Jesus Christ once famously expressed grace for tax collectors. Mike Leach… not so much.
It’s apparently a ritual at Leach’s weekly press conferences that, once the traditional media that covers Washington State has gotten its standard-fare sports questions out of the way, they close the day with a wacky question just to see what he’ll say.
This week’s question was a hypothetical right down the center of the strike zone for Mike Leach: Would you spend a week in jail to eliminate your student loan debt?
What follows is a 10-minute story that is pure Mike Leach, equal parts meandering, hysterical and fantastical. Below are some selected out-of-context quotes.
“I figured they could only kill me once, so then I started pursuing coaching.”
“Not to get too political for those of you who might wilt, but the Carter administration was not the administration to take your loans out under, okay?”
“Philosophy of Western thought and civilization, abstract expressionist artists, history of Cuba, history of the Caribbean, so they were good classes.”
“By then I was a pretty good paper writer. You know, law school and everything.”
“I’ll go to Mexico. I’ll drop off the grid. I’ll disappear. You will never see me again.”
“Some of the biggest pricks on Earth, they work in student loan collection.”
“When it was all said and done, I’d be leading prison calisthenics and stuff like that… Going to the best shank builder and get a good shank.”
“I’d have been like that leprechaun on the damn Lucky Charms.”
Long story short, upon earning his law degree from BYU in 1986, he graduated with $38,000 in student loan debt (nearly $90,000 in today’s dollars). He then, famously, threw his law degree in the trash to go into the lucrative field of small-college coaching, grew his loan debt to $45,000 and did not pay off his final bill until the second year of his head coaching tenure at Texas Tech. At that time he was 40 years old and had been out of law school for a decade and a half.
So, yes, he would have done a week in the hole, Andy Dufresne-style.