Mike Leach wants back into football. He just doesn’t know when it will happen.
Leach was fired as the head coach at Texas Tech in late December after an allegation of improper treatment by Adam James. The son of ESPN analyst Craig James, who was battling a concussion, alleged that Leach forced him to stand in a dark shed while the team practiced. Leach has never disputed those facts, but was fired when he refused to apologize.
Now wrapped up in a lawsuit with Texas Tech over wrongful termination, Leach says he’ll likely spend this season as a television analyst, but that he looks forward to getting back into football at a later date. Speculations have run rampant that he could be a prospect for the newly opened position at Vanderbilt.
Mike Leach joined KRLD in Dallas with Newy Scruggs to discuss what it’s like to be out of coaching, the Big 12 shakeup and what his plans are to get back into coaching.
On how he’s getting through the time without coaching:
“It’s been remarkably active. I’ve brought all these books with me [to Florida] and I thought, ‘Well, this’ll be great, I’ll relax and read these books.’ It didn’t really come to that because I’ve had so much going on. Travelling, I’ve been in and out of here and I’ve been called by a number of schools just to meet with them. And then, of course with the lawsuit, periodically there’s stuff to handle with that. But I’ve been travelling a lot. I haven’t got any of those books read.”
On the Big 12 shakeup:
“I don’t know. I guess I don’t know the entire big picture on that … because these guys have obviously thought it through to some point in a pretty good fashion and so I can’t say what’s smart or not smart. … First of all, they talked about the 16-team conferences, which, I don’t know. To me, the perfect conference size is 10. You play most people and then you get a few non-conference games. But obviously it’s about money and who controls it and how many eyes are watching their television sets. … My suspicion is that what we’re seeing right now is going to be a little bit short-term. Something’s going to change. I’m not saying the Big 12 is going to go away. I don’t know what is going to change, but something’s going to change.”
On Tommy Tuberville, his replacement at Texas Tech:
“I’ve know him over the years, but he didn’t have much to do with this. My deal, and this is well-publicized, is about money and doesn’t have anything to do with Tuberville. It’s about money and about a few corrupt administrators there at Texas Tech. They signed an agreement that they, at no point, planned to honor. And so I think that’s pretty clear.”
On whether he’s bitter towards Texas Tech:
“I think to a point, there’s always some disappointment. We accomplished a lot there at Texas Tech. There’s only about 160 Division I coaches in the history of the world that can say they’re the winningest coach in the history of their program. … I’m one of those guys. And it has to do with the honor that I’ve had in working with the coaches and players that I’ve been able to work with and what we’ve been able to build together. … With that said, when you start dealing with dishonest people who do dishonest things, obviously there’s going to be things that happen. I was a casualty of that.”
On whether he’d be interesting in coaching at the professional level:
“I’m not against the pros at all. I like college a great deal and the thing is is that you have to keep in mind that the things at Texas Tech were kind of a revolving door as far as the administration went. When I was there, we had five presidents and three chancellors and there were power struggles between those two almost consistently. In the course of three chancellors, I got along with two of the three. And the five presidents, I got along with four of the five, which I think is pretty good over 10 years. One football coach, over 10 years, had to adjust to the revolving door of eight different administrators.”
On what’s next:
“There’s a lot of great schools out there and I’m looking forward to coaching at the one that’s a good fit. The NFL, right now, I think it’s the best time ever to win in the NFL. But I think the key element is the head coach has to have control over the 53-man roster and has to have control over who’s selected in the draft. Or at least the owner, the GM and the head coach have to be on the same page.”