Mike Leach: ‘They are outright crooks at Texas Tech’

Mike Leach: ‘They are outright crooks at Texas Tech’
Mike Leach

(KCBD) - "They were outright crooks at Texas Tech," said former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach during a news conference yesterday. He is the current head football coach at Washington State University. During the news conference, he began talking about Athletic Director Bill Moos leaving WSU and going to Nebraska. He spoke about how he wants honest, straightforward people in the athletic department.

That is when the question about Texas Tech came up. First, he said, "They were outright crooks," but he didn't stop there.

"You're talking about an organization that hasn't paid me for 2009. We won nine games in 2009 and they haven't won nine since. Yeah, are there crooks there? Yeah."

"They're felons and oughta put them in jail."

"You've got schools that have actually had murders, schools that have had rapes and sexual assaults, schools that have cheated and fixed grades, schools that have bought their players. There's only one school in the nation that's shameful enough to not pay their head coach. Only one. And that's Texas Tech."

"Texas Tech stands alone as far as being sleazy as far as not paying their head coach."

And there's more...

His comments start about 15 minutes in.

In February 2009, Leach signed a three-year contract extension with Texas Tech that would pay him at least $2.5 million per year if he stayed in place through 2013. Leach's guaranteed compensation would have been $1.6 million in 2006, $1.65 million in 2007, $1.75 million in 2008, $1.85 million in 2009 and $2.15 million in 2010.

On December 28, 2009, Leach was suspended indefinitely by Texas Tech pending investigation of the alleged inappropriate treatment of Adam James, son of former SMU and New England Patriots running back (and former ESPN college football analyst) Craig James.

Leach immediately sought an injunction that would allow him to coach in the 2010 Alamo Bowl. However, on December 30, Texas Tech fired Leach, calling his refusal to apologize to James "a defiant act of insubordination." This was the day before Leach was reportedly owed an $800,000 tenure bonus and over $1,700,000 for contractually guaranteed income for 2009. Texas Tech lawyers handed a termination letter to Liggett just minutes before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock courtroom for a hearing. Liggett was also told that Leach would not be allowed to coach in the Alamo Bowl regardless of how the hearing turned out. School officials later said that other incidents had come to light during its investigation of Leach, but declined to elaborate. Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill was named interim head coach and led the team during their appearance in the Alamo Bowl.

In a statement, Leach said that he believed the firing was motivated in part by simmering acrimony over the contract negotiations. He also said he planned to sue Texas Tech for wrongful termination.

On January 8, 2010, Leach formally filed suit against Texas Tech for wrongful termination and other claims. He claimed that school officials not only fired him without cause but issued defamatory statements in a willful attempt to keep him from being hired elsewhere.

Early in 2011, Texas 7th Court of Appeals ruled that Texas Tech was immune from Leach's claim of breach of contract but that Leach can claim non-monetary reparations; Leach attorney Paul Dobrowski announced his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas.

In February 2012, The Texas Supreme Court rejected Leach's appeal without comment signifying their belief that Leach's lawsuit(s) were without merit. After that ruling, Texas Tech attorney Dicky Gregg stated: "As we've said from the beginning, we were right on the law and the facts, and the (Texas) Supreme Court has just held that we were correct on the law."

Leach agreed to terms with Washington State on November 30, 2011 and began coaching for the 2012 season. His five-year rollover contract made Leach the fourth-highest paid coach in the Pac-12. Controversially, Leach is paid on the order of $3,000,000 while funding university sports has led the school to tremendous debt and struggles with facilities upkeep.

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