Normally, I refrain from writing sports columns simply because it’s the job of my colleagues in the sports section. However, this is an issue transcending sports and I feel a great need to say a few things.
I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter lately about the Red Raider football team and its many shortcomings this season, most notably regarding last Saturday’s embarrassing loss against Iowa State. There are those, including myself, who bring up how Mike Leach likely would not have lost that game, while there are those who seem to be offended by this point.
What made my blood boil on this issue, however, is how a column appeared in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Toreador in which the author demanded everyone who thought Leach would have won Saturday’s game to write a letter of apology to the athletic department.
Why on earth would I ever apologize for acknowledging the failures of the athletic department? Why should I be remorseful for disapproving of the decisions made by the university’s power-hungry administration?
Beyond opinion, it reasonably has been proven that Leach was wrongfully terminated in 2009. In his recent book, “Swing Your Sword,” Leach not only explains the details of his firing, but provides evidence in the forms of emails, phone messages and depositions involving notable people such as Chancellor Kent Hance, Regents Larry Anders and Jerry Turner, booster and former regent Jim Sowell and ESPN analyst Craig James.
I won’t go into detail about the circumstances of Leach’s firing, as I would just be summarizing parts of the book. But, those who deny the fact that Leach was unfairly fired either have their heads in the sand or simply do not want to know.
It’s been almost two years since Leach was fired and the issue still remains in the minds of many fans. There are two reasons for this. First, the issue remains unresolved. Secondly, the current Red Raider football team looks inferior to the one Leach ran.
I almost can guarantee that the Red Raiders would have won at least 10 games last year had Leach still been their coach. The program was built by him and therefore was perfectly suitable to his style.
But, now that a coach has been brought in with a completely different style, rebuilding must be done. Even though Tommy Tuberville has been hailed as a defensive coach, the defense has shown no improvement after the Leach years.
Also, the offense under Tuberville is simply not as potent as it was under Leach, as evidenced by the Iowa State game. Leach is easily one of the greatest offensive minds in college football, while Tuberville and offensive coordinator Neal Brown, whose short-yardage playbook seems to contain only one play, simply are not.
Tuberville also seems to have a knack for blowing games. Some of his decisions played an important role in the losses to Texas A&M and Kansas State while he nearly blew the Oklahoma game. The team is obviously poorly coached, which is why Tuberville needs better players to beat the big teams than Leach did. There is no substitute for good coaching. Until Tuberville can prove he is an upgrade over Leach, the comparison will always be there.
With this being said, I fully realize Leach never will coach the Red Raiders again. Sadly, his ship has sailed. Tuberville is the coach now and I hope and pray he and the Red Raiders will succeed in the near future. I know Tuberville has the ability to take the football program a long way.
With this argument out of the way, the remaining issue is that Leach’s termination has not been resolved. Lawsuits still are pending and Leach keeps fighting.
What the Red Raider nation desperately needs is for Leach to win his lawsuits and be paid all of the money and damages owed to him by Texas Tech and ESPN.
The truth about the firing needs to come out as well. Those responsible for conspiring to get rid of Leach should be held accountable. Many of Tech’s faithful, including myself, will not be satisfied until the aforementioned notable people are run out of Lubbock for good or, in the case of James, fired from ESPN.
So, don’t write this issue off as a bunch of drunken pirates waving their flags around. This is going to remain in the background until the issue is resolved, as I have explained.
Leach must be paid, conspirators must be punished and Tuberville must start winning more games. Until then, Leach’s name is going to keep coming up as a reminder of better times gone by.