LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Former Texas Tech Regent Jim Sowell denies any plot to get rid of Coach Mike Leach a year in advance. E-mails between Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance and Sowell obtained by NewsChannel 11 detail Leach's contract negotiations back in 2008.
In an e-mail sent directly to Sports Director Pete Christy late Tuesday night Sowell, of Dallas, says he was not involved in any of the decisions that the university made about Leach after he re-signed his contract back in February of 2009.
Sowell says news of Leach's suspension and subsequent firing came as a big surprise. He tells NewsChannel 11 in his e-mail that over a year ago Hance asked for his input on Leach's contract.
On December 30th, 2008 Sowell wrote to Hance and Athletic Director Gerald Myers, "Kent, they have no leverage, don't give in. Also, I feel you should sign a contract that would not cost us too much to fire him. He has to have a big buyout, he has shown no loyalty. He has tried to get another job every year for the last four years."
Sowell went to say in the 2008 e-mail exchange that, "buyouts are important, if we had lost Leach this year, we couldn't have hired Briles if we wanted to because he had a $4 million buyout," he wrote.
The former regent says after Leach signed he had nothing else to do with his contract. "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," wrote Sowell on January 5th, 2009.
Leach feels the e-mails dated a year ago, between Sowell and Hance suggest conspiracy and collusion. "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," said Mike Leach in his first interview after being fired.
Sowell says any suggestion that there was a pre-meditated plan a year ago to fire him after he signed his new contract is nonsense.
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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.