Mike Leach: The Mad Scientist Of Football

<b>Scott Pelley</b> Profiles Texas Tech's Unorthodox And Successful Football Coach, Mike Leach

Geniuses march to a tune others don't hear, and often the stranger the character, the greater the innovation. Turns out it can be true even in football.

Last month the nation's college football coaches elected Mike Leach as coach of the year. Leach led Texas Tech to the top ten this season. He was competitive with the heavyweights with a middleweight budget and a fraction of their recruiting power.

As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, Leach is one of the few college coaches who has never played college ball - he's a lawyer by training. Even his biggest fans don't know quite what to make of him. That's why sportswriters have taken to calling Mike Leach the "mad scientist of football."



On Saturday nights in west Texas, all roads lead to Lubbock, the home of Texas Tech University, 28,000 students, one masked rider, and the Red Raider football team, the powerhouse that shouldn't be.

This was the best season in the school's history: 11-1, the most passing yards in the nation, and a ranking that rose to number two before settling at number seven. All of this came, with a budget a fraction the size of its rivals and little pedigree in a game where tradition is everything. How did they do it?

The answer is in the mind of Mike Leach. 60 Minutes came to Texas to talk football. Instead, we met a man who wanted to do card tricks, show us his cabinets, and his walls, pointing out photos.

Even his players have to listen to lectures on subjects from Apaches to pirates.

They are lectures, which eventually, improbably, wind their way back to football, like this one did: "I brought this sword in, this pirate sword replica and I talked about how are you gonna swing this sword. Are you gonna swing it out of control where you're. And maybe hit a few people then they'll hit you? Or are you gonna go like this? Or practice precisely and swing it like that. And I said they sharpen their swords, they polish their swords. Even the most derelict pirates will do that, just like you do in the weight room with your body. Your body is your sword."

"One sportswriter called you a "football madman" directing a sideshow," Pelley told Leach.

"Yeah, well, I don't know," he replied. "I mean, I don't have any disagreement with it really."

  • CBSNews

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More from 60 Minutes