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Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach chooses not to go quietly

by Jenni Carlson Published: July 29, 2011

That sort of openness makes for a great book but makes for trouble when you're an unemployed college football coach.

What university leader wants to hire a guy who's so open in his criticism?

Leach is also fighting the perception that he mistreated players, most notably Adam James, son of ESPN analyst and former NFL running back Craig James. He writes at length in the book about that, but as a man with a law degree, Leach takes an evidence-based approach. He uses subpoenaed email exchanges and sworn court depositions.

“I think what makes that section really powerful is, it's not my words,” Leach said. “It's all in their words. There's an appendix there that includes the actual documents.”

Clearly, the way that his time at Texas Tech ended hasn't turned Red Raider fans against him. His book signing in Lubbock sold out the day before. He signed 1,200 pre-sold books and would've signed more if there had been any more in town.

In Dallas a week later, he signed 2,000 books.

“Sold more books than Sarah Palin and just a few less than Ozzy Osbourne,” Leach said.

The Pirate always keeps interesting company, doesn't he?

But when will he be hanging with a football team again? When will he be sending out six wide receivers and spreading the offensive line from hash to hash and causing ulcers for defensive coordinators? When will he be back invigorating college football?

Leach is ready to start anytime, but college football has been through two major hiring phases since he was fired.

Still, Leach is unemployed, cooling his heels in Key West.

“You look at the coaches who've been hired, and they're good coaches and fine people,” he said, “but they don't bring as much to the table as I do.”

He rattled off a laundry list of talking points, everything from winning percentages and bowl appearances to graduation rates and increased revenue.

But from the look of things, these court cases will have to be settled before anyone even takes a serious look at Leach, much less offers him a job. Will that be next year? Will that be longer? It's impossible to know.

Leach knows he could speed his return to the sidelines. Drop the lawsuits. Calm the waters. Put the focus on his future instead of his past.

“I can't pretend it didn't happen,” he said. “I'm not going to validate a lie and pretend that.

“But when it comes to coaching, my body of work speaks for itself.”

Right now, whatever it's saying is unfortunately being drowned out.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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Mike Leach Book Signing

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Barnes & Noble, 6100 N. May Ave.

Former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach will sign his recently released book, “Swing Your Sword.” The book will debut at No. 6 on the New York Times best sellers list next week in the hardback advice and miscellaneous category.


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