The college football world is mourning the loss of Mike Leach. The Mississippi State coach died due to complications from a heart condition. Known for his dry wit and ability to tell stories, Leach was also one of the architects of the Air Raid offense. It was a style of play developed at Iowa Wesleyan College while Leach was the offensive coordinator for Hal Mumme between 1989 and 1991.

Retired KILJ sports director John Kuhens covered those teams and says even as a young coordinator Leach had the ability to discuss a range of subjects.

“He could talk football, or being a pirate or he could talk law. You just never knew what those guys were going to be talking about”, said Kuhens. “Mumme generally talked about football but with Leach it was up for grabs what would be his topic of discussion.”

Mumme and his staff took over a program that was winless in 1988 and had immediate success with a 7-4 record and even played in the Steamboat Classic twice. It was a bowl game that Mumme himself invented. Kuhens says the style of offense worked because it allowed Iowa Wesleyan to be successful against teams with better athletes.

“If they did what the coaches wanted them to do they did not have to be a superb, four-star athlete”, added Kuhens. “They were doing what they were supposed to do and doing it right with very few mistakes.”

After a 10-2 record in 1991 Leach followed Mumme to Valdosta State and a few years later would follow him to Kentucky.

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