Just when you think there aren’t any more classic Mike Leach stories to tell, along comes a new one ($$).
In addition to helping his boss Hal Mumme set offensive records at Iowa Wesleyan, Leach had proven to be quite adept at his new job, doubling as the school’s SID and spreading the gospel about the Tigers. The 28-year-old Leach even got them mentioned in USA Today several times. The only problem was the school’s Director of Public Relations who oversaw Leach’s job as the SID didn’t appreciate the national attention from USA Today. In her mind, the SID was supposed to write a press release about the game’s outcome, and because this was in the days before email, Leach was to mail that release to the papers around the state. Her system made no sense, Leach thought. The mail wouldn’t go out until Monday and the papers wouldn’t receive it until Tuesday or Wednesday. By the time they got the score, statistics and information on the game, it was no longer relevant. Because the information was so untimely, they wouldn’t write a story.
Leach had a better idea, he says.
He’d call the main newspapers locally with their score from Saturday so that their readers — and Iowa Wesleyan’s recruiting targets — would know how the team did.
The Tigers were breaking all kinds of school records and led the nation in passing.
“I kept reaching out to the USA Today, and soon they began writing about us,” Leach said. “Well, someone tells her that her school is in the USA Today and she gets all flustered. She calls me screaming: ‘How dare you contact the USA Today?’
“Mike, I know you’ve been talking to other newspapers, and that’s bullshit. I told you that you have to write a press release and mail it out, so that it’s fair for everyone. So everyone gets the information at the same time. It’s not fair to the weekly newspapers. I know for a fact there was an article in the USA Today about Iowa Wesleyan.”
That manages to explain so much about Leach as well as the kind of people embedded in college athletics administration.
I had no idea he created the term “Air-Raid”, either.