This column originally appeared at SeattleWeekly.com
This is what the end of an affair looks like. Irritation turns to anger, public outbursts and separation. Mike Leach has hit for the emotional cycle as he maintains a tenuous grip on the perpetually beleaguered football program at Washington State University.
Leach will not be fired as head coach now, after this season, or maybe not even after the next. But maybe he should be. His recent string of bizarre, self-destructive coaching behavior already has sown the seeds of a big fail in the Palouse.
When the Leach era reaches its conclusion at WSU, the beginning of that end might be traced to Saturday, when he roasted his players and trotted units of them in front of befuddled media members following a 49-6 loss at Utah. The custom is for reporters to request players, who appear for interviews in a room reserved for such. Leach instead paraded them “like suspects in a police lineup,” as KING5.com columnist Steve Rudman put it, or “much as you might march your kid down the street to apologize to a neighbor,” as Bud Withers wrote in The Seattle Times.