Mike Leach is the most eloquent, thoughtful head coach in the game today — as long as you get him going on the right topic. Get him going on a subject that he truly cares about and you’ll be asking yourself when he’s ever going to stop talking.
But get him in the wrong setting — for instance, when he’s hustling to the locker room at halftime of a game he’s coaching — and you’ll be lucky to get two words out of him.
Like with everything else Leach, there’s a strategy to that.
During his sit-down at the Sloan Sports Conference over the weekend, Leach explained to author Michael Lewis how he avoids doing halftime interviews whenever possible.
“I’ve gotten to where I’m fairly artful at it,” he said. “The sideline reporters, I’ll see them out of the corner of my eye. And the ones that have cumbersome — you know, if it’s a guy and they’ve got big ol’ clunky shoes or if it’s a female and she’s got high heels that will stick in the field — out of the corner of my eye I’ll see them coming. Then I’ll veer over here, where there’s a pile of people. Then I’ll see them starting to close in so I’ll pick up the pace.
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“I have an unofficial (policy) — if I get to the threshold of the locker room, they’re out, too bad, so sad, no conversation.
“However, if they catch me I’m a good sport and I’ll say a few words, but keep in mind my mind’s elsewhere.”
Mike Leach lays out his strategy in evading halftime reporters like it’s a play he diagrammed.
“I’ve gotten fairly artful at it”
Simply glorious pic.twitter.com/Abld6aO6mv
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 3, 2019
Leach isn’t lying. His mind really is elsewhere.
Here’s the downside for Leach and all other like-minded coaches: even if you somehow manage to avoid the sideline reporter on the way into the locker room, they’re usually waiting for you on your way out.
Those pesky reporters just won’t leave coaches alone.