Oct 5, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars coach Mike Leach (left) and California Golden Bears coach Sonny Dykes before the game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cougfan.com does some fascinating interviews with Mike Leach, the most recent being one about his newest book, “Geronimo”.
In the interview he talks about how his obsession with Geronimo came to be, as well as his admiration for the man and what he did against all odds. Also there is a very interesting twist of fate in the coming together of himself and the co-author of the book Buddy Levy. Storybook endings don’t compare with how that marriage came to be.
Anyway there were a couple of answers that caught my fancy above the rest, and it came on the heels of knowing what happened in those closing moments of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl 10 days ago now. The first actually came in the form of CF.C’s question, along with part of the answer.
"CF.C – Seeing the proverbial writing on the wall, Geronimo surrendered after nearly 40 years fighting Mexican and U.S. troops, yet on his deathbed 20 years later he allegedly said he’d made a mistake surrendering, that he should have fought to the death. Who was right — the younger Geronimo or the older one? CML – … I think in the end he probably does wish he did that (fought to the death) although he did become a national celebrity at the end of his life and was in Teddy Roosevelt’s inauguration."
Of course immediately you can see what I’m looking at here. CML (coach Mike Leach) coaches in this way, which will explain a lot of what happened in the waning moments of the New Mexico Bowl. If there was even a sliver of doubt about time being left on the clock, the Cougars were going to fight it out. It really is a built-in belief system that he possesses…
No regrets – no compromises – fight to the death – win by taking it because nothing will be given to you.
Unfortunately for his WSU football team, they know that last part all too well, especially after the experiences that led to the defeat. But there was another section that caught my fancy as well and this had more to do with CML’s approach towards his famous Air Raid offense.
"CF.C – Are there lessons for a coach to be gleaned from Geronimo’s life? How about a Regular Joe? CML –I think there are, for anybody that chases some quest or endeavor with a level of determination and focus, you can draw lessons all over the place and Geronimo provides a lot. His constant diligence, doing the same thing over and over again, while steadily refining your skills and adapting that in order to be most effective."
Much has been made of Leach’s “repetition”, most of it due to his own proclamations about it during press conferences and interviews. The Air Raid that he employs is run on the similar belief that repetition and training (refining your skills) brings about the desired results to “be most effective”.
There is actually more that goes into that, as CML clearly talks in the interview about what those results all mean in the end. The gist is that you can overcome incredible odds by simply being better at what you do than your opponent. Not necessarily being better than your opponent, but by being better at what YOU do, regardless of your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
When thinking back on the rash of interviews that he has done since he’s been here, you can gleam credence from the fact that his belief in some of the things that he does is based directly on his fascinations with Geronimo and the pirate (underdog) mentality. You could go back and see some of that from his previous book “Swing Your Sword”, but that’s for another discussion.
For now definitely click the link at the top and give a read to that interview from CF.C, it’s well worth it. I myself can’t wait to get more insight into the mind of Mike Leach by reading “Geronimo” when it comes out in May. Since there are dozens of books on the actual life of Geronimo, we can expect that this book will focus on more insight directly into the mind of the man, the myth, the legend and our very own; Mike Leach.