Nearly three years ago, Mike Leach was left for dead. Following 10 successful seasons at Texas Tech – which included 84 wins and 10 straight bowl appearances – he was fired after it was reported he locked one of his players in a shed. What followed was an exile in Key West, Florida, where he spent two years swimming, biking, and waiting for the phone to ring. Now he's back, coaching the Cougars of Washington State. But as he explains to Josh Eells in the September 2012 issue of 'Men's Journal,' he certainly has his work cut out for him – State hasn't been to a bowl game since 2003, and in four seasons under their previous coach, they managed a total of just nine wins – as many as Leach had in his last season alone. Some highlights from the magazine story:
• Leach got close to another job a couple of times, but the stigma and baggage ultimately proved too much for university officials at the University of Miami, the University of Maryland, and the University of Minnesota. "It was sad," his wife, Sharon, says. "Two years in the prime of his coaching career."
• The silver lining to Leach's sabbatical was that it gave him time to explore some of the things he's curious about: modern art, bear hunting, and vegetarianism, to name a few. He also consulted for a football team in France. "I've always thought the French were a little misunderstood," he says. "Even the snotty ones are off enough to be interesting."
• Now that he's settled in Washington, he's hoping to turn around a program that hasn't been to a bowl game since 2003. Leach says his goals for 2012 are the same as they are every year: Work as a team, do your job, and be the most excited to play. But, as Eells reports, it's clear he's aiming a little higher: "He wants to go to a bowl, he wants to break Pac-12 records, and, most of all, he wants to win, and win by a lot."