Archive for Monday, November 28, 2011

Sheahon Zenger has guts to hire Mike Leach

November 28, 2011


You can’t hire a football coach who is suing the network that holds the rights to some of your conference games and is suing a school in your conference.

Why not? You just can’t. Oh, OK, just like you can’t fire a football coach two years into a five-year, $10 million guaranteed contract.

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger weeks ago determined adhering to the standard way of doing business and giving a coach at least three years to prove himself didn’t apply in this situation. So why should anyone think that Zenger will put his own convenience ahead of a chance to turn the KU football program from a national laughingstock into a winner? He won’t.

Zenger will pursue controversial former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach unless Leach puts up a hurdle in front of himself that’s just too big to clear. Zenger will pursue him because he knows Leach has the sort of pushy presence that can get recruits to come to Lawrence and has the know-how to develop them into better players once they get here.

The fact Leach isn’t afraid to say anything about anyone at any time makes him all the more appealing to a football program that has fallen so far so fast since winning the Orange Bowl and going 12-1 four years ago. These days, finding the cure to the common cold presents a far easier challenge than trying to sell season tickets to KU football games. Zenger lands Leach and in an instant those tickets become hotter than it was cold Sunday night at the Lawrence Airport.

So strong is the pull of the name Leach that more than just media members who get paid to turn over every stone shivered standing outside the Lawrence Airport terminal, waiting for the landing of an airplane that originated in Key West, Fla., where Leach lives. It turned out to be another Geraldo Rivera vault-opening. No Leach.

Leach’s “Air Raid” offense turned Texas Tech into such a force it had a 47-33 record in the Big 12 in his 10 seasons. And that record was built playing five games against the stronger South and three against North squads. Overall, he went 84-43. The new Big 12 schedule that has every team playing the other nine every year won’t scare Leach.

He had a winning record every year at Texas Tech, peaking in 2008 (11-2, 7-1).

Along the way, he offended many. Imagine that, a football coach saying things that upset people. In a popular YouTube video, Leach in a postgame presser after a loss to Texas A&M;, referred three times to the players’ “fat little girlfriends.”

“As coaches, we failed to make our coaching points ... more compelling to them than their fat little girlfriends,” Leach said. “Now, their fat little girlfriends have some obvious advantages. For one thing, their fat little girlfriends tell them what they want to hear, which is how great you are and how easy it’s going to be.”


Texas Tech is located closer to a rich football pool of recruits than is Kansas, but Leach would have a couple of advantages recruiting to KU as well. For one, state-of-the art facilities. Also, recruits who visit Kansas will learn that the Jayhawks’ girlfriends tend to be in much better shape than the Red Raiders’ girlfriends.


TheStonesSuck 6 years, 6 months ago

Terrible article. I'm a Keegan supporter, but this was bad.

question4u 6 years, 6 months ago

"Zenger will pursue controversial former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach unless Leach puts up a hurdle in front of himself that’s just too big to clear."

Let's hope that Zenger has more integrity than to hire Leach. Even though Zenger didn't fire Mangino, he will make KU look pretty hypocritical if he chooses to bring in another coach with a history of controversy over his treatment of players.

Leach was fired not because he didn't win, but because he reflected poorly on Texas Tech University. Is Zenger ready to say that KU has lower standards and is willing to let ethics slide just for the possibility of winning more games? To say that he will seems pretty insulting to Zenger. Why not wait and see what kind of man Zenger is before announcing what he'll do?

BruceWayne 6 years, 6 months ago

Leach was fired because Adam James cried to daddy.

twaldaisy 6 years, 6 months ago

According to Leach's book "Swing the Sword" Adam James' ESPN daddy hired PR firm that made that bogus video of his kid locked in an electrical closet. Why he has lawsuit against ESPN. He is trying to sue TT but TT is saying they are the "state" and cannot be sued, just like KS gov't cannot be sued. Also according to the book Leach has e-mails, memo, and other documention to prove this. I was not hot on Leach until I read this article. Fairly obvious the author of the article has a "crush" on Leach though, so is biased.

Hammertoe 6 years, 6 months ago

Leach would be easy for any school to recruit against. "Mom, go to you tube and type in Mike Leach....see what your son is in for during the next 4 years..."

oldvet 6 years, 6 months ago

Mom, here's the DVD from the KU win at the Orange Bowl. This is the stage your son will be on for the next four years. After that, you can watch him play on Sunday.

Lee Eldridge 6 years, 6 months ago

Leach is a proven recruiter and coach. If it wasn't for his "baggage" he wouldn't be available to KU in the first place. The question is did Leach learn any lessons? Jim Leavitt also has some baggage, but would be a great hire IMO.

go_powercat 6 years, 6 months ago

My guess is you will be courting Ron Zook for a head coach. Lawernce is already full of bad decisions, might as well make it one more.

cowboy 6 years, 6 months ago

Hit the bottle a little early , what a terrible article

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

If Leach is hired, Zenger must insist that all lawsuits be dropped or settled by the time the contract is signed. Without that, the potentially negative PR circus that could ensue and last for years would make Zenger look as bad as Perkins.

CLARKKENT 6 years, 6 months ago


parrothead8 6 years, 6 months ago

"...and in an instant those tickets become hotter than it was cold Sunday night at the Lawrence Airport."

Lamest line ever.

Hadley_says 6 years, 6 months ago

Worth repeating:

"Leach was fired not because he didn't win, but because he reflected poorly on Texas Tech University."

Richard Payton 6 years, 6 months ago

The Big 12 gave Mike Leach the biggest fine in Big 12 history. Everyone knows Mike Leach can coach but will he continue to talk too much. This will be a different culture for the football players if he is hired.

Texascane 6 years, 6 months ago

...because Leach had the audacity to state to the press that Big 12 officials who live in Austin should not call University of Texas football games...Oh, the horror, the horror...

By the way, two years later, the Big 12 decided that Big 12 officials who live in Austin will no longer officiate Longhorn football games...

thebigspoon 6 years, 6 months ago

Seems as if the KU Athletic Director is sooking for a coach who can win. If Leach is under consideration, then the first coach considered whould be Mangino. The situations with both leach and he are precisely the same. Coach becomes a coach instead of an enabler and insists the player do his best to become a part of a winning program, player whines because he has to work, parents whine because player is being bullied, university whines because coach is trying to make the player as good as he can be, public whines because coach insists on excellence in practice, athletic department whines because coach is abusive, coach is fired. In neither case did the coach whine about abuse heaped on him by player, player's famile, athletic department, or university.

Now we are considering Leach ( who would, I think, be a great hire for KU) but will not consider Mangino, a proven winner and program builder, as well as a coach who can see the potential in each player and put him in the best position for him to become a winner. The fact that he insists on his players following rules and working to be their best has been los in the outcry created by players who do not really want to be the best if it takes hare work and sacrifice. Mark never, never asked a kid to do anything he couldn't do, but he watched the kids, gauged their strengths and weaknesses, and made decisions based on the good of the football program. That he is not a "pretty picture" and not a sociable guy is what got him gone, and we should take another look at what we want from our football program. If KU is totally committed to having the best football program, then KU should give Mangino another look.

And, if he has the toughness that he taught our players, he'd laugh in the faces of those who approach him, then take the job.

beaujackson 6 years, 6 months ago

Mangino is a heart-attack waiting to happen.

beaujackson 6 years, 6 months ago

Mangino is a heart-attack waiting to happen.

frank mcguinness 6 years, 6 months ago

Anyone complaining that a football coach is too mean has either a) Never played Football b) Never played for a winning team c) Couldn't handle the pressure of a mean coach and a winning team

I don't claim to be some football GURU but I did play for Lawrence High School every year I was there from 1995-1997 and to be brutally honest Coach Dick Purdy was a............

That said I thoroughly enjoyed every season I was there and really enjoyed winning games. Including a State Championship in 1995' and being competitive the other years. There were plenty of times we wanted to punch our coach right in the face but we always knew they just wanted to kick our tails just as badly so we wouldn't get punked by some other team.

Many of you say we needed a nice coach after Mangino. That's exactly what we got and while we have a great bunch of young men on our team I would venture to guess that they are all better at hosting a fine banquet with proper etiquette than kicking Missouri's tail for the last time.

Bottom line is that football is not a gentleman's sport and if you can't deal with that then you should not watch it or support it.

6 years, 6 months ago

Only one issue with your logic. There is no relationship between bullying coach and winning. The Mike Ditkas of the world many times will make a run but will never be able to sustain it as player soon lose respect.

The coaches who are able to sustain winning seasons are those who respect the players, set a high standard of achievement, and if they say something they back it up with action. Bill Snyder is not good becuase he is always on the players' backsides - he is good because he sets a standard for them to meet and he will work to get them there.

That setting the standard might have been Gill's downfall. He had juniors and seniors who only knew getting their butts chewed got them made enough to play harder. Gill's type of player is one who is more self-motivated and wants to win. This freshman class he picked up will win their junior and senior years. The current juniors and seniors are not Big 12 caliber players. No matter how hard they tried they were not going to win. Add to this no D coordinator and it spells disaster.

Zenger goofed - and he will eventually pay the price. I question if he took into account the number of quality players Gill have (few at the most), they type of player he had, the comparision of the KU players against other Big 12 schools, no pro caliber player at the junior and senior level ... Gill was a self-motivated player - coach's dream. Those are the types of players he wanted to get but didn't have yet.

Zenger will now have to settle for something sub-par. I question Leach coming to KU ... just don't see it due to the law suits. So who does that leave? Any of the good young coaches will take the UCLA, AZ State, Illinois, Ole Miss jobs long before KU. Zenger would have been far better off waiting one more year before pulling the trigger. But his desire is to put his stamp on the program. He will probably bring a stoops in here - and frankly the one out of OU wins games during the season but is out coached come bowl day. Exciting trip there but heartbreak once you are there.

Richard Payton 6 years, 6 months ago

Mike McCarthy is a nice coach that won Super Bowl XLV.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

What if Leach fails? That will make one more coach seeing the advantage of golden parachutes.

OvertheHill48 6 years, 6 months ago

This is a typical Keegan article. He hasn't done a thing to support KU Football. For the past two years he has been a Tuurner Gill basher. The article that he writes won't help any recruiting to KU Football or potential recruits families in evaluating KU. The reference to“fat little girlfriends” is extremely offensive. It was then and is in the manner used in the article to me, to my wife, my daughters and all the young ladies at KU. You should really check to see if that it acceptable language for Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger or Chancellor Gray-Little. I really think it is time that the fat little sports editor Keegan be replaced by someone that really supports all of KU Athletics.

Tony Bushard 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure someone has already mentioned this, but hopefully SZ has some candidates already in place. In a group comprised of UCLA, Arizona St., and Illinois, we'll all be competing for the same candidate pool, yet without the most attractive situation. Here's to hoping this resolves sooner than later.

rgh 6 years, 6 months ago

Why the heck hire a guy with this much baggage? We can do better and I feel Zenger will do just that.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 6 months ago

Who in the world do u think would be better?

KU cannot afford to hire some halfbutted "up and coming" unproven loser like Gill. If they accepted mediocrity they would have kept Gill.

Leach has proven that he can win, Leach has proven hr can compete in the Big12, and can build a football program in Lubbock, TX... He certainly can do better in Lawrence, KS...

Any other coach, in particular Ron Sooo would be th biggest mistake possible. I would also hate to see Venables - an slightly above average defensive coach with top tier talent at Oklahoma... Leavitt wouldnt be bad as option 1.B... But can he recruit Texas???? We need a coach that has proven he can win in the Big 12..

Leach is this proof. If we don't get Leach we shouldn't have gotten rid of Gill. We are obviously shooting for a big name coach, and are willing to spend... Any other coach would be a failure. Sumlin I don't agree with either, he is basically a Turner Gill reincarnation. GET LEACH.

6 years, 6 months ago

Watch - the only coach Zenger will be able to attract is Neuheisel ...

All those good young coaches will be gobbled up by the UCLAs of the world and KU will get a shot at the left overs. Or maybe Fulmer.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

Not true. Z has excellent connections in the college football world because he has coached in it. There will be plenty of coaches who will work for Z.

6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe ... then again maybe not. He might have connections and it is one thing to work along side of someone, a different tune to work for them.

Add to this that KU isn't a football school ... no matter how good your connection is ... UCLA or KU ... see, don't twist my arm UCLA.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

The beautiful campus, top 10 football facilities in the country, and an overall good academic program is enough to attract several coaches. Having a great basketball program can't hurt as well. Z needs to express that he is committed to a winning football program no matter what it takes.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

No doubt Leach can coach and win. He just doesn't have the professional demeanor that we need at the University of Kansas. We need a cross between Mangino and Gill.

Texascane 6 years, 6 months ago

Just don't understand the Sumlin talk...Sumlin hired Halgorsen to put in the offense (Dana coached and played for Leach), When Halgorsen went to Okie State last year, Sumlin hired Kliff Kingsbury to keep the offense alive as OC (Kliff was Leach's first QB at Tech)...Why would you want to hire Sumlin when you could have the master...

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