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Washington State Hits Home Run with Mike Leach Hire

I’m sitting here watching UCLA at 6-6, and likely to end up 6-7 in a few days. The program has had one really good season in the past decade — a 10-2 year in 2005 when they were paced by future Pro Bowlers Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis. The Bruins have been an average team the past nine years, all of which were under the guidance of Karl Dorrell or Rick Neuheisel. Both hires were made by current athletic director Dan Guerrero, who reportedly had no interest in hiring Mike Leach to fill the head coaching vacancy in 2008.

Now, four years later, UCLA had a chance hire Leach, but they let someone else get him. While the Bruins are sitting here without a coach, Arizona snatched Rich Rodriguez and Washington State landed Leach.

Dread pirate Leach agreed to a five-year deal worth a reported $11 million to rebuild the program in the Palouse. It’s a great hire for Washington State, and one I wish UCLA would have made.

Leach’s teams at Texas Tech averaged more than 33 points per game in nine of his 10 years as head coach. They never had a losing season, and they went to a bowl every year. He’s used to recruiting players to Lubbock, Texas, so convincing players to play in Pullman shouldn’t be a problem. It won’t take long for Leach to turn Washington State, which had three 10-win seasons under Mike Price, into a winning program again.

For the record, in 2007, I said that Leach was not the answer for UCLA. I complained that he constantly topped out at 8 wins a year, and that his teams never could stop anyone. His lack of attention to defense is a fault, but had I been told the alternative was Rick Neuheisel, I would have begged for Leach.

Washington State likely won’t dominate the Pac-12 each year the way USC and Oregon have been, but just having an exciting offense and winning 7-8 games a season should please their fans. Things have become so bad at UCLA, that’s really all I’m asking for.

Mike Leach: Bruce Feldman Was Kidnapped by ESPN

Former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach joined the Tony Bruno Show on FOX Sports Radio Tuesday to talk about his new book, Swing Your Sword. Excerpts from the book already showed us what a farce his firing was. We learned Leach was fired because Texas Tech wanted him out so they didn’t have to pay him a bonus. We also learned that Craig James and ESPN teamed up with Texas Tech in a smear campaign.

ESPN didn’t like the negative attention they received from the book, so they reacted by suspending Bruce Feldman (one of their reporters), who wrote the book. ESPN says they asked him to take a few days off while they decided his fate, so the “suspension” talk is a matter of semantics.

During his appearance on the show, Leach addressed the treatment of Feldman and described ESPN’s actions as “kidnapping.”

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Adam James Did Not Want Mike Leach Fired, Found Closet Incident Funnny

Mike Leach got a raw deal from Texas Tech. The football program’s all time-leader in winning percentage was fired in late ’09 because of alleged mistreatment of wide receiver Adam James. James is the son of Craig James, a former SMU football star, who used his platform as an ESPN broadcaster to smear Leach. While the media prayed on the angle of Leach’s alleged mistreatment of James’ son who had a concussion, we pointed to the other side of the story — the one that said Adam James was a lazy jerk who was a poor teammate. Not only does that side seem much more accurate, but we’re also learning that Adam James did not want Mike Leach fired and that he found the “closet incident” funny.

Here is the other side of the story from Mike Leach, who wrote a book Swing Your Sword, which just was released. The two main points conveyed by the excerpts from the book are that Leach was fired because Texas Tech did not want to pay him an $800,000 bonus he was due, so they used the Adam James incident to push him out. The other important point is that Craig James lied what happened to his son and used his influence to get Leach fired.

We’ve blockquoted the most significant portions of the excerpt published at SI.com:

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Maryland Agrees to Buyout with Ralph Friedgen, Targeting Mike Leach

Mike Leach desperately wants to coach college football again. His reputation took a huge hit after a concussion scandal that occurred when he was the head coach at Texas Tech.  Donald Trump thinks Leach deserves another shot, as evidence by the letter he sent the president of the University of Miami.  It looks like Leach may finally get his chance.

According to InsideMDSports.com, University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen has verbally agreed to let the university buy out his contract, meaning he will not return in 2011.  Maryland is said to be very interested in hiring Leach to be its next head coach and plans on moving quickly to bring him in.

Leach would be a great hire for Maryland.  He compiled an 84-43 record at Texas Tech from 2000-2009 and is one of the best known offensive minds out there.  Leach was fired as a result of accusations that he mistreated his players, not because he was an ineffective coach.  Bringing in Leach would allow Maryland to sign a big-time coach to lead a program that has not yet reached its potential.

Friedgen had the Terps headed in the right direction, but Leach could do better.  With the likes of Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech in the ACC, Maryland would do well to bring in a coach who knows how to put points on the board.  Assuming the player mistreatment accusations don’t effect Leach’s ability to recruit, he should be able to bring in some of the top offensive high school prospects based on his history with Texas Tech.  If he’s interested in the job — which he should be considering there aren’t many offers out there for his services — Maryland should act quickly and bring Leach on board.

Donald Trump Tells Miami President to Hire Mike Leach

Three years ago, Donald Trump expressed his discontent with Miami University president Donna Shalala for hiring Randy Shannon and not Mike Leach to coach the Hurricanes.  Shannon certainly didn’t work out, and now Shalala is responsible for hiring another head coach.  While many reports indicate Jon Gruden will be the heir to the U throne, Trump continues to lobby for his buddy, Leach.  Check out this note he sent Shalala in typical Trump fashion:

For those of you who have normal eyes and can’t read that, here’s what the note says:

Donna, you made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech — look what’s happened to them since he left [something no one can seem to read] — Hire Coach Leach and you will be number one. Best wishes, Donald — And you can get him for the right price. Best wishes, Donald.”

Keep in mind that as of Tuesday night College Football Talk was reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next Hurricanes coach, “barring a last-minute glitch.”  Hopefully it works out.  I’d hate to be Shalala and have to decipher one of these obnoxious notes again if it doesn’t.

Mike Leach Wanted His God Squaders Using Their Entire Brains

Have you ever wondered what goes on during those infamous pregame, halftime, and postgame speeches? And no, I’m not talking about players’ dongs being shown on national TV, but the speeches the coaches make. Well thanks to the efforts of Orangebloods who used the Texas Open Records Act, we now have been blessed to see video of postgame speeches made by former Texas Tech coach, Mike Leach.

The first video comes after Texas Tech’s 42-21 win over Kansas this past season. In the video, Leach calls out some of his religious players for not playing hard enough, referring to them as “god squadders.” The second video comes after Texas Tech’s 20-13 win over Baylor. Leach goes into a six-minute long rant with tons of cussing. He makes several valid points and lashes out against his players for feeling entitled to success. These videos will likely be used by Texas Tech in defense for their pending court case involving Leach’s firing from the school. These videos don’t mean much to me because its commonly known that coaches cuss and use extreme measures to fire up their players. This also doesn’t change my belief that Adam James was lazy and felt entitled. Anyway, here are the videos, and beware of all the cussing:

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Texas Tech Coaches and Players: Adam James Is a Lazy, Entitled, Jerk

It’s hard to know what to make of the current investigation and situation surrounding Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. Leach is being investigated by the school for his alleged treatment of receiver Adam James after doctors said James couldn’t practice because of a concussion. James’ father is a high-profile analyst and former player with a lot of clout who has a platform as a broadcaster for ESPN. Texas Tech is on the hook for millions of dollars to Leach, including an $800,000 bonus if Leach is still the team’s coach by Thursday. People are suggesting that Texas Tech is trying to get rid of Leach because of the money they owe him and that they’re using the James case as a reason for justifiable cause. James appears to be using the current climate of sensitivity amongst football players who have concussions to garner anti-Leach sentiment. While there was initially widespread outrage towards Leach for his alleged mistreatment of James, new information paints the situation in an entirely different light.

Several letters and emails from CBS Sports from current or former Texas Tech coaches and players describe Texas Tech receiver Adam James as an entitled, lazy, and selfish player who was unqualified to play Division-I football. One email even called James a jerk. Reading all these emails allows one to see another side of the story, one that displays the incident as something other than the gross mistreatment of a concussed player by a coach. After seeing the other side of the story, I believe this an example of a spoiled child hiding behind his powerful parents to get back at a coach who was hard on the kid and made him earn his playing time. What makes matters worse is that James’ parents are drumming up this negative sentiment against Leach on ESPN without describing all of his son’s shortcomings. Was it right of Leach to place James in those isolated rooms during practice? No. Did James need to be disciplined for a poor work ethic and attitude? From the sounds of it, absolutely.

Mike Leach is nowhere near the bad guy he’s being made out to be by the James family. It’s a shame that people are jumping all over the guy without looking at all sides of the story. Furthermore, why is Texas Tech so motivated to get rid of the guy? Did they reach by overspending to keep him? That’s their mistake, not Leach’s. Anyway, check out this Lubbock news report for more insight on the story at hand and then let me know what you think.

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