Mike Leach (coach) - Personal Life

Personal Life

Born to Frank and Sandra Leach in Susanville, California, Mike Leach claims Cody, Wyoming, as his hometown. He graduated from Cody High School before studying at Brigham Young University, where he closely followed the exploits of the Brigham Young Cougars. The Cougars, guided by head coach LaVell Edwards and offensive coordinator Norm Chow, played a pass-oriented offense. Leach graduated in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in American Studies.

In 1986, Leach earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Pepperdine University School of Law. Leach is also one of the most prominent graduates of the United States Sports Academy, from which he earned a Master's of Sports Science in Sports Coaching in 1988. Leach is married with four children. He was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Leach is atypical among NCAA Division I head football coaches in that he did not play football at the college level. He was one of only seven such coaches, with Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech, David Cutcliffe at Duke, George O'Leary at UCF, Bobby Hauck at UNLV, Charlie Weis at Kansas, and Chip Kelly at Oregon.

Famous among fans for his fascination with 18th-century pirates such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack, Leach has lectured his players on the history of pirates, and told them before games to "swing their swords." His office has been described as a museum of pirate paraphernalia. In particular, Leach admires the teamwork exhibited by pirates:

Pirates function as a team. There were a lot of castes and classes in England at the time. But with pirates, it didn't matter if you were black, white, rich or poor. The object was to get a treasure. If the captain did a bad job, you could just overthrow him.

—Mike Leach,

Leach's affinity for pirates came to bear in a cameo he made on the TV series Friday Night Lights. In the show's fourth season, he portrays a "random loon" at a gas station who implores a despondent coach Eric Taylor to "swing your sword" and "find your inner pirate."

Leach spends time during each off-season learning as much as he can about various things that interest him. Aside from pirates, he has researched topics such as Native American leader Geronimo, American pioneer Daniel Boone, grizzly bears, chimpanzees, whales, and American artist Jackson Pollock.

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