Mike Leach has a long history of saying stuff that turns heads.
The former WSU coach has dished out dating advice, planted fake game scripts, and ranked the Pac-12 mascots he wants to fight. He even called Autzen Stadium “Middle Earth,” the fictional land in the Lord of the Rings franchise.
But not all of his memorable moments sat well with his former players.
Andre Dillard, who played with Leach at WSU from 2014-18, before being selected 22nd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, said Leach isn’t a coach that you’d like to play for.
“He's just one of those guys who get results,” Dillard told Derek Johnson of Woodinville Sports. “But the way he gets results is frowned upon by the players. He never gave off any vibe that he cared about his players on a personal level. Playing for him felt a little bit like a dictatorship.”
Leach has been known to say some belittling things to his players. He called his team “soft” and his players “fat, dumb and happy and entitled.”
Dillard said the way Leach spoke to his players was something that personally bothered him.
“What kind of coach throws his entire team under the bus when things go wrong?,” Dillard said. “But he never put any blame on himself. Calling players out. Calling them fat and slow and saying he needs new players. He did that several times when I was there. it just wasn't good leadership.”
Dillard elaborated about some of Leach’s behaviors that bothered him, offering out this example from the Cougs 2016 loss to Boise State.
“He compared us to a junior college women's softball team,” Dillard said. “I was like `Dude, you need to chill out.’ The guys were offended by that.”
Leach, like Dillard, no longer resides in the wheat fields of the Palouse. In January, he agreed to become head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs football program.
“I’m just happy that he has moved on,” Dillard said. “But I do appreciate him giving me the opportunity to play there [at WSU].”
Dillard, heading into his second season with the Eagles, has been focused on altering his composition and getting stronger. He weighs 320 pounds, compared to his 240 pounds in Pullman.
The 24-year-old started four games at left tackle for the Eagles in 2019, while Jason Peters underwent a knee scope and Lane Johnson had a concussion.