Mike Leach discusses career in animal tracking

April 12 (UPI) — Washington State football coach Mike Leach recently discussed his career in animal tracking.

Leach — the sound bite that keeps giving — sounds pretty good at his alternative gig. He talked about following the tracks and scents of wild animals on Tuesday.

“I tracked a raccoon one time in the snow,” Leach told reporters. “Because I was in a neighborhood and I was just curious where this raccoon lived, you know.”

“There are fresh raccoon tracks and he had been digging in somebody’s garbage. So I followed the tracks. I don’t even know if these people know it but he lives right in the back of their house in a bunch of brush and trees.”

Leach said he walked about a half mile out of his way to “sort that out.”

He has also tracked “a huge owl,” hawks, foxes, coyotes, quail and other various wild animals.

“If you walk up on a quail and they’re under the snow, it will lift up right in front up and it scares the hell out of you,” Leach said.

“I walked up on a herd of deer in one of the pastures one time. I’ve seen pheasants, but not a lot. I see rabbits, a lot of rabbits.”

The 57-year-old coach also talked about his love for raccoons in a December article for The Players’ Tribune.

“When I was a kid I had a pet raccoon. I really liked raccoons — still do,” Leach wrote. “I know an inordinate amount about raccoons actually. People fuss about raccoons all the time, but I’ve never had a problem with them.”

“At my place in Key West, raccoons will show up sometimes and I’m always happy when they do. I named my pet raccoon after one of my favorite book characters, Bilbo Baggins. We got Bilbo when I was pretty young. I grew up out in the country in Wyoming, and there was a guy near us who had a baby raccoon he wanted to get rid of, so my family took it in. I will say Bilbo did a fabulous job as a house pet.”

Leach — who mans the sideline for the Cougars — led the team to a 9-4 record. The Cougars were ranked as high as No. 8 last season. He joined Washington State in 2012, after 10 seasons as head coach for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.