Swing Your Sword by Mike Leach and Bruce Feldman is somewhat an autobiography of Mike Leach, the current coach at Washington State. It’s also a big f*** you to Texas Tech, a school that he badmouths repeatedly, including the higher-ups. Of course, we all know by now that Leach was fired by the Red Raiders for reasons that were, well, questionable. Much of it revolves around his treatment of the son of Craig James, but Leach makes the point that it might have been financially driven, too.
The book flows smoothly from chapter to chapter, and it doesn’t get bogged down too much in the politics of coaching at Texas Tech. I think it was partly a vehicle for Leach to repair his reputation, partly a way for him to get back at the administration in Lubbock, and partly a way for Bruce Feldman to tell a very interesting story about modern college football. Leach is a bit of an odd duck, but I really respect him as a coach because he does pretty well with some so-so talent. I wish there was a little more X’s and O’s in here, but he does devote a chapter to X’s and O’s stuff, and he also talks frequently about the logistics of coaching. The book almost beats you over the head with the question “Why?” Why run these plays? Why run these drills? Why build your offense this way? Why have these rules? I have seen coaches doing drills, setting rules, etc. that don’t seem to have practical reasons, and it ends up wasting time or energy that could be put toward more useful things.
I thought it was a very good book for someone like me to read. As coaches, we need to be eclectic and take a couple things from various places that we can apply to our own teams and lives. This gave me a couple tools that I can use going forward, and it was entertaining in the meantime. I don’t follow Leach much now that he’s in the Pacific Northwest at Washington State, but he is coming to a clinic near me that I’m going to try to attend this off-season. I’m looking forward to that opportunity if I can make it happen.