But Holgorsen's football acumen caught Leach's attention.
"He's really smart," Leach said. "Played the game from the neck up. We did a lot of different things because of his ability to adopt.
"Very calm under pressure. That's important to me, especially of a guy up top (in the pressbox). You gotta be calm under pressure. He was always very strong at that."
Leach visited Stillwater in the spring and came away impressed.
"What's exciting for him is Kendall Hunter and the receivers," Leach said. "They're big and fast. They're bigger than the ones we had at Tech. Probably faster."
Leach's first Tech offense, in 2000, was his worst. Holgorsen's first OSU offense is far ahead of those 2000 Red Raiders.
"It takes a little time," Leach said. "Tech was in the middle of probation when we got there.
"Oklahoma State's got a little better starting point; they've gone to a bunch of bowls. They've done some things over the years.
"The skill players at Oklahoma State are respected around the conference."
Leach's players weren't so much respected as feared. But now the pirate is calling games — North Carolina State at East Carolina on Saturday — instead of plays.
That won't last forever. Get this lawsuit behind him, and Leach plans to coach again.
"I figure I will," Leach said. "I enjoy what I'm doing now. It's fun. It's different. But by the same token, I'm ready to get back in."
Most everyone in college football who doesn't have to play Leach is ready for his return.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.