Some college coaches spend their vacations at a cottage relaxing, far away from the field.
Mike Leach spent his coaching.
He made a 10-day trip to Europe recently, which included a visit with a team from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve that plays American football.
"It's just good to see American football over there in Europe, and the interest over there is growing," Leach said.
Leach played rugby at BYU -- no, he didn’t play college football -- with teammates who were raised on the sport. He said the experience of football in Europe is comparable to rugby in the United States. Coaching can be limited, so either outsiders come in to teach the technical aspects or the players have to watch videos and learn from that. Since Leach was afforded the opportunity to learn from international teammates about the sport of rugby, he's happy to go to France and teach those pursuing American football abroad.
It was a valuable experience for The Flash, according to general manager Bruno Lacam-Caron, who said that Leach's personality, well-known to American football fans, has endeared him to his French football counterparts.
"You have to imagine that coach Leach is the same on any side of the ocean," Lacam-Caron said via email. "We traveled some and talk mainly about non-football topics which is not surprising. … He made us laugh but, in our amateur football experience, we built around a lot more than the field so we also shared some stories."
About 80 percent of The Flash's players and coaches speak English, so the language barrier wasn't too bad, according to Lacam-Caron.
And though, unsurprisingly, Leach greatly enjoyed his walks around Paris, he also enjoyed the chance to get to see American football growing outside of America.
"I'm always impressed with their commitment," Leach said. "They pay to be on the club, and then the city of La Courneuve helps provide a facility and is supportive, but we're talking guys who buy their own gear and carry it around to practice. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment on their part."