locker room environment of his teams after wins, or when his teams have comeback from deficits at halftime: 

“We beat Baylor that game, but we were capable of more. Never lost to Baylor; beat them 10 straight years and I’m very proud of that. Then, we had a big time beating Baylor all 10 years, and from my standpoint if we played them 10 more, we would beat them also. I have a lot of respect for Baylor and to beat them 10 straight was a big feat. But we beat Baylor, but didn’t play well. It felt like our team was to the point where we felt like we were too good to be on the field with Baylor and squandered too many opportunities. About the time you think you are too good to play somebody, that’s where you run into pitfalls and also, it inhibits your growth and ability to get better if you think you don’t need to develop your skills to beat somebody. It was kind of reset for us to get things back in perspective and make it clear we were better than that and play better than that, too. I’ll tell you in the best, probably where it’s not one guy or person, and of course, I get voted because I’m the head coach, probably the best locker room environment we had ever was when we played Minnesota and were down 31 points at the half, maybe 35. I thought we did a really good job regrouping at the half and then came back and had the biggest bowl comeback in the history of college football. Actually, in the capitol of Congress, they hung a flag, ceremonially commemorating the event and our team with the flag. I still have the flag. And then the other thing is you try and set things with your teams and I bring this up and eventually, it spawned a book, but I used to have a picture of the Apache leader, Geronimo at my desk and everybody has heard of the pirate stories I tell teams, but I would also tell stories about Geronimo and the Apache warriors, and as time went on, ended doing a book on May 6th called Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of the American Warrior, published by Simon and Schuster. It’s on Amazon and in all the bookstores now and I hope everybody gets a copy. It gives you an idea about what our point of view was as a team, and it’s about the biography of the life of Geronimo, but gives you specifics of some of the things we look for in our players and team.”

Texas Tech beat Minnesota, 44-41 in the 2006 Insight Bowl, coming back from a 31-point deficit. The comeback is the largest in Division I-AA history.

To hear more of Leach’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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*For comments and story ideas, email Sam at tastadsam@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

Mike Leach, Washington State Cougars
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