LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Many Texas Tech graduates are very upset over the firing of Mike Leach. Several are not even renewing their alumni memberships, hoping their voices will be heard. "I'm livid about this and to me this is the kind of mad that you don't get over in a few days," said Garry Kirkland, a member of the Denver, Colorado Texas Tech Alumni Association Chapter.
The Denver, Colorado chapter of the Texas Tech Alumni Association is the largest Tech Alumni group outside the state of Texas. "We have a coach here who last year had a huge favorable write up in New York Times Magazine, an extremely favorable feature on 60 minutes, our graduation rate is the best of any public university in the nation, how do you fire this guy? We could not have packaged up $20 million and gone out and bought what Mike Leach brought to us," said Kirkland.
During the bowl game on Saturday Kirkland started a petition. "It asks for the resignation or firing of the three key administrators involved in this fiasco certainly Gerald Myers the athletic director, Chancellor Kent Hance, and University President Guy Bailey," said Kirkland.
Asking only Texas Tech Alumni and one former faculty member to sign, before passing it on to the listed administrators. "In addition we are calling on our fellow Red Raiders to withhold donations and future ticket purchases until this thing is sorted out and hopefully until we get these other actions we've requested," said Kirkland.
According to Rhonda Rhodes Denver Chapter board member, "Mr.Kirkland is not an active member of the Denver chapter of the Texas Tech alumni association." Kirkland adamantly insists he is an active member, with routine participation in the group's activities. Rhodes says that Kirkland does not speak for the entire group and Kirkland agrees he does not represent the entire chapter.
Also since the firing, the Lubbock based Texas Tech Alumni Association has been flooded with letters, emails, and calls. "The overwhelming majority are very upset about it, very mad and threatening to withdraw all support from Texas Tech," said Executive Vice President of the Texas Tech Alumni Association Dr. Bill Dean.
Dean says more than 100 alumni have already asked for their memberships not to be renewed, meaning at least a $35 donation a year per person. "Let's not punish the entire university for the problem in athletics," said Dean.
Dean has urged alumni not to withdraw right away. "What I've asked the university to do is to be forth coming with the reasons for this firing and I don't think we know all the reasons yet and I think there are things we don't know, but I think the public or at least the alumni public is entitled to know," said Dean.
"We are Red Raiders, the university is bigger than any coach or any one person and we want to support our team, but I think we are all pretty embarrassed with the administration has done here as well," said Kirkland.
Dean tells us this is one of only three major incidents where fans and alumni have had such an outpouring of concern.
The other two are when there was a proposed change to the Texas Tech seal four years ago, and when the name of the school changed from Texas Technological College to Texas Tech University 40 years ago.
After reports that Kirkland was not a member of the Denver Chapter, NewsChannel 11 contacted the Texas Tech Alumni Association.
"Mr. Kirkland is an alumnus but he is not currently a member of The Texas Tech Alumni Association. In fact, he has never joined the association. He is certainly entitled to express his opinions about the firing of Mike Leach but he definitely does not represent the Texas Tech Alumni Association or its Denver chapter," says Dean.
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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.