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.