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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU to honor Mike Leach in primetime Saturday

Cougars to tribute the legendary coach with a special giveaway
WSU Head Coach Mike Leach runs out onto the field with his team before the game against University of Oregon on Oct. 20, 2018, at Martin Stadium.

Heading into Saturday’s sellout home opener against the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers, the WSU football team will be paying tribute to late head coach Mike Leach. 

There will be a giveaway for students to receive a T-shirt with a WSU logo atop a pirate to honor Leach, who was nicknamed ‘The Pirate’ for his love of pirates and his mantra: “Swing your sword.” WSU coaches will also bear the shirts in some form, and the coaches and players will be bringing flags out to honor Leach as well. 

This is the first time WSU has had a chance to honor Leach at home, but tributes throughout college football and throughout the country have taken place since his passing. Although WSU head coach Jake Dickert never met Leach, he said at his weekly press conference Monday that his lasting impact on more than just football is obvious.

“No one talks about games, they talk about stories, they talk about his presence, they talk about toughness. They talked about him being hard on them but also seeing it through. They talked about his compassion for people. They talked about his quirkiness of being late and funny things that he would give [the media]. But his legacy of football, he’s touched so many people,” he said.

Defensive lineman Ron Stone Jr., who was recruited by Leach, echoed Dickert on Leach’s coaching style.

“Mike Leach is one of the reasons I’m here in the first place, the legacy he’s left, I’m excited for [his tribute]. I know how much support there’s gonna be for him, we all loved Mike Leach. He was hard sometimes, but that’s what made him great,” Stone Jr. said.

He is well-known as the winningest coach in Texas Tech history also as the coach who broke the Cougs’decade-long bowl-game drought in 2013, beginning WSU’s current seven-year streak in 2015, before moving on to Mississippi State in 2020. 

“Coach Leach is very special,” Dickert said. “What he did here, making us believe we can win again, and sticking true to his process. We would never have this run of seven straight bowl games without what coach Leach started here.”

Leach is also famous for his commitment to the Air Raid offense — a style categorized as ‘pass heavy’ — that Dickert said he does not like because “there is only one man that did it.”

Dickert said with this being the first opportunity at home to honor Leach, as well as being on the big stage, it was a “no-brainer.” One thing is for certain, when the Cougars take the field Saturday, it will be about much more than just football.

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About the Contributor
LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen sports co-editor
Luke Westfall is a junior in Broadcast News from Custer, WA. He is an avid fanatic of the many sports at many levels who spends all his available time indulging in them. Luke began working at the Evergreen in Spring 2022.

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  • Sarah RobertsSep 9, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    How can I buy one of the shirts?