LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Texas Tech Athletics ticket office says everyone is in a better mood Friday, after Mike Leach signed on to coach the Red Raiders for another five seasons. For awhile it looked like Leach and the University might not reach an agreement, but Thursday Chancellor Kent Hance and Mike Leach sat down and worked out a contract both sides are happy with.
The ticket office is excited about the contract too. "It's hard for me to estimate what would happen. I mean I don't want to estimate because that was the worst case scenario if he wasn't going to be here, so it's impossible to judge. I'm just glad we don't have to live through it because people are definitely happy he's the coach," said Associate Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Dave Welsh. Last season was record breaking for ticket sales, and they think they could sell even more tickets this year now that Leach is here to stay.
The ticket office isn't the only business happy about the new contract. Visit Lubbock estimates each home football game brings anywhere from five to seven million dollars to the Lubbock economy. Football season always means big bucks for area businesses. This past year was better than most, and business owner's hope Leach's new contract means another winning business season.
2008 was a memorable football season bringing fans from all over to watch the Red Raiders play. Then those fans walk across the street and spend money in restaurants, bars, and Tech spirit stores. "This football season was good, and we're hoping next football season will be just as good," said Tiffany Snyder who works as a waitress at Cricket's Bar and Grill.
When it looked like the University and Mike Leach might not agree on a new contract, those businesses got nervous. "Nerve-racking. We just all hoped that everything would work out for the best," said Snyder.
"We were antsy, antsy because we were just trying to figure out how many more pirate products to pull out for next year," said Carrie Patton who manages the Spirit Shop across the street from Texas Tech. After the head pirate signed on for another five years with the Red Raiders, she let out a deep breath, and had the green light to order Leach merchandise. "Probably everything that we order will sell out during the very first few games," she said.
Local bars and restaurants share the enthusiasm. "I've worked here for seven years and seven football seasons, and it was the busiest football season we've ever had," said Snyder. She credits the great season partly to the well known coach. "A lot of it has to do with Mike Leach. I mean everybody wears their pirate shirts, and it's a big deal, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think our football team would be what it is," she said.
Everyone NewsChannel 11 talked to including students, fans, and business owners echoed the same sentiments. They're just glad Leach and Texas Tech worked it all out.
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