WSU adds Mike Leach-inspired leadership seminar to spring events schedule

Leach smiling during conversation with someone on football field.
Leach has led the WSU Cougars to a record four straight bowl games.

PULLMAN, Wash. – An extracurricular leadership seminar envisioned by Washington State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach and Spokane County Treasurer Mike Baumgartner is taking shape.

Entitled “Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies”, the noncredit seminar is being hosted by WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation as well as WSU Athletics and will include four classroom sessions on the university’s Pullman campus beginning March 27. It will be available to WSU Pullman students only but the seminar’s final session will be livestreamed and open to the public free of charge.

During the seminar, Leach and Baumgartner will discuss insights on leadership strategy they have gained through their unique life and career experiences.

After the first seminar session on March 27, three subsequent classroom sessions will be held on April 3, 10 and 17. The seminar’s final session will take place April 23 and will be livestreamed online for public viewing. The livestreamed lecture will summarize the four previous lectures and will culminate in a live question-and-answer session.

The seminar’s classroom portion is limited to 40 current WSU students. Interested students will need to apply through an online process that opens Feb. 26. Applications will be reviewed on a first‑come, first‑served basis.

No course fees are being charged for the seminar, though students will be responsible for obtaining any required class materials. Also, no academic credit will be issued for participating in the seminar, nor will it be included as part of a student’s official WSU transcripts.

As part of the application process, students will be asked to address the following two essay questions, which will be reviewed by Leach and Baumgartner. There is a 200‑word limit for each of the essay question responses.

  1. Can the British strategy in the Malaya insurgency be used today?
  2. Is the wishbone a potentially viable offense for the NFL? Why or Why not?

The final session’s livestreamed feed will be broadcast from the Spark and will be open to the public. All attendees will have the ability to ask Leach and Baumgartner questions in a text format.

Leach, hailing from Cody, Wyo., has been WSU’s head football coach since 2011. His prolific coaching career started in 1987, with nearly a decade of experience as head coach at Texas Tech before coming to WSU. Known for his bold and innovative offensive strategies on the gridiron, Leach has received multiple coaching accolades, including twice being named the Pac‑12 Coach of the Year and the National Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2018.

A Pullman native and WSU alumnus, Baumgartner previously served eight years as a Washington State senator. He also served as a U.S. State Department officer in Iraq and an embedded counter‑narcotics advisor in Afghanistan. Baumgartner has traveled to over 80 countries and has frequently lectured on counterinsurgency tactics. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Washington Policy Center’s Champion of Freedom Award.


Media contact:

  • Dave Cillay, vice president for academic outreach and innovation, 509‑335‑5454,

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