1: The top moment for Washington State and Mike Leach in 2012, actually happened in November of 2011. Leach and his pirate brand was hired to take over the WSU program just hours after legendary A.D. Bill Moos terminated Paul Wulff’s contract, setting the stage for a 2012 to remember. When asked about why he chose the program over others, he famously said “Well that’s a stupid question” which quickly drew a thunderous round of applause from the Coug faithful and has since become a rallying cry for Cougar Nation. Unfortunately, the season didn’t end by meeting expectations, but it had all the twists and turns one would have expected from anything involving Mike Leach.
2: The Apple Cup victory was one of Leach’s finest moments of 2012. Not only was it the first Pac-12 victory of his young WSU career, but it was the biggest comeback in A.C. history as the Cougs overcame an 18 point deficit to win in OT. As the Cougars rushed the field, Leach didn’t put on the show that Wulff put on in 2008 when the jolly coach ran, jumped and skipped on the field, but the kiss of his wife and daughter was priceless nonetheless. I think everybody recognized a different team on the field from the beginning of the season and all the credit has gone to Leach and staff, not to mention renewed optimism in the program going forward.
3: In a 3-9 season, there are bound to be some unfortunate moments in the top 10. The press conference following the Utah game was one of these moments. The coach called his team out and went off on their lack of dedication and effort, whipping Coug fans into a frenzy during a period of over-reactive outrage and panic due to his brash statements. His team responded over the final 3 weeks of the season though and Leach praised their efforts in each contest.
4: Mike Leach didn’t begin moment #4, which actually ended up being a 2 and 1/2 month long endeavor. A certain player accused the coaching staff, Leach in particular, of abuse during a letter moments before the UCLA game. What followed has been well documented and is finally over after Leach was cleared last week.
5: Leach shoots a bear in Canada way back in the Summer. After shooting it, Leach Tweeted out “Yesterday, I shot one of the biggest bears the guide had ever seen. He has been guiding for over 15 years. Over 7 feet and over 350 lbs.” The incident was widely publicized as the season grew nearer, for some reason. He was later quoted as saying “I’ll get a rug out of the deal”.
6: Leach bans twitter after some unsightly tweets come out from players. Leach was his usual dryly comical self in a statement that read: “Twitter’s 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.”
7: Leach calls his players to the mat before Cal game, saying there are far too many dead corpses hanging around the program. Says “Those of us who do care would like you to get on board or get out!” After the Cal game the next week, Leach calls out a particular group of players, his receivers: “It’s a good thing for them you didn’t ask me if they’re tough or not. They wouldn’t have like my response.”
8: I won’t ever forget reading this out of the Spokesman Review, although it wasn’t particular widely publicized, but before the season the coach was asked to talk about the difference between his running backs. His response? “All four of them, from behind they’re difficult to tell apart. One of them’s got thicker legs. Winston’s got thicker legs. Now, if they face me, I can’t — if they do a backwards lineup, I can pick Winston out.” I’m not even sure if I should laugh or not… but I do, every time.
9: Another quote of Leach that I just couldn’t stop laughing at, it basically sells itself as a memorable quote: “One night we were just trying to get familiar with the town, so my wife and I had gone to a movie. So we drive downtown and I’m just curious where my team and charges are hanging out. There’s nothing downtown. Downtown’s dead. So we drive up College Hill. As we’re going up College Hill, shoot, there’s mini skirts and hot pants everywhere. So I ask her, ‘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. Certainly they didn’t need jackets to be necessary at 37 degrees.”
10: The one-liners from the halftime interviews while bolting into the locker room over the course of the season. These probably weren’t When asked to talk about his qb play against BYU, his response was “Um… Average”. When asked about how they would come out in the second half and maybe beat the Ducks, his response was “Score more than they do”. It wasn’t so much the saying, but the attitude and factual nature with which he said it and ran off, almost as if the question was both obvious and dumb at the same time, or he had to go for a long overdue bathroom break.