Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach Loves Cargo Shorts

When you carry around a personality the size of Texas, you need more than just a couple pockets to accommodate it all. Fortunately for Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, extra storage is readily available.

Leach loves cargo shorts. He’s proudly sported the '90s fashion staple for nearly as long as he’s been coaching. And for good reason.

“The pockets. The pockets are the key,” Leach admitted to Britany Thackery, MSU’s Director of Player Personnel. “I like pockets. I like cotton. 100% cotton and the pockets.”

Though no one exactly knows which college football head coach wore cargo shorts first, plenty of evidence suggests that it may well have been Leach. As always, while most head honchos are zigging, he is zagging.

“I started wearing cargo shorts shortly into coaching," added Leach. “…Everybody was wearing those bike, double-knit shorts that had basically a waist band this (Leach extends his fingers) thick, and they were just terrible. They were the worst shorts ever.

“My whole time growing up, that’s what coaches would wear. Went on for decades. They’re just terrible. They’re hot, had this kind of girdle-style belt that buttoned up at the top and I couldn’t stand 'em.”

Before he discovered cargo shorts, Leach tossed his stems in some beachwear to avoid the trap (or girdle) of the bike shorts.

“I’d wear either Billabong or Rusty (brand) surf shorts that had pockets,” Leach told Thackery. “Because that was the biggest point, was pockets. And then cargo shorts came out, which meant extra pockets…that’s what’s key to coaching shorts.”

If you’re wondering what Leach uses the pockets for, other than his larger than life personality, wonder no more.

“My wallet, my headphones, any change,” said Leach.

After rattling off a few more relatively normal football items, Leach then detailed some obscure objects that he chooses to stow away: “Sometimes sunglasses depending on if I’m wearing them or not. Small lunch items like apples…ya know, cargo shorts, you can stick a sandwich in there. And I’ve done that too.”

Never change, coach. Not even your shorts.


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Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival. Follow him on X (@OhioAF).