Mike Leach, the James Gang, ESPN, and the Fall of Texas Tech Football

Larry SnarkvilleAnalyst IDecember 31, 2009

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 22:  Quarterback Graham Harrell #6 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the sidelines during play against the Oklahoma Sooners in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sitting with a teaching colleague tonight watching Nebraska take Arizona out back to the proverbial woodshed (gosh, there's a lot of mischief going on in that woodshed!), got us talking about the latest college football coach to make headlines.

My colleague, who happens to be the P.E. teacher where we teach, is also a high school football coach.

The day before we went on our holiday break, he invited me over to watch a college football game.

"The Holiday Bowl should be a good one," we thought out loud to each other.

And so we made our plans for our big night "out," which was actually in, as in his home. Because we're both teachers with young kids, this is about as exciting as it gets.

The game was a bore.

But we talked about now former Texas Tech football coach, Mike Leach, and his firing today.

A little background......

As I stated earlier, Jerry is our middle school physical education teacher. He's also the coach of the boys' basketball team. Additionally, he coaches football at a nearby high school. Over the years, he's had his fill of "helicopter parents," the current knock on Craig James.

Now helicopter parents are all too familiar to teachers and coaches. They're the ones who are constantly at practices, all up in your face about their kid's playing time (or lack of), questioning your coaching/teaching philosophy, and just basically real good at being a pain in the ass.

Over the years, I've sort of learned how to deal with these parents. But they're always out there ready to pounce on you with a new strategy to try your patience.

Jerry and I talked at length about our playing days and wondered what it would have been like had our parents acted like this either to our teachers or coaches.

I'm forty-six and Jerry is not even thirty, so we've got a pretty decent cover on any generation gaps. And neither of us had parents who'd ever dare act this way to our respective coaches or teachers. And we were both good athletes.

As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times I've had parents ask me, "My son/daughter has told me what happened, now I'd like to know YOUR side of the story."

Jerry (and I, because I've coached too), has had parent after parent ask him the same sort of thing too.

In both of our upbrinings, we each played just about every sport you could play. Jerry played basketball, football, and baseball at the junior high, high school, and college level. I played the same sports in addtion to playing golf. As a football player at Fletcher Senior High School in Jacksonville, Florida, I was good enough to earn All-City honors in my senior year.

And to a man, the thought of our parents ever even questioning a coach or teacher was simply unheard of.

In our childhoods, there was no "our side of the story." What the teacher or coach said or told us to do was the law.


If a teacher or coach ever called our parents because of an "issue," it was over for us.

And it's not like Jerry or I grew up with abusive parents in "the good old days." That's just the way things were. We were hungry.

Many of the students and players we teach and coach today have similar attitudes to those we grew up with. That's a good thing. Those are the silent one's who we need to hold up more as examples of unselfish play and sportsmanship.

Unfortunately, however, there are too many whiners in the classroom and playing fields that selfishly ruin things for others. 

And the bottom line behind the whining has to do with their lack of two qualites:

1. Ability and or 2. Desire.

It's maddening but true.

Back to the game.....

Now neither of us knows any more than what has been reported, nor what's been said, nor what's been speculated about.

But we both made the observation that one of the "players" in the whole deal is current ESPN analyst Craig James, who happened to be in the broadcast booth during tonight's Holiday Bowl.

Apparently the straw that broke Leach's back had to do with the coach's treatment (or mistreatment) of James' son, Adam, who plays for Texas Tech.

We noted that James looked like he would have liked to be any where else in the world than the broadcast booth of tonight's Holiday Bowl.

And we thought how funny it would have been had either Chris Fowler and or Jesse Palmer (both also broadcasting the game with James) made repeated references to the Leach situation and James' and his son's involvement.

"Gee, Craig. What do think about what's going on with your son's former head coach? How does it feel to be responsible for incurring the wrath of Lubbock, Texas? Any comment about what it's like to take an entire football program down because of your son's lack of playing time?"

It was almost comical to watch.

The normally verbose James, seemed a bit more reserved.

How in the world, after what just transpired with regard to Leach and his son, does he not bail out of doing this game?

And why in the heck didn't ESPN give him the night off?

You can't make this stuff up.

Or can you?


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