Satire: WSU will offer new coachspeak courses

Classes will be available summer 2019; ASC will replace Russian, Arabic

ANNA YOUNG, Evergreen reporter

WSU Head Football Coach Mike Leach will be teaching a class on coachspeak as part of WSU’s ongoing efforts to expand its School of Languages, Cultures and Race.

The six-week, three-credit course will be available starting summer 2019 and will continue in subsequent semesters. The class will count as a foreign language requirement applicable to all language degrees and Honors College requirements.

“There’s just such a demand for coachspeak worldwide since every culture has sports,” said Karen Walls, WSU’s executive director of new foreign languages. “We cut back on languages like Arabic and Russian to open up time and budgeting for this. I mean, nobody’s going to Russia or the Middle East anytime soon.”

Walls said coachspeak is the language spoken by those in the sports industry, including athletes, referees and the titular coaches. Much like sign language, it varies across the world and has countless dialects between cultures.

Walls said the introductory course will cover American Standard Coachspeak (ASC), but WSU plans to include other dialects starting in 300-level classes. Classes at the 400 level will be taught entirely in coachspeak.

“We’re sending representatives from the college to other countries right now to recruit potential professors of foreign coachspeak,” Walls said.

The announcement of the new course came after a Nov. 28 tweet from Leach asking if students would be interested in taking a class led by the coach. Originally, the course was meant to be about insurgent warfare and football strategy, but Leach said the topic changed after he pitched the idea.

“So OK, I send out this tweet, one on Twitter, you know, and there’s some interest — and let me just say, it’s not like I never tweet, there’s always some interest, right?” Leach said at a press conference about the new class. “So I sit down with some guys, and just to be clear, they know who I am, and we get to talking, and suddenly it’s like, maybe this is a better idea, or maybe this or this. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m thinking there’s a better idea out there that we haven’t thought about yet.”

Walls, who is fluent in ASC and was present at the conference, translated this to mean that Leach spoke with administrators and together they decided a language course would be of more interest.

Should the class garner enough interest from students, Walls said the university is more than willing to open additional 101 courses. Potential instructors include basketball coaches Ernie Kent and Kamie Ethridge, as well as Head Women’s Soccer Coach Todd Shulenberger.

“We’re gonna really need to be on our best game to teach a class like this,” Ethridge said. “We’re gonna need hustle. Communication in and out of the classroom: that’s gonna be the key to a success. I mean it is just gonna be money if we get it right.”

When translating, Walls was unsure what “hustle” Ethridge meant, but said the coach may have been spot-on when it came to money. She estimated the class would bring in thousands of dollars for the university in textbook sales alone.

“The class is so niche, we’re going to have to compile our own textbook from postgame interview transcripts,” Walls said. “And since students will need to be kept up-to-date on all the newest coachspeak, I predict we’ll be making a mandatory new edition every semester. We’ll be able to kick that deficit before you know it.”