Leach, Coach in Exile, Bides Time in Paradise

Leach, Coach in Exile, Bides Time in Paradise

Mike Leach tells me to park the car outside a locked gate. The botanical garden is closed for the day, but Leach wants to show me something. Moments later, we're both on our toes staring through slats in a fence.

"Nobody even knows this is back here," the Coach in Exile says.

Inside the fence sit some of the least seaworthy boats ever to float on salt water. Lawn mower engines powered a few. Cheap, orange spray foam and duct tape kept others afloat. One mast appeared to be made from leftover sewer pipe. These vessels fascinate Leach because years ago, Cubans piled into them and braved 90 miles of treacherous open water because they wanted to live free of Fidel Castro's oppression. Less than four miles away, tourists wait in line for almost an hour to take a photograph in front of a buoy that marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. Leach could have shown them a much better time.

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