Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was known for the on-field air strike and his colorful personality off the field.
It has spawned many, many, many legendary quotes and monologues throughout his coaching career. A great college football coach gets a lot of media time, and few took advantage of it over two decades like Leach did.
Leach, 61, was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after suffering a heart attack at his home on Sunday and died Monday night. A wave of support from all corners of the college sports world followed his hospitalization, from fellow SEC coaches to former players and administrators.
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It would take thousands of words to cover all of his greatest quotes. Here are eight golden quotes from Leach in front of a microphone:
About gun ownership and Viking axes
Leach, a gun owner, has made several comments about gun law enforcement. He told 750 AM in Portland, Oregon, in 2015 that new gun owners must “show a level of proficiency and get a license before you’re allowed to operate anything that’s dangerous.”
Leach also said he keeps his guns locked up and separate from ammunition. That led to a discussion about Viking axes.
“Because if you think about it statistically, you’re more likely to shoot yourself, a loved one or a family member,” he said. “There’s this (absurd) idea of ’If you come into my house, I’ll shoot you.’ I do have a Viking ax by the bed if I need to whack someone… My wife bought me a Viking ax – the side of the ax curls down so you can grab the opponent around the neck and use it to climb walls, like a grappling hook.”
On the Pac-12 mascots
In 2019, while in Washington State, Leach considered which Pac-12 mascot would win in a battle royal.
Arizona: “I’m going to say the Wildcat is out.”
USC: “The Trojan, does he have a horse or is he on foot? Does he have a bow and arrow or just his sword?”
UCLA: “De Bruin, absolutely formidable.”
Cal: Another bear with Cal.
Stanford: “The tree, I bet that tree will be cut down. Unless we go with a bird and someone could get pecked or something, I don’t know.”
Oregon: “The duck could lose interest and just fly off and get out of there, which may be good advice given the circumstances.”
Washington: “The Husky, no chance.”
Oregon State: “The Beaver, we’ll see how long that beaver can hold its breath.”
Utah: “The Ute, we’re back to — is he on horseback? Does he have a bow and arrow? Has he traded for a rifle? Because if that Ute has a rifle, there are some obvious problems.”
State of Arizona: “You should get one of those Harry Potter activists to read up on how to kill a sun devil, because there’s a lot of outside stuff out there.”
Colorado: “As far as a beast alone, a buffalo is going to be pretty hard to mess with.”
Washington State: “Butch (The Cougar) will have to be bright-minded and cunning. Butch will undoubtedly find a way.”
It looks like Leach would favor the Buffalo, a Sun Devil, and a Ute in a West Coast mascot-driven Royal Rumble.
“Big Little Friends”
Leach only coined the term “fat little girlfriends” last month after the Bulldogs’ narrow victory vs. Auburn. Its origins, at least publicly, came from a 2009 loss to Texas A&M, which followed blowout wins over Kansas State and No. 15 Nebraska.
“As coaches, we haven’t been able to get through to them,” said Leach. “As coaches, we’ve failed to make our coaching points more convincing than their fat girlfriends. Now their fat girlfriends have some obvious advantages. First, their fat girlfriends tell them what they want to hear, and that’s how awesome you are and how easy it’s going to be… and we had a group of people who wanted to win the football game, but no one wanted to play the football game.
Candy corn and other seasonal foods
Leach, then in Washington state, said at a 2017 Halloween event that his favorite candy was red vines. He was then asked about candy corn by a media member and did not hold back.
“I’ve never liked candy corn. I just think it’s horrible,” Leach said as documented by Pac-12 network cameras. “I hate candy corn. You know, it’s like fruitcake. There’s a reason they serve fruitcake once a year, because it’s awful. There’s a reason they only serve mint julips once a year, because they’re awful. And there’s a reason they only serve candy corn once a year, because it’s awful. That begs the question of why they serve it at all, but at least that’s my opinion.”
Leach had a point about some seasonal treats. If candy corn, candy canes, Sweethearts candy and other things were so delicious, why wouldn’t people eat more and more of them?
Leak the meteorologist
The six-minute clip of Leach’s Lubbock weather report debut during his time as a Texas Tech coach is worth watching.
Perhaps the most notable quote from it is this: “My favorite weather pattern is when it rains mud. Dust comes through, rain on it, and it rains mud. I know people who have been here for years don’t like that particular phenomenon for a while like me. But think about it: How many times in your life are you really going to see it rain mud?”
Bigfoot and aliens
While in Washington State in 2017, Leach gave his thoughts on Bigfoot during a media availability.
“We found dinosaur bones and everything else, but we didn’t find any bones that I’ve heard of, from Bigfoot,” Leach said. “It would be nice if Bigfoot were here. I hope Bigfoot is here. But I suspect there isn’t.’
“Aliens, I guess so,” Leach said. “And I don’t know if they’re little green men and I don’t know if they’re specific to our galaxy.
“For me it has always been naive. On Earth they say, ‘We are the only ones.’ “Really? Why? Have you been to the other planets? Have you looked at the other planets? I mean, it makes more sense to me that if it happened here, it happened somewhere else than it just happened here.”
Leach’s raccoon, Bilbo Baggins
Leach wrote a lengthy piece for The Players Tribune in 2017 on five non-football topics, starting with his time as a child with his pet raccoon, Bilbo Baggins, named after the protagonist in ‘The Hobbit’.
Bilbo got along with most people and other pets, though he also often got into the pots and pans in the kitchen, Leach said. The money story came to an end.
“One night Bilbo got particularly feisty, so my father and I took him to the woods,” Leach wrote. “Once we found a good spot, we stopped and I put him on the floor and took his collar off. He strolled around and took in the new environment. I’ll start this next part by saying that I think humans and animals an unspoken understanding, to a degree. That’s why it’s so easy to bond with pets. This is how I remember saying goodbye to Bilbo: he strayed about 30 feet from the truck, and then he turned and looked at us and kind of had this expression like, “It was nice knowing you.” It was at this point that both me and he knew we’d had some good times, but this was it.”
Leach on run away vs. a wedding
Leach has had a few monologues about weddings and elopements, with his most recent comments coming in October after a Mississippi State win in response to SEC Network side reporter Alyssa Lang saying she was planning a wedding.
“We’ll keep a close eye on it, but whatever you and Trevor decide, I’d kind of keep it low, which you didn’t,” Leach said. “Trevor probably intended it, but you didn’t, so go ahead and say nothing else about it, but as soon as the season is over, or even a bad week, you’re gone. Trust me on that. Go away , because basically every woman in the family is going to terrorize you until it’s over Once it’s over I mean they’ll be upset for a few days but it’s over and then you can sail along and have a happy time marriage, have a happy life.”
Long tried to end the interview there. Leach wasn’t done yet.
“Trevor, unless he’s crazy, is totally on my side,” Leach said. “Trust me on this one. If Trevor isn’t smart enough to do that, tell him to call me. I’ve told all my kids, ‘I’ll give you an extra $10,000 if you run away.’ So far they haven’t done it, but I would too.”
There were so many fascinating quotes from Leach, too many to count. The list ends here, but Leach’s comments about goths, dating advice, weather patterns in different parts of the country, the Texas A&M Aggies, pirates, the Chicago Cubs, the need to extend college football’s postseason and much more are all worth a look. upwards.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mike Leach’s Best Quotes and One-Liners, From Bigfoot to Candy Corn