By James Clark | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Former Texas Tech Regent Jim Sowell denies any pre-planned or clandestine plot to get rid of Coach Mike Leach a year in advance.
Sowell provided NewsChannel 11 Sports Director Pete Christy a fairly detailed email statement late Tuesday night in which he says, "Any suggestion that there was a premeditated plan a year ago to fire him after he signed his new contract is nonsense." Leach was suspended December 28th and fired December 30th amid allegations he abused player Adam James. Leach denies the allegation.
In the meantime emails between Sowell and Chancellor Kent Hance have surfaced in which Sowell talks about the possibility of having to fire Leach. The emails were written in late 2008 and early 2009, a time of both contract negotiations and acrimony between Leach and the Administration. Leach and Texas Tech did come to a five year contract extension worth up to $12.7 million.
"I was not involved in the decision to suspend or fire him [Leach] in any way, [and] in fact I was stunned to see he had been fired," Sowell said.
Leach sees it differently. Before Leach spoke by Satellite to ESPN from Colorado on December 31st, he first spoke by phone to NewsChannel 11. Leach said, "Those emails certainly strongly suggest some kind of conspiracy and collusion."
Leach also said, "You know I felt like we signed the contract. We're on the same team we're all working together and now I find out after the fact that they're working against me to begin with."
Sowell says in the late 2008/early 2009 emails he merely had suggestions, most of which were copied to Leach's agent. And Sowell goes on to say he gave his opinions to Leach in late 2008, face-to-face, which were not well received.
"Leach was given a more favorable contract than I was advocating," Sowell said. "My suggestions were largely ignored by the Chancellor."
But it was the Chancellor who had asked for his suggestions the first place, Sowell said.
"This is clearly a situation where everyone has lost," Sowell said. "I take full responsibility for my actions one year ago and to the extent that they may have contributed to recent events I am truly sorry."
Sowell concludes in his email statement, "I have always tried to put Texas Tech's interests first above any individuals' in all of my effort's on Tech's behalf."
Online records indicate Sowell was appointed to the Texas Tech Board of Regents by Governor George Bush in March 1995 and served until January 2001.
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|Coverage of Mike Leach Termination
Just days before the Alamo Bowl, Mike Leach was first suspended and then terminated as head coach of the Texas Tech football team. Click here for continuing coverage.