Arrow-right Camera
Sports >  WSU football

As youngster in Cody, Wyoming, Washington State’s Mike Leach had aspirations of becoming town ‘garbage man’

Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach heads to the field against Wyoming during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, September 1, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach heads to the field against Wyoming during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, September 1, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – As a teenage boy growing up in small-town Cody, Wyoming, Mike Leach probably did not aspire to become the handsomely paid college football coach/national celebrity/best-selling author he is now.

But adolescent Leach did have other ambitions.

“Everybody (in Cody) wanted to be a garbage man,” he said. “That was the best job you could get.”

During Leach’s Monday press conference, the Washington State coach detailed the jobs he held as a child in northwestern Wyoming, where many of the town’s youth started working as early as age 13. Leach worked at a variety of hotels/motels, painted houses, manned a fireworks booth and mowed lawns – “including the governor of Wyoming’s lawn.”

But the town’s most coveted job was the one that eluded him – something Leach still laments this day even as the seventh-year coach of the Pac-12 Cougars is set to receive $3.5 million in 2018 after signing a five-year, $20 million contract extension in December.

“The garbage man was a good job, because it was with the city and you had to know somebody to get that,” Leach said. “You had one of those trucks and you had a route and you were outside, you got to drive around and it was the type of thing you got paid for the full eight hours whenever you were done. So if you got the sucker done in like six hours, 5½ hours, you were done. Not to reveal any trade secrets, but then you’d drive around town in a garbage truck, wave at your friends and laugh because they’re still working.”

“Then occasionally they’d pull up and once in awhile show you some of the treasures they found in other people’s garbage and it was heckuva deal. And they got paid a little more money for some reason and I don’t know why.”


Subscribe to the Cougs newsletter

Get the latest Cougs headlines delivered to your inbox as they happen.

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!