Texas Tech’s Leach calls Mangino investigation ‘witch hunt’

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach directs his team against Texas A&M in this file photo from Oct. 18 in College Station, Texas.

Speaking out about the investigation into the actions of Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino, current Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said he feels the situation is a “witch hunt” and offered his support of the Jayhawks’ embattled coach.

“Heaven forbid somebody should ask a (player) to pay attention and focus in for the sake of all his teammates and coaches and everyone else,” Leach said during Monday morning’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “Well, there’s different ways to ask a guy to do that, and sometimes, after you’ve asked him a number of times, you raise the bar.

“The mean man told some player something he didn’t want to hear,” he added, in mock horror. “Well, there’s a mean man in Lubbock that tells people stuff they don’t want to hear, too, and that’s just part of it.”

Leach served as an assistant with Mangino at Oklahoma under head coach Bob Stoops in 1999.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, meanwhile, said incidents like the ones described by former players in recent days likely didn’t occur when Mangino served under Snyder for eight years at K-State.

“That didn’t happen to my knowledge,” Snyder said. “Not a whole lot slips under the radar from that respect. He handled the players well.”

Stoops, while reserving comment on the specific allegations, indicated that Mangino always cared for his players’ well-being.

“He was very close with them, appreciated them, did everything that was appropriate,” Stoops said.