At least two Universities could be courting Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach for a coaching position. NewsChannel 11 broke the story Wednesday afternoon that Auburn University has now made unofficial contact with Leach.
The story was first published by an Alabama news website, which also says Auburn is also reaching out to Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. Sources say Auburn's coach will not return for 2009. This comes after NewsChannel 11 sports confirmed on Tuesday that Leach flew to Seattle Monday.
NewsChannel 11 sports confirmed Tuesday night that Leach met with University of Washington officials the past two days about their job. A poll in the Seattle Times asking who fans want as the next Huskies Coach has Mike Leach in the lead with 40 percent.
With Auburn interested and Washington expected to tend an offer, Red Raider officials aren't surprised schools make a reach for Leach. "We're always happy that our coach falls in the category of someone that everyone wants or at least wants to look at," Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance said.
Meanwhile, with rumors Tech is in negotiations with Leach, his agent said on Wednesday "we have not received any information from Texas Tech and there has not been any offer." We are told, however, that Tech should be contacting Leach soon and sources tell us they firmly believe Mike Leach will work things out with the Red Raiders.
Both Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers and Chancellor Hance say they don't want to let Leach go. They also tell us they learned of his reported visit to Washington through the media. "He's a great coach, he fits us. I think that he likes Lubbock and we're going to do what we have to do to make sure that we keep him," Chancellor Kent Hance said.
The efforts mostly come down to time and money. Chancellor Hance tells NewsChannel 11 Tech wants to extend Leach's current contract another three years. NewsChannel 11 asked, "If you extend the contract is he going to make more per year than he is now?" "Absolutely, we're going to pay him more and there would be an increase. But we'll work that out. Coach Myers and Coach Leach will work that out," Chancellor Hance said.
Leach has coached the Red Raiders for the past nine years. Currently his contract runs through 2010. In addition, if Leach stays for next season he is set to make at least $2.5 million.
With wins over then #1 ranked Texas, a highly ranked Oklahoma State team, an 11-1 regular season finish, the Associated Press recently named Leach the Coach of the Year. "What price is he worth now?" NewsChannel 11 asked Athletic Director Gerald Myers. "We'll that's something we're working on. We're working that out. So that's part of the contract," Myers replied.
Myers says prior to Leach's reported visit to Washington they were already working on a contract extension - something Red Raider fan U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, like many others, hope will keep the pirate in Lubbock. "You tell the coach he better not leave," Senator Hutchison said during an unrelated press conference on Wednesday.
Hance says the university should be discussing a contract extension with Leach sometime this week.
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