Apple Cup coaches Chris Petersen, Mike Leach are very different, and they’re OK with that
Cougars head coach Mike Leach and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen are a lot like their respective institutions.
The California-born but Wyoming-bred Leach is the kind of person who will spend his weekly press conferences musing about things like the various Halloween costumes he’s worn during his life or how he could really go a duck sandwich – seriously, he said that Monday. Petersen, meanwhile, is a low-key northern California type much less inclined to talk about his personal life, and his press conferences are usually highlighted by his latest attempts to keep the hype and outside expectations about his Huskies at a minimum.
That doesn’t mean the mentors of Washington’s two Top 25 college football teams don’t like each other, though.
Ahead of Friday’s 12:30 p.m. Apple Cup on 710 ESPN Seattle, both men were asked Monday about their thoughts on the other, and it’s fair to say they enjoy the times they do get to spend together but understand just how different they truly are.
“He’s entertaining. There’s no doubt about it,” Petersen of Leach. “I really like being around him because half the time I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about, and the other half I think is really funny.”
As for Leach on Petersen: “Very reliable, seems very responsible. And, you know, like a lot of us, I grew up with my parents telling me, ‘Why can’t you be more like a guy like Chris Petersen?'”
The Apple Cup coaches were also asked about a potential road trip together, something Petersen first brought up in an ESPN video last month, and they both were happy to prognosticate how such an outing would transpire.
“He’d do all the driving,” Leach quipped. “One, I don’t get carsick. Two, I would be able to read and look out the window. Chris strikes me as a guy who wants to stay occupied and doesn’t mind having the wheel. I can occupy myself. If all of a sudden he got boring or something, I could entertain myself and wouldn’t have the responsibility of driving. I could look out the window, read a book, do Spanish on my phone. I could select the radio channels because he’d have to have his hands on the wheel. I could turn the button on the radio dial quicker than he could. I just see more benefits to that.”
Petersen doesn’t sound like he personally would be bored if Leach were in the passenger seat next to him.
“You have to have some fun, right? Half the time it’s good because you probably just get tired of people if you’re on a road trip,” Petersen said. “But like I said, half the time I don’t even know what he’s talking about so I wouldn’t listen to him and the other half is really good stuff.”
And as somebody who is aware of how he might not be the most exciting person when speaking to the media, Petersen is appreciative of the Mike Leaches of the world.
“I just think he’s such a unique perspective on so many things. On football, on life. It’s awesome. It’s cool for the game to not have to sit up here and listen to guys like me (during press conferences) that are probably all so similar talking about the next thing to take care, the next part of business. You can tell he really wants to talk about a lot of stuff. The last thing maybe is football. That’s fun for a lot of people.”