When Wyoming hosts Washington State this weekend, it will be a homecoming for Mike Leach. The former Big 12 and Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year was raised in Saratoga, Sheridan, and Cody.

Leach moved to Cody in the sixth grade and was a member of Cody High School's state championship football team in 1979. He credits Cody's Little League baseball program for inspiring his love of coaching.

"The biggest thing about Wyoming is you knew you were in a special place. You realize it more when you leave the state,” Leach told the Cody Enterprise in 2015. "Some of the toughest people in the world live in Wyoming. The world did not stop in Cody, Wyoming when it was below zero. Ranchers go to work every day. I think that rubs off on people’s work ethic. People who operate in tougher weather are tough people.”

Leach isn't the only coaching connection between the Cougars and Cowboys. Former Washington State coach Jim Walden played quarterback at Wyoming. Dennis Ericson left Wyoming for Washington State in 1987. Joe Tiller was a Washington State assistant before being named Wyoming's head coach in 1991.


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