Mike Leach plans to add another line to his resumé. (US Presswire)
Outside of his day job as one of the most respected offensive minds in football, Washington State coach Mike Leach has dabbled in multiple fields: Acting, meteorology, zoology, even the law. Given his well-chronicled, eccentric interest in the past, it was only a matter of time before he decided to take on history, too.
According to a release from the university, Leach will collaborate with a Washington State professor, Buddy Levy, on a book about the venerable 19th Century Apache chief, Geronimo -- purportedly a subject of longstanding fascination for the coach, who at one time kept a copy of Geronimo's death certificate in his office at Texas Tech. The plan calls for Levy to handle the history, leaving Leach to mine the warrior's wisdom for more timeless applications:
"It started when my mom would read us books when we were kids, and for some reason I got into Geronimo," Leach said. "We'd go to the library and grab these historic books about him, and she would read them every night."
The book, still in the works, will be about general leadership and problem-solving skills that spill over into all aspects of management and people, Levy said. His strong point is the history, whereas Leach has a profound understanding of leadership, he said.
Leach has a strong interest in how the Apache warriors trained, Levy said. He has made few references to football.
"We're telling the story together," Levy said. "Leach weighs in throughout the entire process, providing commentary on leadership, community and family."
Levy himself has no academic training in history -- both of his degrees from the University of Idaho are in English -- but he has written several books about encounters with European settlers, including tomes on Davey Crockett, the fall of the Aztecs and early Spanish exploration of the Amazon. Leach has loaned his name to several books, too, most notably a 2011 autobiography, "Swing Your Sword," with CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman. (Unfortunately, he was not affiliated with another book he inspired, the "Fat Little Girlfriends Cookbook.")
No doubt actual scholars of Geronimo, the Apache and the American West will be thrilled to learn that the subject of much painstaking research will be brought to a potentially wider audience by a football coach, in a volume that sounds like it may be a better fit for the self-help shelf, and will not respond bitterly or dismissively to this prospect at all. Anything that gets people reading, right?