Tuesday morning, when the news broke of Mississippi State head football coach, Mike Leach’s passing. Just two days following a “personal health issue,” the college football world erupted with tributes to the late Air Raid offensive genius.
I’ve spent the last few hours just trying to accurately, or as accurate as I can, sum up just what Mike Leach meant to the college football world.
His press conferences, whether mid-week, pregame or post-game were always littered with humor. Why? Because that’s who Mike Leach was. Not only was he a great coach, but he was an even better person.
From telling newly-weds to “go elope,” to describing a win as “It’s like Woodstock except everybody’s got their clothes on,” to describing his offense as “one of the most constipated offenses on Earth,” when they just couldn’t seem to get going.
His coaching career much like his 61 years here on Earth led to a road less-traveled, and then to a path that didn’t exist until he created it. That path? Well, that path was none other than his patented Air Raid offense. His career saw him go from the California desert to the coast of Finland.
It saw him land jobs of obscurity to eventual head coaching jobs in Big XII, the Pac-12, and then the SEC. His offenses not only broke countless college football records, but they also broke the hearts of defensive coordinators. He once was recorded as saying “I think candy corn is awful, ya know; it’s like fruitcake,” in on-screen interview.
His career wasn’t defined by his numbers, but by his infectious personality. A personality that was, well, fit for a Pirate.
Rest in Peace, Mike Leach. We love you.