The first thing you may notice about Mike Binkley, besides the journalist gravitas that constantly radiates from him, is his striking blue eyes.

The same can be said for Coach, his 5 ½-year-old pooch.

(credit: Mike Binkley)

(credit: Mike Binkley)

“Because of his blue eyes, people often react to him as if he’s an exotic breed,” Binkley said, “but he’s a good old American mutt.”

Binkley says he found out Coach is a mix of Siberian Husky, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute and Dalmatian with the help of a mail-in DNA swab test.

But where did the name “Coach” come from anyway? Is Binkley a hardcore “Cheers” fan or something?

“As a proud graduate of Kansas University, I once had two dogs, Roy and Willie, who we named after the KU basketball coach, Roy Williams,” he said. “But then Williams left KU for North Carolina and it became awkward, so we decided our next dog would have a more generic name.”

Binkley and his wife adopted Coach after seeing his picture on the Animal Humane Society’s website.

“We wanted a medium-sized dog that would be friendly and obedient,” he said.

And Coach is obedient … mostly.

“If he spots a squirrel or rabbit, it’s game over,” Binkley said.

In fact, Coach’s squirrel eye is so keen that he emits a high-pitch shriek whenever he sees one.

“It sounds to bystanders as if he’s in serious pain, but [he] just really, really wants to catch a squirrel,” Binkley said.

(credit: Mike Binkley)

(credit: Mike Binkley)

He’s also a downtown dog, which took a little bit of adjustment.

“He used to sit and howl whenever he heard the tornado sirens or emergency vehicles going by, but he’s gotten used to them now,” Binkley said.

(credit: Mike Binkley)

(credit: Mike Binkley)

Coach is such a laid-back downtown dog that he often can’t be bothered to greet his humans when they come home from a tough day at the office.

“But he has a strong tail that loudly pounds against the chair as we approach him,” he said.

And while Coach might not be big into greetings, he’ll never stop begging for a coveted belly rub.

(credit: Mike Binkley)

(credit: Mike Binkley)

Check out this video from a few years back when Coach made his anchor debut on WCCO!

~Stephen Swanson

From pit bulls to pet rocks, Pet Blog covers it all. If you have a great animal companion story or a pet-related event that deserves a spotlight, email


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