LUBBOCK, Texas- The Big 12 became the Gulag of College Football in 2009. The first general dishonorably discharged was Mark Mangino was. Today, another highly decorated general has been sent packing.
Mike Leach, the creator of the Air Raid offense, was fired from Texas Tech this morning.
Ted Liggett, Mike Leach’s attorney, received a letter of termination by the school this morning. Both sides were set to appear in a Lubbock, Texas courtroom for a hearing on the coach’s suspension.
Liggett says the letter states, that “Mike Leach is terminated with cause effective immediately.”
Texas Tech suspended Leach on Monday from the teams bowl game while they investigated allegations of mistreatment towards an injured player. The early verdict was not appealing to Leach.
Leach’s lawyer Ted Liggett said, “He’s not thrilled.”
The matter is not over in the mind of Liggett. He said he plans to come guns a blazing towards Texas Tech on Leach’s behalf “soon”.
“We can guarantee that the fight has just begun,” he said.
Liggett claims he had evidence citing the school’s actions to suspend Leach were without merit. Liggett believed the school rushed their decision to save themselves.
“So they pulled the trigger,” Liggett said. “They don’t want that coming out.”
The allegations were brought out Monday. Texas Tech Receiver Adam James, son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James, alleged that during practice he was confined to a small, dark space twice by Leach after being diagnosed with a concussion.
“We appreciate that the university conducted a fair and thorough investigation,” said a statement from the James family. “From the family’s point of view this has always been about the safety and well being of our son and of all the players on the team.”
“We appreciate that the university conducted a fair and thorough investigation,” said in a James family statement. “From the family’s point of view this has always been about the safety and well being of our son and of all the players on the team.”
Texas Tech officials had laid out their case to Leach in a letter. It included court papers filed in response to his motion for a restraining order to remove the suspension.
The letter stated guidelines that Leach was told to agree to pertaining towards the treatment of student-athletes. He did not sign that letter.
The stated guidelines were:
• “Decisions regarding whether an injury warrants suspension from practice and/or play will be determined by a physician without pressure from you or your staff.”
• “There will be no retaliation against any student who has suffered an injury.”
Despite all the allegations and quarrels with the administration Liggett said Leach was 100 percent committed to the program.
“Coach Leach has never, ever hidden his desire to coach the Texas Tech Red Raiders,” Liggett said. “His accomplishments, his actions, his graduation rate all prove that.”
Texas Tech faces off versus Michigan State Saturday in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Leach will likely have a press conference with the public soon. Liggett doesn’t know when it will take place or where Leach is but he said his client has a lot to get off his chest.
“It’s pretty hard to keep him quiet,” he said.
Liggett read Leach’s termination letter aloud to a packed courtroom and when he reached the part claiming Leach was fired the gallery stated their displeasure.
Numerous fans said they wouldn’t be renewing their season tickets. Outside a motorist shouted outside his vehicle window, “Fire Meyers”.
Outside the court, after the firing had been announced, a motorist yelled out his vehicle window, “Fire Myers,” referring to athletic director Gerald Myers.
Leach and Meyers have never been on the same page at Texas Tech. Before the 2009 season the university and him were at odds over negotiations for a contract extension and his interview about the Washington job.
In February, both sides came to an agreement as Leach and the school agreed to a five-year, $12.7 million deal, keeping him in Lubbock through 2013.
Sources say that after James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, and was examined the following day he was told not to practice due to repercussions from the injury and an elevated heart rate.
Sources claimed Leach contacted the trainer and instructed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”
According to the source, Leach gave the trainer the same request two days later, to “put James in the darkest, tightest spot in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”
Dr. Michael Phy, a Texas Tech physician, examined James on Dec. 17, diagnosing him with a mild concussion and made his recommendations regarding the levels of treatment, according to a memo he wrote on Dec. 25. The memo claimed that no harm was done to James. The Jame’s family side didn’t see things that way.
Liggett told reporters James was secluded twice, and the circumstances were nowhere as grave as the James family perceived it.
He stated that James, “was placed in an equipment room as it was much cooler and darker” than the practice field and after the doctor examined him he returned to practice.
On that day Leggit claimed that, a trainer was posted outside the room and James received ice.
Leach said in affidavit during Tuesday’s court filing that he “would never intentionally harm or endanger a player” and that he was “forced into this situation without being afforded any process.”
Ted Liggett, Mike Leach’s counsel said that he did nothing wrong in his treatment of his player with a “mild” concussion. Leach was seeking a court’s help in allowing him to coach in Saturday’s Valero Alamo Bowl.
Several former and current Texas Tech players defended their coach and sent emails criticizing receiver Adam Jame’s work ethic.
Former Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Morris was quoted in a CBSSports.com interview blasting James saying, he was “never known as a hard worker” and “seemed to have a negative attitude toward the football program the majority of the time.”
Morris informed The Associated Press on Wednesday that these letters were written before the school suspended Leach and conducted their investigation. Morris and his teammates just wanted to show their support for coach Leach.
Morris said Leach told him before the incident was investigated that he would never abuse his players and demanded them to take responsibility for their actions.
“He told me he would never do anything,” said Morris. “He was trying to hold someone accountable.”
Leach taken the Red Raiders to new heights since arriving in Lubbock. In 2008 he led them to an 11-2 record, the best season in the program’s history. He also received Big 12 Coach of the Year as well in 2009.
He was quirky coach known for his bizarre comments during postgame and pregame interviews. He used to pirate jargon in his coaching style by motivating his players to “swing their swords” when playing on Saturdays.
He was known as the mad scientist who arrived in West Texas in 2000 and bringing a high-octane spread offense with him. Since putting on the headset in Lubbock, Texas Tech quarterbacks have led the nation in passing eight times. His innovative lab has been officially shut down.
In 10 seasons Leach won 84 games, surpassing his predecessor Spike Dykes as the winningest coach in Texas Tech history.
Before his days in Lubbock, Leach was Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops. He spent two years as an assistant at Kentucky and five years at Valdosta State in Georgia.
Unlike Bob Knight, Leach has raised the city’s and school’s attention during his tenure. “60 Minutes” and New York Times conducted feature stories about him.
Texas Tech has seen their coaches use bizarre antics on the gridiron and hardwood. Yet, the school would rather let known actions of one legend go and kick another one in the making to the curb without a reason.