Insights into Mike Leach

I am pleased to announce the return of Charlie Hodges as a Guest Blogger. He is the owner of Charlie Hodges Media, a media services firm based in Fort Worth, Texas that specializes in Crisis Communications, Media Relations, Project Management and Video Consulting.

Before starting CHM almost four years ago, Hodges spent almost 30 years in the news media. For seven years, he worked for CBS Radio in Dallas and his stories were regularly featured on CBS Radio News. He is also one the responsible parties for “Team Leach”…he’s kind of a big deal.

Remember, today is the last day for Early Bird pricing for the Vegas Party. Select the Events page at the top to get your tickets.

Swing’em!

– Erik

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Insights into Mike Leach

by Charlie Hodges
It was before the 2009 Texas Tech Red Raider football season My son and I were on the field at Jones Stadium in Lubbock to do a series of interviews for a radio station I was working for at the time. I had not met Mike Leach before but was looking forward to the interview.I had my audio recorder, microphone and a set of headphone ready so I could make sure the interview was being preserved digitally. I also had a pair of reading glasses ready to go so I could read the recorder’s display. They were the break apart at the nose glasses that wrapped around my head.

Before every interview, I was able to put on the headphones and put on the glasses. Technically, things were going like clockwork. Interviews were great.

“You’ll have to wait for a while to talk to Leach,” said Tech’s media rep.

“Fine.” I relaxed. My son was talking about how cool it was to meet all of these football players.

All of the sudden, “Charlie, here’s Coach Leach.”

I turned around. “How are you doin’?” It was coach. “Where are ya from?”

I had no time to set up anything. It was hit the record button while exchanging pleasantries and get into the interview. He was a busy man and I didn’t want to hold him up.

So, here I am talking to coach with headphones and glasses around my neck. I felt like an idiot, because basically I looked like an idiot to be honest.

We’re talking about football. He’s giving me what are stock coaching answers, at least stock answers for Mike Leach, about his football team.

But something was amiss. While football words were coming out of his mouth, his eyes were focused on my throat. You could see the wheels churning behind his eyes. “What in they world is around this man’s neck?”

Rather awkward encounter for a first meeting with someone. The interview went well. He gave me a couple good soundbites that were hilarious and we went on.

That was when we met. We became friends after he was fired. And I’m proud to say I’m a friend of Mike Leach. I tell you that story because it is the best example I can give about the nature of Mike Leach.

Insight 1: After being told it would be a while before we talked because coach was busy, he broke away from what he was doing so I wouldn’t have to wait for an interview. In my experiences with him, Mike Leach doesn’t put himself ahead of others.

Insight 2: He actually started a conversation with me before the interview. Many coaches of his stature would be, “I’m busy, let’s get this over.” That was not Mike’s attitude at all. In fact, I was pushing things so I wouldn’t keep him. The Mike Leach I know is not pompous, full of himself or thinks he’s better than you.

Over the year’s we’ve been in public settings, I’ve never seen him turn down an autograph, picture or chance to at least say thank you to someone for a nice comment. (The only thing I’ve seen him turn down was a tequila shot. “Give them to these people, I’m sure they’d put them to good use,” Leach said.)

Mike was even civil to a man at a book signing who was down right rude. “Chancellor Hance sends his regards,” the jerk said. “I’m sure he does,” Leach said back smiling.

Those who say Mike Leach is rude, distant or anything like that puzzle me. I just write it off as someone who doesn’t know him or knows an idiot who got caught on the wrong side of Mike. You can count those people on one hand.

Insight 3: There’s more going on in Mike Leach’s head than one can fathom. This man is smart. He’s really smart. If you have a chance, go to Leach and challenge him to a mock debate. You take something you passionately believe and know. Doesn’t matter what it is. Give Leach the other side without any study or preparation time. He’ll kick your ass.

Insight 4: Mike Leach is truly a friend. We don’t go hunting together (I don’t hunt) and we don’t play golf (he doesn’t golf). But we have had fun together. Get to know Mike Leach, and he’ll make sure you have fun. The members of Team Leach who have met and talked to Mike know what I’m talking about. He made all of them feel special, and to Mike, they are.

The more I learn about Mike Leach, the more respect I have for him

As time goes on, I hope Washington State fans will see and appreciate this side of Mike Leach I’ve come to know. He will expect your players to excel on the football field and, more importantly, off the football field. He is not your usual football coach, and that’s a good thing.

You have a man who will teach a football team how to win, teach an entire University some important life lessons and all of us how to live life to the fullest. That, Washington State football fans, is why you have a large group of Texas Tech supporters coming along for the ride.

 

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