Today, before the hearing on his suspension, Mike Leach was fired by Texas Tech. He is one of the great coaches of the last decade and was instrumental in the success of the spread formation which has gained popularity in recent years in college football. Leach turned Tech into an extremely successful football program with an unmistakable identity. His offense routinely produced staggering numbers and was almost always ranked in the top 5 of the FBS. His success notwithstanding, Leach has always been an eccentric individual.
With a physique and facial appearance of the Penguin, Leach was not from a football playing background. He is one of four coaches in the FBS with zero college football playing experience. His offensive schemes are mad scientist-like with intricate routes and blocking schemes. He's always been prickly with the media. In 2007 after a game against Texas, Leached used the majority of his post-game press conference to form a conspiracy. He argued that the NCAA would much rather have Texas at a BCS bowl because of their tendency to bring in more fans and coverage, thus more money. Leach was fined 10,000 dollars by the Big 12, their largest fine given in the young history of the conference.
2008 was truly Leach's finest season. He won coach of the year awards from multiple publications and posted the best record (11-2) in the history of the program. He beat hated rival, then #1 Texas, in the final seconds and had produced a record setting first round top 10 draft pick in Michael Crabtree. After the season Tech secured Leach with a 5-year $12.7 million contract. He's such a strange guy, however. His press conferences are often funny but sometimes they are just flat-out bizarre. Consider his fat little girlfriend rant he had earlier this season.
"Our points more compelling than their fat little girlfriends. Now their fat little girlfriends have some obvious advantages. For one thing, their fat little girlfriends are telling them what they want to hear, which is 'how great you are' and 'how easy its going to be' and we had a bunch of people who wanted to win the football game but nobody wanted to play the football game.
"That defies every level of work ethic that exists with regard to football. As coaches, we have to solve our failure on reaching them and the players have to listen. I am willing to go to fairly amazing lengths to make that happen. I don't know if I will be successful this week or not but I am going to try and there will be some people inconvenienced and if it happens to be their fat little girlfriends too bad. "
It's a funny rant and its commonplace for Leach to go off like that in press conferences. He always seemed like a take-no-**** asshole coach, but we never heard anything out of the ordinary involving his practice techniques. You'd think after watching what happened to fellow Big 12 head coach Mark Mangino of Kansas, that other coaches may want to tone down their asshole act, but no, not the case. Coupled with everything we've heard from the NFL about the efforts done to reexamine post-concussion procedure, this has created a perfect storm for Leach.
Leach confined Adam James, son of former SMU running back and ESPN commentator Craig James, in a dark closet for up to two hours at a time, on two seperate occasions. When responding to the accusations of malfeasance, Leach admitted to the procedure and simply argued that he was doing what was best for Adam James.
That's ****** up. I know coaches like to keep injured players nearby to practice even if they are out with an injury. I know Leach wants to teach James about being a member of a team and to not be a puss. Leach probably looks at James as some rich kid puss who is there because his Dad was part of the "Pony Express" and the last white man to run for 1,000 yards in an NFL season. Apparently, James showed up to practice wearing sunglasses under his helmet. I wonder where he learned that?
So Leach did what any crazy a-hole coach would do. He embarrassed the kid in front of 120+ of his teammates. When Leach's lawyer argues that the coach was doing what was best for the kid's concussion, it is total bullfuckingshit. This was about Leach trying to send a message to his players. He was trying to instill in their minds that he is the leader and if anyone steps out of line he will embarass the living **** out of them. Because he's in control.
In the end, this is almost a win-win for both sides. Gerald Myers, Texas Tech's AD, has always despised Leach. Their differences were well documented during Leach's contract negotiations a year ago. Leach never seemed to love Texas Tech either. Its in the middle of ******* nowhere for one. He also has TU, Texas A&M, Houston and TCU to battle with for talented in-state recruits. Not to mention all the prep players that Oklahoma, OK State, Nebraska and Missouri siphon out of the Lone Star state each year. He will be paid for $400,000 for each of the remaining four years left on his deal.
Even though it is a disturbing act which caused him to be terminated, it isn't the type of mistake that will end his coaching career, not when he has shown the propensity to reenergize floundering college programs with his complex and efficient passing attack. He will catch on at a significant program and it will be exciting to see what he does with it. Could he be a dark-horse candidate for the UF job? Not likely. With Urban Meyer hovering over that program with his leave of absence, it is unlikely that Florida would make a splash involving Leach or any other big name coach for that matter. Its more likely that Leach catches on with another middling BCS team and turns them into a viable contender. Leach has also been an excellent QB guru during his coaching career. He turned Tim Couch into a the number one overall pick and won Josh Heupel a Heisman at Oklahoma in 2000. Thats two pretty big ******* magic tricks.He'll find a job somewhere and also receive a nice settlement.
Texas Tech gets a chance to make a splash with a huge hire. I know Gary Patterson just got a huge deal from TCU, but Texas Tech would be foolish to not at least make a run at him. He knows the recruiting landscape and has excellent credibility building talent with less than stellar resources. I would throw the world at him, otherwise they could regress. Little fat penguin Mike Leaches don't grow on trees.