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Here are 5,000 words worth of Mike Leach’s most memorable quotes

The former Texas Tech and current Washington State head coach has a long history of saying stuff.

Washington State v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Mike Leach has opinions on everything. Fans and media members like getting him to express those opinions. Let’s get right to it. I’m sure I’m missing a lot, so throw them in the comments for now.


Oklahoma's [stadium is] louder [than Oregon]. A&M's louder. Texas is on the bubble. Nebraska was definitely louder. LSU’s louder. I never went to Alabama. We beat Alabama, but it was at Kentucky. Depending whether or not you at the cowbells, Mississippi State’s comparable. Georgia’s louder. Florida’s louder. Definitely in that one end zone at South Carolina’s louder. Tennessee’s louder.

Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s as if you had a football game in the neighbors’ basement and all the kids were yelling louder than hell, and you could tell when you were starting out. You’d clap your hands and you’d hear it five times and yell, ‘Go, go, go, go, hit, hit, hit, hit.’ Well, then after, and you figure there’s 45,000. You multiply that times five. That equals approximately 250,000.


There’s nothing balanced about the 50 percent run, 50 percent pass because that’s 50 percent stupid. When you have five skill positions, if all five of them are contributing to the offensive effort, then that’s balanced. But this notion that if you hand it to one guy 50 percent of the time and you throw it to a combination of two guys 50 percent and you’re really balanced, then you proudly pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that, well then you’re delusional.

Being the bad guy

It was right during the Gulf War, so we beat Navy, which was quite a deal, cause there was 300 million people that were ticked off and 250,000 that were happy. It’s like being the Oakland Raiders in the ‘70s. It was awesome.

The Chicago Cubs

There’s some teams — the Cubs are one of them — where there’s just too many fans. They’re one of those teams that, for whatever reason — I guess it’s cause people like the way their uniforms look or something — every yuppie with a BMW or some special attachment to its computer or some designer set of jeans or something like that is a Cubs fan and refers to it as ‘my Cubbies.’

If you say ‘my’ in front of your team, well, then that’s dubious, OK? You know, ‘my this, my that.’ Come on, now. And so you get ‘my Cubbies.’ You don’t get ‘my Indians.’ You get ‘my Cubbies,’ OK?

And I think there’s just too many out-of-the-woodwork people that like ‘em, that just like ‘em cause they like the uniforms, don’t know the first thing about baseball, probably have never even attended a Cubs game, but that’s just gonna be their team since they have something to talk about over the copy machine and the cooler.

So as a result, you know, going against the whole wave of probably seven-eighths of America, I want the Indians. Me and the city of Cleveland.



I’ve specifically concentrated on not concentrating on this, and up to this point, I’ve done a really good job.

Craig James, the ESPN commentator who got Leach outed at Texas Tech

I think my opinion is consistent with most of the rest of America's. This is illustrated by a poll done in the Dallas Morning News where people were asked who they would vote for senator: Mike Leach or Craig James. I got 96.5 percent of the vote.


All Scandinavians feel a tiny bit self-conscious, of which I’m one. I’m supposed to be outgoing and interesting; no, I’ve always been insecure about dancing. I was when I was in high school.

They used to have a segment of P.E. when I was in grade school. I used to get kicked out when they’d have square dancing.

I have always felt insecure about dancing. My wife is a great dancer. But I don’t dance. I walk in place, if I’m forced out there. I don’t have any religious reservation about it, and I respect people who can dance great. I don’t look like Elaine from Seinfeld, but all I’m going to do is tread water in place and make it go away.

It’s like in junior high. You want social interaction. Long story short, if you’re a guy, you want to meet girls and vice versa. What a horrible social event. So I’m going to burst into dance? No, I’m not.

I was good at dodgeball. I bordered on great at dodgeball.

Dating in Cody, Wyo.

I'm a big movie guy. If you want to do it more like I did when I was your age, you can go to the Stars & Stripes Theatre because that's what they had in Cody, Wyoming. But otherwise, the movie theater's pretty good. But then you want to end it at some cool coffee shop-type of place, where there's bizarre-looking characters going in and out, so if the conversation isn't going well, you can reference some of the different characters you see coming and going from the place.

If it's a huge night and you're really having a good time, then you can trade computer schemes and emails and mischief that people are up to nowadays, which I know nothing about.

Dating in Lubbock, Texas

You want some place casual to begin with, because you don't want something real formal in the beginning. So some place casual. I recommend Cagle’s steakhouse, which is very casual. The other thing that's great about it is there's very little salad there at Cagle’s.

Dating in Moscow, Idaho

First take her to CDs Pit House BBQ in Moscow, ID. If she will get her hands dirty with some great BBQ, you will know you are on the right track!

Dating in Provo, Utah

Went to A&W [for my first date with my wife]. Had just finished a rugby game, went to A&W, had a coupon book. She said, ‘What are you getting?’ She’s looking at the menu, ‘What looks good? What are you getting?’ I handed her the 2-for-1 coupon book. I said, ‘I don’t know, but here’s the menu.’ Seems to me we got some kind of bacon hamburger thing. She got a root beer freeze. I do remember that.

Then there was a Polynesian food place called the Bamboo Hut but that was closed at that point. The Bamboo Hut was a middle of the day thing that was open from like 11 to 3 or something like that. That was a Joe Salave’a kind of place.

Dating in Pullman, Wash.

I would go to Black Cypress, if you really want to make a good impression. If you want just good, solid food and aren’t as into the atmosphere, I’d go to Mongolian Fire, which I really like. So one of those two. But if you go to the more high-end Black Cypress, I’d talk to Nick beforehand because he has the menu and it’s all really good. He’s got some great appetizers and he’ll come by and keep hitting you up — here’s this, try that — and I think it should work out really well.

Dating with financial savings

If you’re just trying to dress your life up a little and pretend you have a relationship, then maybe you don’t want to use the coupon book, if it’s some kind of a volume deal. But if you want to zero in on one or two [serious relationships], break out the coupon book, saw off the weak right off the top, so you can get down the path to find the right one.

It’s worked out pretty good, because I’ve been married … I can’t remember, a long time. Thirty years or something.


With everything that’s going on, we're worried about how much air goes into a ball, when everybody uses their own ball. It's not like it's a forged football. We waste a lot of time with that, and then we worry about the Kardashians. How can it be that we laugh about England's obsession with the royal family? At least the royal family has college degrees and military service.


What a dark time for our country.

Doing live TV

I don’t even remember what I said. I hope whatever I said was cute and clever and maybe even a tiny bit humorous. I hope it wasn’t mindless babble, and if it was, hopefully everyone will forget about it pretty quick.

Expanding the College Football Playoff

(He’s been talking about this one non-stop for at least 11 years now.)

“Fat Little Girlfriends”

Leach has repeatedly used “Fat Little Girlfriends” as a symbol of distractions or something?

We pound on Kansas State, so A&M looks at the film all week. [My players] strut around and laugh, you know, ho-ho-ho, ha-ha-ha, and [my players] listen to their Fat Little Ol’ Girlfriends, and pretty soon, what happens in Manhattan happens [to us].

Well, the first thing we do is we go in our meeting and we talk about we're going to respect everyone; we're going to fear no one. We're not going to compare scores, and we're not going to listen to our Fat Little Girlfriends.

Later that week:

As coaches we failed to make our coaching points more compelling than their Fat Little Girlfriends. Now their Fat Little Girlfriends have some obvious advantages. For one thing, their Fat Little Girlfriends are telling them what they want to hear, which is how great you are and how easy it's going to be. I’m willing to go to fairly amazing lengths to make that happen. There will be some people inconvenienced, and if that happens to be their Fat Little Girlfriends, too bad.

Leach later made two editions of the Fat Little Girlfriends Cookbook with his wife.


If you get into a fight, don't take your helmet off. We're looking for smart football players, not dumb ones. In the interest of time, don't get into any more fights today.


‘Now, why would you want to use live bait? It seems to me the faster, more active fish would have to take the live bait, but that's not what you want, is it? You want the big fish.’

He's addressing the air, or us, or no one in particular, or everyone, or maybe just the dying light of the sun burning a brilliant purple-red hole hole in the horizon.

‘If I'm a big, fat, lazy fish, I'm not gonna work. I'm gonna eat the dead fish. It wouldn't make a difference to me, would it?’

The captain says something, but it's cut off by Leach's closing argument.

‘Fish aren't smart. It's not like they have advanced degrees.’

Football plays, ranked

1. Four verticals

2. Stick routes

3. Inside zone

4. Receiver screens

5. Y-cross

Football terminology

‘Why do you call the slot receiver in your playbook the Elf?’

Leach laughs. ‘Because that was Wes Welker, and Welker looks like an elf? One time it's late, like 11 o'clock or midnight on Sunday, and we're having an offensive staff meeting when Welker comes in, and he's wearing an elf costume. Tights, the whole thing. He jumps up on the table and does a little jig. He's smiling, and then he jumps down, and just before he leaves he clicks his heels and then runs out of the door.’

Oklahoma v Texas Tech
Wes Welker, elf
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Georgia’s gnats

‘The Macon crowd, it's funny, but they can sit there like nothing's happening and there can be gnats just biting the hell out of your face. And they'll just be, 'Da da da,' talking, and it doesn't even bother them. Even down in Valdosta, where the gnats rarely got down there, because it's too hot, I guess. This one high school coach, I'm down there recruiting, and he nudges me and says, ‘Try this.’ Well I've got these big, fat, old lips, so it doesn't really work as well. But he'd fire up a little puff and just blow the gnats right off.’

A reporter tried to ask a question.

Leach: ‘And then Skin So Soft, I don't know exactly what that is, but evidently gnats don't like that. So they'd rub that all over and there'd be these fresh-smelling people everywhere who still had some gnats on them and looked kind of oily, you know? And what I think is, the gnats don't really care about [the Skin So Soft], but it probably puts a little sheet of oil on you so it's harder for 'em to bite you. You don't feel the bites. That's just one guy's theory; I'm sure I'm wrong.’

Again, the reporter: ‘Can you talk about some of your marquee games as...’

Leach: ‘Well, that's a fascinating question. So, Valdosta. Valdosta's hotter, yeah, and you're right by the Okefenokee Swamp, and there's alligators and water moccasins, and great fun is had by all. Now what was your question?’


There’s all these goths, there’s like six goth people. Well, they’re more like between I’m gonna say 20 and 30-year-old goths. You know, they didn’t have school its not like they were skipping school. And who knows, I don’t know what they’re going to do — ‘Hey how you guys doing, great cemetery up here!’ — and they just kind of gave me a frowney goth look, and just sort of nodded.

Because goths aren’t in good moods anyway, I mean everything’s about spider webs and black hair, black this — really white faces.

So anyway, hopefully I made about six new friends, but they didn’t speak much, so.

Halloween candy

I think candy corn’s awful. You know, it’s like fruitcake. There’s a reason they only serve fruitcake once a year, because it’s awful. There’s a reason they only serve mint julep’s once a year, because they’re awful. Now, that does beg the question, ‘why they serve it at all?’ But anyway, that’s my opinion. You eat it by the handfuls, because that’s all that’s left, and you get sick.

Home defense

I do have a Viking axe by the bed, if I need to whack someone. My wife bought me a Viking axe. The axe side curls down so you can grab the adversary around the neck and you can use it to climb walls, as a grappling hook.

Incorporating others’ opinions

‘I called six, or our call for four verticals. We had it, and I called it, and Kliff [Kingsbury, the QB] shook me off. Now most of the time I'm fine with quarterbacks shaking me off, but we had this, and I got mad and called time out and said some things to Kliff.’

Leach spits in the ocean.

‘So Kliff goes out there, and I call six again, and he shakes me off again, and now we get delay of game. It's fourth down, and we're on our own 40, but I just call it again and have some words with Kliff. We hit it against that corner cheating up for a touchdown, and Kliff comes up and starts yelling at me angry on the sideline. “FINE, FINE, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? WE DID IT YOUR WAY, AND NOW ARE YOU HAPPY?” And I was.’

Baylor v Texas Tech
Kingsbury would go on to coach Texas Tech himself
Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

Injury reports

Any stuff on that is so closely guarded. I don’t know if you saw Harry Potter, but in the basement of this building, it’s guarded by serpents and wild dogs and things like that, and you can go try to find the secret to that, but chances of survival ... always a risk. Heck, it took until movie five before he got it done himself, and he had magic powers.

Anyway, [QB Connor Halliday] is doing just fine.


If there is any resistance to them letting her go to a Texas Tech football game, it is a clear indicator that they would make terrible in-laws, and you need to get out of that relationship as quickly as possible.


I got my law degree at Pepperdine. I think the legal profession is getting somewhat corrupted. When it comes to lawyers, I think it’s kind of a Catch-22. On one hand, there’s so much process, procedure and mess caused by the legal profession. But on the other hand, the only way to sort through all that process, procedure, and mess is through the legal profession. That’s why I think lawyers are both very destructive and very necessary. It’s like if you have guys coming after you with a sword, well, you better have a sword too.

Making memories

Our offensive line has to be tougher people ... That will be addressed tomorrow. It will be an experience they won’t forget. They’ll be talking about it when they’re my age.

Mascot battles

A cougar obviously kills a duck and a beaver.

A cougar against a husky, that's pretty well a massacre.

A cardinal or whatever: I don't know exactly what ... a cougar would either climb it, or I wouldn't want to think of what else he'd do on it.

Now golden bears could be kinda tough. I think you'd want to be a little fast and loose with them. You don't want to get caught by that bear.

The Ute ... you gotta dodge some arrowheads, but I still like the Cougar.

Buffalo ... I think the buffalo would be pretty tough to beat.

Wildcat: Cougars are bigger than wildcats.

Sun Devils, that's mythical anyway. Trojans, they may be as well.

The golden bear, bruin, and buffalo .. I think those are the tough ones.

You know, buffalo are significantly bigger than elk. I grew up near Yellowstone, so I've been near buffalo. Buffalo are huge. And then the other thing I've always gotten a kick out of: when you play Colorado, there's those buffalo dragging those six handlers around. Those handlers aren't dragging the buffalo. The buffalo's dragging him. Ralphie's not even a big buffalo.



Cal was playing harder than we were, so we sort of had a get-in-touch-with-your-feelings kind of conversation, where everybody got kind, fuzzy-gooey feelings for each other, and our intensity increased.

Musicians, ranked

1. Jimmy Buffett

2. Neil Young

3. Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. Jethro Tull

5. Bob Dylan

Opening remarks

Any questions?

The pirates thing

Leach has fully explained the massive pirates analogy that became Texas Tech’s identity. From 2005:

Last year, after a loss to Texas A&M in overtime, Leach hauled the team into the conference room on Sunday morning and delivered a three-hour lecture on the history of pirates. The analogy to football held up for a few minutes, but after a bit, it was clear that Coach Leach was just . . . talking about pirates.

The quarterback Cody Hodges says of his coach: ‘You learn not to ask questions. If you ask questions, it just goes on longer.’


I’m a thin-crust pizza guy. I respect people who like thick crust, but in my view it’s mostly bread.

Pokemon Go

Reporter: Do you see your football players walking around-

Leach: Well, I’ve seen them doing that for the last 10 years, but nobody talks to people anymore. I mean, there’s people won’t even talk face to face. They’ll go across the room and text each other. I think it’s actually kind of disturbing. I think the days before cell phones, when it was dirt clod wars at construction sites, was a lot more wholesome and productive, to be perfectly honest.

Pregame meals

Pro wrestling

My dad always watched wrestling and I seldom did. The one that comes to mind is the Vachon Brothers when I was a child. The image most prominent in my mind is the Undertaker.


One night, [my pet raccoon, Bilbo Baggins] got particularly feisty, so my dad and I drove him out to woods. Once we found a good spot, we stopped and I put him on the ground and took his collar off. He kind of ambled about, taking in the new surroundings. I preface this next part by saying I do think humans and animals share an unspoken understanding, to some extent. That’s why it’s so easy to bond with pets. So this is how I remember saying goodbye to Bilbo: He wandered 10 yards away or so from the truck, and then he turned and looked at us and kind of had this expression like, It was nice knowing ya.

Raccoon communities

Tracked a raccoon one time in the snow. I was in a neighborhood, and I was curious where this raccoon lived. There was fresh raccoon tracks. He’d been digging in somebody’s garbage. I followed the tracks, and I don’t even know if these people know it, but he lives right in the back of their house. [Continues to answer the question, which was about animals he’s seen while on walks, by listing a huge owl, hawks, foxes, a coyote in his neighbor’s front yard, surprising quail, herds of deer, pheasants rarely, and a lotta rabbits. Then he gets back to talking about “sorting out” where the raccoon lived.]


It's a little like breakfast; you eat ham and eggs.

As coaches and players, we're like the ham. You see, the chicken's involved, but the pig's committed. We're like the pig. [Officials] are like the chicken. They're involved, but everything we have rides on this.

NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Running up the score while up 56-17

There was 23 seconds on the clock. That's more than enough time. I think we all had a level of disappointment we didn't score one more touchdown.

Running up the score while up 70-10

Football is the only sport where [you’re supposed to] quit playing when you get the lead. In golf, you keep trying to improve your score every hole. In basketball, you don't stop shooting when you're ahead. In boxing, you don't quit punching when you're ahead.

Satellite camps

For all our posturing and pompously parading around and pretending everything is about the student-athlete, we've just cut out a whole bunch of opportunities for them, and we've done it for no better reason than we're selfishly, jealously, trying to guard our recruiting areas. Or we're too lazy to work the camps.

Are they really that sensitive, would they really be that paranoid and petty and say, ‘Okay, we're mad at Jim Harbaugh, and we don't like him or his tone of voice, and now we're gunna screw over the student-athletes a ton of other schools would have the opportunity to see and recruit because Jim Harbaugh was mean to us, and we didn't like what he said, and he hurt our feelings?’ And somebody down there went and chalked Jim Harbaugh's name on the side walk, and our feelings are hurt, and we live in fear, so please change the rule.

Sports movies

You can’t really talk about great sports movies, though, without mentioning Talladega Nights, that Ricky Bobby one. That movie is off-the-charts funny — and after getting to know some NASCAR guys over the years, I realize that it isn’t just a straight comedy. It’s part documentary. I know people who do stuff like name one of their kids Walker and the other Texas Ranger. If you go to any elementary school classroom in Texas, some kids in there are going to be named either Austin, Dallas, or Houston. That’s basically the same thing. I wouldn’t do that, or at least I’d try to get more creative with it. Name your kid Amarillo or Carrizo Springs. You know what, I’m going to move back to Texas, have another kid, and name him Fort Stockton.

System quarterbacks

If [2003 record-setter B.J. Symons] is a product of the system, then he’s not getting any of those touchdown passes and all those yards. That means our coaching staff is. That would also mean we could go down to 7-Eleven and get the clerk behind the counter and let him play quarterback.

Technology and the end of humanity

All this button-pushing and whatnot. I mean, you can just imagine, based on what’s happened in the last 15 years. Conversations won’t happen, 10 years from now. There aren’t going to be people to talk to. It’s going to be like this [mimes typing on a phone]:

‘Do you want to go out on a date with me?’

‘I don’t know. What do you look like?’

‘Well, I kind of look like this.’

‘OK, what are your interests?’

‘Well, what do you think my interests are?’

‘Looking into this thing and typing into this, just like yours are.’

‘Yeah, no kidding. That’s what everybody’s doing.’

‘Well, where do you want to go?’

‘Well, what difference does it make? Because all we’re going to be doing is looking into machines anyways.’

Well, that’s true, and in the end, it’s going to be tough to perpetuate the species.

Texas A&M cadets

How come they get to pretend they are soldiers? The thing is, they aren't actually in the military. I ought to have Mike's Pirate School. The freshmen, all they get is the bandana. When you're a senior, you get the sword and skull and crossbones. For homework, we'll work pirate maneuvers and stuff like that.

Auburn v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Texas A&M fans

A&M wants to rip on our fans and all that. Our fans are as good as their fans are. One thing our fans don't do is sit around and whine about other teams' fans. Why don't they worry about what themselves are like?

It's interesting to me that all these Aggies — whether they're at A&M or here — are sitting around with halos over their heads, and they have some divine expertise on fanmanship. I just don't believe that's the case. For the record, I think our fans are better than the Aggie fans.

Time of possession

People that value time of possession, they just sit behind the center and pretend they are gonna tickle his ass, and maybe they are and maybe they’re not and just wait for the clock to tick by. You’re just pretending you’re a smart football coach if you’re doing that. If what you do in practice has any value whatsoever, you’d probably be focused on executing plays.

Dramatically looking around in space and going towards the center and away from the center and pretending somehow you’ve revolutionized something smart, to me, it’s entirely idiotic.

Twitter, as of 2012

Twitter is now banned around here, so don't expect anything on Twitter. Twitter's banned, and quite frankly, if after today you see anything on Twitter from our team — and I don't care if it says ‘I love life’ — I would like to see it, because I will suspend them.

Twitter, as of 2017


Everybody's all surprised every time this stuff happens. It surprises me everybody gets surprised, because it happens every year like this that there are surprises. The most surprising thing would be if there weren't any surprises. So therefore, in the final analysis, none of it's really that surprising.



The women lose their mind. Your fiancee’s gonna lose her mind, your mother-in-law is gonna lose her mind, your mom is gonna lose her mind, several of your sisters and female relatives are gonna lose their mind. And, they’re gonna barrage you with constant questions — ‘what should we wear?’ and of course my answer was ‘I don’t care.’ And then ‘what color should the invitations be?’ ‘ I don’t care.’ ‘What should we have for dessert?’ ‘I don’t care.’ ‘Should we sit this way, or that way?’ ‘I don’t care.’ But see, I don’t care’s not satisfactory at all, and you’re going to get caught in a catch-22 — and I’m certain that you already have — and that catch-22 is, ‘Well I want you to be a part of this too, so what color invitations?’ ‘Alright, the blue ones.’ ‘Well I kind of like the tan ones’ — ‘OK the tan ones then.’ ‘Oh you’re jut saying that bc you want this over, you’re not even thinking about it’ — which is, of course true. ‘What do you want for dessert?’ ‘I was thinking strawberry shortcake.’ ‘Oh, OK, strawberry shortcake would be good. Well, what about the blueberry pie?’ ‘Well I like the blueberry pie, we could have the blueberry pie’ — ‘Well I thought you wanted to have the strawberry shortcake?!’”

And it’s just gonna go back and forth, and they’re just going to play keep-away from you until after you’re married. There’s no answer that you give that’s going to be satisfactory or correct. And if you successfully please a few of them, a few others will be ‘Oh, well I just don’t feel like he’s that interested.’ So you need to work late, go in the back room and read a lot of books, take the groomsmen out so you make sure that they march in just right, and they know exactly, you know these swell outfits that you picked out, or however you’re doing it. And in the end, you’ll wish you eloped.

Wind superiority: Iowa vs. West Texas

I know that in Ames, Iowa, they fancy themselves being experts on the wind, but in Lubbock, Texas, we'll put our wind up against your wind in Iowa.

Wind superiority: Chicago vs. Wyoming

I'm proud to say I had a bet with a guy from Chicago who said Chicago is windier and colder than Wyoming. Wyoming dominated them.

Winter fashion in the Pacific Northwest

As we're going up College Hill, shoot, there's mini skirts and hot pants everywhere. So I ask [my wife], ‘What's the temperature?’ I go, ‘It's gotta be pretty warm out there, huh?’ Thirty-seven degrees! Thirty-seven degrees!

I don't know what's in the water and exactly how tough these people are.


Some of [the players] have been great [at effort], and some of them have been very poor. Some of them have had kind of this zombie-like, go through the motions, everything is like how it's always been, that's how it'll always be ... some of them quite honestly have an empty corpse quality. That's not pleasant to say or pleasant to think about, but that's a fact.

And this doesn’t even include any of the stuff he said in his books.