Leach & Co. go fishin' to talk philosophy

WASHINGTON STATE's football coaching staff stepped off the recruiting trail earlier this week to talk about the philosophy, goals and actions that will return the program to prominence. Mike Leach & Co. decamped to central Idaho and the lake resort town of McCall to talk, plan, fish and golf.

This year's four-day event was crafted by Chief of Staff Dave Emerick and Director of Football Operations Antonio Huffman. Last year, the coaches' retreat was in Coeur d'Alene.

"Dave and Antonio really put it all together," said WSU assistant Paul Volero. "And Dave Emerick is the nuts and bolts of the operation here -- as chief of staff he sets out the vision that Mike Leach has. He just does a great job."

The retreat gave the staff a chance to get a lot done without the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the football offices.

"We gave some direction to some philosophical things, and it was also an opportunity to reflect on the job we've done so far," said Volero. "It helped to give perspective on how to go about putting our goals in line with what we're going to do with the program in the future.

"It was a 10 on scale of 1 to 10… everything was perfect."

THE GROUP SPLIT into two parties one day – those that wanted to golf and those that wanted to fish. Volero was with the group that landed two sturgeon – one seven feet and one nine feet.

"We caught plenty of fish – we got some smallmouth bass as well. But getting those sturgeons, that was something else," said Volero.

Who was the WSU angler that reeled them in?

"That was actually true teamwork on both of them, we all took turns bringing them in," said Volero. "The second one was the picture we put up online, he was 9 feet, four inches and about 500 pounds. Amazing.

"And then (Mike) Breske, (Ken) Wilson, (David) Russell, (Clay) McGuire, (Dave) Emerick and (Dave) Yost, they did the whole golfing deal and they had a great time from what I understand. But it's a golf course that doesn't have a lot of water and sand trips," Volero quipped.

FISHING ACTUALLY PLAYED a key role in bringing Volero to Wazzu in the first place. Indeed, were it not for a chance meeting with Leach on pier in Florida, Volero probably wouldn't be in Pullman today.

The two had met at various coaching conventions over the years but while both were in Key West, they bumped into each other on a pier after a day of fishing and a strong friendship developed.

I'll say this about Mike Leach -- since we've gotten here, he has had a vision," said Volero. "He's done this before and knows how to do it. And he'll continue to do in the way that's been successful for him and that's going to mean success for Washington State."

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