Mike Leach's Firing Is the Greatest Mistake of Texas Tech's History

James WilliamsonSenior Writer IDecember 31, 2009

After 10 years of being the head coach of the Texas Tech Raiders, Mike Leach has just been fired.

He was fired because of a situation with wide receiver Adam James, who had suffered a concussion, and the official reason is that Leach violated medical procedure by having James confined indoors.

Some reports say it was a dark electrical closet; others describe it as a place that has workout machines, video games, and soda.

Whatever it is, Texas Tech has cited this situation as grounds for firing the controversial Mike Leach.

This is the worst decision made by a football team this decade without question.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it; this is going to be remembered as the greatest mistake Texas Tech has ever made in sports history. There is no debate about it.

Firing Mike Leach is worse than biting the hand that feeds you. Mike Leach spent hours in a kitchen preparing a football program to be proud of, and Texas Tech amputated his hand in return while spitting in his dishes.

Living in Texas, I know firsthand how much of a difference Mike Leach has made to this football team.

When I was very little, the shirts I saw were orange and maroon. By the time I entered high school, I could have made a pie chart of my several hundred friends/fellow students and 10 percent would have been other schools with the remaining 90 percent divided nearly equally between Texas A&M, University of Texas, and Texas Tech.

Mike Leach made Texas Tech a team to be reckoned with. He changed the culture of that school. He muffled the yells of, "Hook 'Em Horns!" with the cheers of, "Red Raiders!"

My friends that go there are completely stunned and upset about this and rightfully so. Mike Leach made them winners two years ago, when his team upset the Longhorns on one of the greatest plays in college football history when Michael Crabtree hauled in a 28-yard touchdown catch with one second remaining to stun the Longhorns 39-33.

Mike Leach was the reason Texas Tech was able to pull off that upset.

He made the students feel good about their team and gave them a sense of relief and escape from the arduous assignments given to them by professors.

This receiver, Adam James, needs to get out of town and fast because I can guarantee you that no one will side with that punk.

And I do mean punk.

Everyone I've talked to has said that this guy is lazy. He's ESPN sports commentator Craig James' son. He's had a silver spoon in his mouth from the day he was born and whenever he cried, his mama gave him a silver binky to stifle him.

Former Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Morris said that Adam James was "[n]ever known as a hard worker” and “seemed to have a negative attitude toward the football program the majority of the time.”

He apparently whines about lack of playing time yet does not put in the work, and he is a constant sticker in Mike Leach's foot.

I want to make this perfectly clear, though. This is not a remake of Mark Mangino of Kansas. Mangino was an emotionally abusive coach who didn't criticize, but belittled his players to the point where their self-esteem would be shattered.

Mike Leach is a tough guy. He's a coach who wants his players to give the same amount of work he does, which is 150 percent. There are hundreds of coaches with his attitude, from legends like Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcells to just regular high school coaches.

If you play hard for Mike Leach, he will respect you in return, but you have got to be committed and Adam James was not committed.

Because of Leach's demands, former Texas Tech wide receiver Wes Welker is now a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Patriots.

Mike Leach made him a great receiver in college and instilled in him the discipline and work ethic needed to be the great player that he is now.

Every year Mike Leach has coached, the Raiders have gone to a bowl game. Leach's consistency at Texas Tech is great, but when you really think about where he is, your jaw drops.

He's in Lubbock, Texas! That's in northern Texas. He's got to recruit players from a region that's got two football giants as competitors in Texas and Oklahoma. Throw in Texas A&M and Oklahoma State and it is a wonder that he has any talent.

He takes what athletes he can get, and he molds them into real football players. He takes guys like Danny Amendola and Graham Harrell and turns them into stars.

Is he a little quirky? Yes!

Name me someone worth mentioning in history who wasn't strange or flawed in some way? Ben Franklin actually flew a kite in the air with a key on it to prove electricity was in lightning by shocking himself.

Winston Churchill was an alcoholic, Edgar Allen Poe was a drug addict, Angelina Jolie...well, let's not go there.

The point is that just because a man may be odd or misunderstood doesn't mean that he can't do his job right.

Is he politically correct? No!

That's why he was fired. This was just an excuse. After he started talking about the players' lack of motivation and their "fat girlfriends," this school wanted him gone.

They don't want any parents to not send their kids to school at Texas Tech because they might not approve of Mike Leach or because they may be scared of him.

It's all about image. They don't want to lose tuition, dorm rooms, book fees, food bills, and anything else that universities charge their students.

It is no coincidence that Mike Leach was fired today. If the school had kept him until tomorrow, he would be owed $800,000 in bonus money. It's all about money and they'll make more without Mike Leach there being Mike Leach.

He fit that football program like a glove. He was a Red Raider. He encouraged the use of a pirate. He made the team fit their red and black colors like Al Davis made the Oakland Raiders fit the silver and black.

Everyone has to be politically correct or lawsuits show up and Texas Tech didn't want the James family suing them.

They didn't want other allegations (most likely false ones) to spring up and smear Texas Tech's name and result in a lot of hush money or multiple lawsuits.

They'd rather hang Mike Leach out to dry like he is some article of clothing instead of a human being who made Texas Tech a fun place. My childhood friend I call D-Rob and his roommate Austin love it up there.

My close friend Abby is shocked and hopeful that Leach may come back, because to paraphrase her, "He made Texas Tech a good football school."

Unfortunately, that prayer has got a one-percent chance of coming true, if not less.

The same goes for the football program. I don't care who they hire. They could bring in Urban Meyer or Nick Saban or Steve Spurrier or any one of those great coaches with national championship rings; they cannot replace Mike Leach as a coach at Tech, and I think that this organization can only get worse.

They may be able to turn this thing around, but I doubt it. I would not be surprised if Texas Tech is blown out of its bowl game. Texas Tech has some dark days ahead. I guarantee it.

My only hope is that those dark days don't become dark years.


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