There’s a weird, sometimes antagonistic relationship between the media covering a sport and those athletes and coaches who are competing and coaching in it.

If anyone was going to find an awkward way to highlight that, it was Mike Leach, the part-time pirate, full-time head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. 

In the press conference following State’s ugly 24-10 loss to the Auburn Tigers, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger’s beat reporter, Tyler Horka, asked Leach a question about his offense and whether or not it was regressing as the season progressed.

Leach, one of the great offensive innovators of the last thirty years in college football, decided to respond by asking Horka about his own work as a writer.

“If you’d like, I could proofread some of your articles and see whether you’re on a steady upswing as well,” said Leach. “I minored in English so I’d be happy to do it if you have any material you’d like to send me. I can go ahead and evaluate it and see if you’re on an upward trend.”

Leach paused for a moment to take a swig from his water bottle and the reporter used the off beat to respond. 

“Well, I’d love to do that. I might be getting a little stale maybe you could help me out.”

“Okay I look forward to seeing your articles,” said Leach.

And in that moment a new kind of relationship was born between sports and media. Reporters will ask coaches about their football teams, while the coaches will criticize the reporters’ writing. It seems fair enough. 

Was this the beginning of a beautiful friendship? No, no it’s not likely.