USC honors late Mike Leach with helmet sticker for Cotton Bowl
USC is honoring the late Mike Leach during its appearance at the Cotton Bowl on Monday against Tulane.
The Trojans will wear special helmet stickers for the game — Leach’s initials in front of crossing pirate swords. Leach, commonly referred to as ‘The Pirate,’ was one of the most beloved figures in college football. The Mississippi State coach passed away last month.
— Dave Emerick (@DaveEmerickUSC1) January 2, 2023
Leach was one of USC head coach Lincoln Riley’s mentors. A high school quarterback, Riley went to play for Leach at Texas Tech in college, but a shoulder injury forced him to transition to coaching at just 19. Riley was asked to join Leach’s staff as a student assistant. Riley then worked his way up from a grad assistant to Leach’s wideout coach.
When Leach left Tech in 2010, Riley moved on to East Carolina as an offensive coordinator and his career took off from there. But Riley has always credited Leach for his success.
The Trojan coach runs his own variation of Leach’s Air Raid. “You changed my life,” Riley tweeted after Leach’s passing. He also spoke during Leach’s memorial service.