It’s hard to imagine Mike Leach’s 10-year tenure at Texas Tech ending in a more fittingly bizarre fashion. The law school grad sent his lawyer to a courthouse in hopes of getting his suspension lifted, only to come back with a termination letter.
Leach’s one-of-a-kind persona was defined by defiance. Ultimately, it brought about his demise.
Leach, who went 84-43 and took his team to 10 straight bowl games, was ostensibly fired for his mistreatment of a player with a mild concussion, but don’t be fooled. The allegations by Adam James’ family were a convenient excuse for school president Guy Bailey and athletic director Gerald Myers to rid themselves of a coach who, despite bringing the school considerable prestige, never fully earned their respect and butted heads with the administration for years (most notably in last winter’s contentious contract negotiations). When the school rushed to suspend him Monday, we all knew where this was headed.
By firing Leach “with cause” (we’ll have to wait and see whether that part holds up in the inevitable lawsuit to come), the school will get out of paying him a potentially expensive buyout ($400,000 a year for the next four years). It may be about to lose far more than that, however, in canceled season tickets, diminished respect, and, quite possibly, many lost football games.