Washington State coach Mike Leach wants to debate USA Today college sports writer Dan Wolken about something. What? I don’t know, exactly. But Leach wants the debate:
So a guy, who no one knows, Wolken, has an ax to grind. I’m not sure who he is, but at the risk at building his career, I am willing to debate him, anywhere and anytime. He is pathetically biased, but I think that the message of free thought needs to get out— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) June 20, 2018
Wolken is clearly a brilliant man, because he can write an article, without any sources, only his brilliance. Amazing. In any case , I can’t wait for him to show me the light. He will set me straight and I can move forward.— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) June 20, 2018
On Sunday evening, the Wazzu boss tweeted a bizarre, fake Barack Obama conspiracy theory video. After promulgating the ideas in the video (something about Obama and some group building a new world order together), Leach spent more of his night claiming he wasn’t endorsing the video but was just seeking an “open discussion” about its contents.
Leach, who endorsed Donald Trump at a rally during the 2016 election and is generally a man with a lot to say about whatever, later deleted the tweet with the Obama video.
Wolken enters the story about here. He published a column Monday headlined, “Mike Leach’s tweet of an anti-Obama hoax showed why many schools won’t hire him.”
When people ask why Washington State football coach Mike Leach hasn’t been hired by a big-time program despite his undeniable success at two schools where it’s difficult to win, well, here it is in plain sight.
Over many years of being quirky and accessible in a largely humorless profession, Leach has managed to develop a cult of personality that enjoys his random musings on dinosaurs and pirates. But within the college athletics industry, he is widely regarded as a ticking time bomb of embarrassment whose usefulness as a coach is largely outweighed by the risk that he will say or do something inflammatory and unnecessary with little regard for whose reputations he’s dragging down with him.
So, Leach wants to debate ... something about this, I think? The specific point he takes issue with isn’t clear, but as with the Obama conspiracy theory, he wants to talk about it.
Wolken has since responded to Leach’s joust, sounding unbothered:
Mike Leach, who blocked me on Twitter after my column, and claims he doesn’t know who I am (gave me his cell number last year) now challenging me to a debate. Very genuine, Mike.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 20, 2018
I called out Leach for Tweeting a fake conspiracy theory video.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 20, 2018
Leach, who hasn’t admitted he was wrong, blocked me.
I wrote this shows why bigger programs are leery of him.
He gets back on Twitter to challenge me (blocked) to a debate.
And I’m barking up the wrong tree? https://t.co/mBZak61iCf
Leach and Wolken appeared in the same news story earlier in the year. Documents revealed that both played roles in Tennessee’s utterly bananas coaching search, with former Vols athletic director John Currie getting encouragement from Wolken as he closed in on hiring Ohio State assistant Greg Schiano and, after he didn’t, Leach almost having a meeting with Currie in Los Angeles about the job. Leach texted the Vols’ then-AD: “I truly wish I had gathered you up and we had the first of many beers together.”
Tennessee’s chancellor called Currie back from Los Angeles before he had the chance to meet with Leach. She then fired Currie, and she was fired herself months later.
Leach hasn’t acknowledged any wrongdoing in spreading the hoax Obama video and soliciting feedback about it as if it were worthy of debate. Washington State issued a statement (reported on by Wolken, of course) that said this:
Per a WSU spokesman: "As a private citizen, Mike Leach is entitled to his personal opinions. Coach Leach’s political views do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington State University students, faculty and staff.” Of course, it wasn’t a political view. Pathetic statement.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 18, 2018
After he challenged Wolken to debate him, Leach spent some time retweeting praise of himself. One of the tweets Leach decided to share with the more than 100,000 Twitter accounts that follow him was this one questioning the manhood of people who care about their skin: