Coach Leach will do that to you. He took the podium today at noon in Pullman, WA and showed why he has the reputation as being one of the most charismatic personalities out there.
I got to the CUB Senior ballroom around 11:15 for the press conference, and found my seat in the last row. There was a buzz in the air, everyone was excited. By 11:30, every seat in the place was packed.
The brass at Washington State went all out. The crimson girls dance team, the WSU cheer squad, the WSU band, and even the venerable mascot Butch T. Cougar were on hand. By the time high noon rolled around, the standing room crowd that surrounded the seating area ran five rows deep in places.
Coach Leach, with his wife and youngest kids in tow, entered the crowd from the back of the room as the audience was in the middle of the Cougar Fight song. He sat behind a desk and the press conference began.
To say the least, the new WSU head coach was captivating and... Well... It was magical.
Update: Per KING 5's Chris Egan on Twitter the press conference was witnessed by 1300 people and at least 400 people were turned away. I believe it. Also, in an unrelated point, read this comment that was posted on CougCenter. You will see why Mike Leach is so amazing.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the night from, not only Coach Leach, but Athletic Director Bill Moos too. To read more check one of the Twitter feeds I used to live tweet the event. Find my personal account here, and the Sportsminds account here.
"I came back to Washington State to go to the Rose Bowl, and that's where we're going to go"Coach Leach
"People ask me Why Washington State? Once I get past thinking 'Well that's a stupid question...' [I answer]... You can win here and win big I believe."Coach Leach
"It doesn't matter what you do, be it the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker it's important to be excited about what you're doing and be the best."Coach Leach
"I tend to have one day plans, win one game a week."
There were many, many more, including a great story about a pirate skeleton, and I could quote him for hours. I encourage you to watch the video below (Courtesy of WSU's YouTube page) and post you favorite in the comment section.
Below are some pictures taken from the event that I took. I'll be back later to update the post with more pictures from our very own Dan Shirley.
|The set up from when I got there at 11:15. It would get A LOT more full (Jeff Collier)|
|A look at the back of the room where 10 TV cameras were set up (Jeff Collier)|