Come Saturday night, Mike Leach will have coached as many games at Owen Field wearing Texas Tech red and black as Oklahoma crimson and cream. Count them. Leach has been gone nine years from Soonerville. This is his fifth Tech team to play at Owen Field; OU had five home games in 1999, the year Leach coordinated the Sooner offense. The year Leach changed Oklahoma football history. The week of the biggest OU-Tech game ever — the week of the biggest Anybody-Tech game ever — seems like a good time to pinpoint Leach’s Sooner legacy. It’s stout. Stout enough to be mentioned along with Jim Tatum and Jim Mackenzie, other one-year wonders whose footprints still can be found today. Leach sat on the OU payroll just 360 days. But in that momentous year, Leach mimicked what head coaches Tatum and Mackenzie did. Changed a culture and brought in a program-changing face. In 1946, Tatum upgraded OU’s talent and expectations with the influx of a war-veteran recruiting class that immediately made the Sooners nationally competitive. Tatum also brought along an assistant coach. Bud Wilkinson. In 1966, after almost 20 years of a Wilkinson/Gomer Jones administration, Mackenzie ushered in the era of a bright, brash, young staff. Among Mackenzie’s protÃ©gÃ©s: Barry Switzer. And in December 1998, Leach arrived to run Bob Stoops’ offense, and since no quarterback on campus had pedigree, Leach found his own. Which he did: Josh Heupel. OU no longer runs Leach’s offense. But Leach’s general philosophy — spread formation, throw as often as you want — has fermented in Norman, where the run game ruled for almost a century. Stoops freely handed Leach the reins. Stoops hired no Leach lieutenants, but "I was really emphatic that anyone we hired offensively, they understood, this is what we’re doing,” Stoops said. "I’m not looking for a conglomeration of ideas. We’re not going to mush everything together.” Leach’s other lasting impact came in quarterbacks. He lured Heupel, Nate Hybl and Jason White all in that first recruiting class. The days were over of a Sooner void at football’s most important position. That quarterback class allowed the Sooners to sign other passers of repute. I asked Brent Clark, an OU football historian and author, about the one-year impact coaches. Clark basically concurred but went into detail about Leach. "Leach’s short association with the University of Oklahoma unwittingly established a legacy, if for no other reason than bringing in Josh Heupel,” Clark said. Heupel is no small figure in Sooner lore himself. Not just as a player, but now as the quarterback coach for young Sam Bradford, who might trump even his mentor with a Heisman Trophy. Heupel ranks with Jack Mildren as the most important players in OU history. Stoops would have been successful without Leach and Heupel, but perhaps not as successful and most definitely not as quickly. Leach was the one and only reason Heupel came to OU. The left-handed juco quarterback with a quick mind and a keen eye, if not a rocket arm, wanted to go where passing was valued. Leach spotted the intangibles that are easy to miss. Coaches who just pass through rarely leave such a wake. Mack Brown was at OU for a year, in 1984, and is remembered fondly. Howard Schnellenberger was at OU for a year, in 1995, and is cursed. Their imprints were negligible. But some coaches can have such a profound impact, they never are forgotten. Jim Tatum and Jim Mackenzie are on that list in Norman. They are joined by Mike Leach. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.