STARKVILLE – SEC Network sideline reporter Alyssa Lang finished asking her third question during Saturday’s on-field postgame interview with Mike Leach when she heard play-by-play broadcaster Taylor Zarzour and her producer in her earpiece.
“You want to ask about the candy,” they asked her about 10 seconds before Leach finished answering a presumed final question.
Lang immediately decided yes, knowing Leach’s reputation for providing iconic soundbites.
“We talked about on the broadcast how you hate candy corn – what’s your favorite Halloween candy?” she asked.
It sparked a minute-long rant from Leach in which he shared his hatred for candy corn and gave free advertising for some of his favorite treats.
“Gummy bears for sure,” Leach said with a pondering look on his face.
“Sour or regular?” Lang asked.
“The Haribo. It’s gotta be the Haribo ones,” Leach said with his face now lighting up.
“The other thing I like is when they used to have the Sprees in a box – outstanding,” Leach continued. “You have to go to the dollar store to find it, but I do.”
After that line, Lang knew she had sparked a viral moment.
Leach went on for 30 more seconds about European candy, Nerds clusters and Almond Joy before wrapping up.
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The moment the camera shut off, Lang reached for her phone to inform her social media team — a crew with plenty more to patrol than a blowout game in Nashville — of what had happened.
Before she could hit send, the Twitter notifications starting lighting up.
“It's amazing people were watching at that point because the game had been over by then,” Lang said of that on-field interview following MSU’s 45-6 win at Vanderbilt. “I guess anytime Coach Leach is being interviewed in front of a hot mic, people are excited to see what he has to say.”
The SEC Network’s Matt Burns appeared to be the first to get the clip on Twitter and has garnered more than 2.5 million views on his now-pinned tweet.
The video from Burns’ account was reposted by Super 70s Sports, which was quote-tweeted by Ted Lasso – a Twitter-verified yet fictional English Premier League coach whose show has become a success on Apple TV.
Leach says there are too many steps for him to stream Ted Lasso – plus Leach is more of a rugby fan than a soccer fan. However, Leach has been told he should watch it.
For those such as Lang, Ted Lasso’s attention to the tweet only sparked a new level of viral interest.
“I asked the question, but the reason this is blowing up is because Coach Leach is hilarious,” Lang said. “He's creative and the way his brain works – that's why people love this.
“…If there was an imaginary coach friendship that I think anybody would be able to jump on the bandwagon, it would be Lasso and Leach.”
Leach rehashed his hatred with candy corn during his weekly press conference Monday when WCBI sports director Jon Sokoloff left a bag of candy corn near Leach’s microphone with a Post-it Note claiming everything deserves a second chance.
“I do not,” Leach said regarding whether that is true. “That has been carefully researched since I was a child starting at approximately (the age of) three. Although it did have some brighter points in my life, in particular when I was young – the type of thing where it gets all over your hands and your face.
“Not before long, though, I realized that was a grave error.”