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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

May 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Mike Leach and Geronimo: Behind the scenes with a brilliant mind

Mike Leach, shown before last year's New Mexico Bowl appearance by his Washington State football team, is making an appearance to promote his book Saturday in Bellevue.  Dean Rutz  / Seattle Times staff

Mike Leach, shown before last year’s New Mexico Bowl, is making an appearance to promote his book Saturday at Bellevue’s University Book Store.
Dean Rutz / Seattle Times staff

Mike Leach loves pirates, that much is well-documented. Now we know the Washington State football coach is into Geronimo.

Leach’s childhood fascination with the Apache warrior led to a book that he collaborated on with WSU English professor Buddy Levy. (Read a Take 2 post last year about how and why Leach wrote the book, and check out Larry Stone’s Sunday column on the subject). The result is “Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior” (Simon & Schuster).  The book went on sale this week, and Leach will make an appearance Saturday at 6 p.m. at the University Book Store in Bellevue (990 102nd Ave. NE) to promote it. He’ll discuss the book and sign copies. Admission is free.

A press release to promote Leach’s appearance, said this: “Pain, pride, humility, family — many things shaped Geronimo’s life. In this remarkable book, Mike Leach illustrates how we too can use the forces and circumstances of our own lives to build true leadership today.”

I’ve only met Leach once, but I find him fascinating. He’s obviously smart, has varied interests that range far beyond the fly sweep or a curl pattern. Leach has done a couple of live chats with The Times, once by phone soon after he was hired and again last summer. Both times Leach seemed fascinated by offhand remarks I made and started quizzing me, even though I was simply there to facilitate questions and answers between him and Times readers.

“Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior” (Simon & Schuster) Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

“Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior” (Simon & Schuster)
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

The first time, I  mentioned that I was a University of Idaho graduate and loved the unique topography of the Palouse. Then I said something about prehistoric floods that shaped the landscape in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Leach spent a couple of minutes asking me about that and seemed more interested  in discussing the Scablands and dry falls than the prospects of his Cougars.

The second time, when Leach came into our offices, we discovered we both lived in Wyoming as kids, and he asked where I had lived. When I told him I had lived a couple of years in Rawlins and Sinclair, Wyo., we were off again, discussing that area’s wind-swept, bitterly cold isolation. I finally had to direct Leach back to readers’ questions. Those brief conversations provided glimpses of a brilliant, inquisitive mind.

So here’s your chance to have a word with Leach and see how his mind really works. Just make sure you don’t mention the Scablands or Wyoming.

Don Shelton has worked for The Seattle  Times for 27 years, and has been Sports Editor since 2009. The 1976 University of Idaho graduate grew up in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon, with a side trip to Wyoming. He remembers three bitter winters in Wyoming fondly despite temperatures that dipped to minus-40 and snow drifts to the eves of his parents’ house. 

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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