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Mike Leach Says Texas Tech 'Cheated' Him Out of $2.6M with 2009 Firing

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 27, 2021

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach looks downfield at his players during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Tennessee State, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State won 55-10. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach said that his former employer, Texas Tech, "cheated" him out of $2.6 million after firing him in 2009.

"Forever," Leach said when asked how long he planned to fight Texas Tech in court over the money, per Andy Kostka of the Clarion-Ledger.

"Why not? I mean, what do I got to lose? I don't have anything to lose. I mean, they cheated me out of $2.6 million, plus four years remaining on my contract."

The comments occurred during a sitdown with the media prior to the upcoming Liberty Bowl, which pits the Bulldogs against the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech fired Leach over his alleged treatment of former Texas Tech wide receiver Adam James in 2009. Kostka provided more context.

"The scandal began in December 2009, when James accused Leach and his staff of locking him in a darkened room after he suffered a concussion. Craig James, Adam James' father and at the time an ESPN commentator, approached Texas Tech about his son's treatment.
"James wanted Leach fired. Texas Tech President Guy Bailey asked Leach to write a letter of apology to James and his family, but after Leach refused, Bailey suspended him on Dec. 28, 2009. That prompted Leach to file a temporary restraining order against Texas Tech, hoping to still coach the bowl game.
"Instead, according to court records, Bailey said he and athletics director Gerald Myers decided 'the relationship was probably broken.' They fired Leach for cause on Dec. 30, 2009."

Leach claimed there wasn't an investigation into how the team treated James and added that Texas Tech illegally hid public records from the former Red Raiders coach and his legal team.

He's been fighting Texas Tech in court for 12 years, calling into question the for-cause firing. The Texas Supreme Court notably rejected an appeal in 2012 after Leach sued Texas Tech for wrongful termination.

"I think settling for $2.6 (million) is very generous on my part, and the hiding of documents becomes even more disgusting because that shows a level of corruption," Leach said Monday. "I wouldn't even rule out some criminal prosecution on the thing. We'll see how it unfolds."

Trey Mongrue of WLBT provided some video of some of Leach's comments, which include remarks that he's been willing to "settle this thing for a long time."

Trey Mongrue @TreyMongrue

"Been willing to settle for a long time"<br><br>Mike Leach has been in the middle of a wrongful termination legal battle with Texas Tech for a decade now<br><br>I asked him if that is draining on him, he said it is... among other things, firing all salvos at TTU leadership.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HailState?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HailState</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WLBT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WLBT</a> <a href="https://t.co/yEd45g3WSz">pic.twitter.com/yEd45g3WSz</a>

Leach moved on to Washington State, coaching there from 2012 to 2019 before landing at Mississippi State in 2020.

This year's Bulldogs team went 7-5 in the regular season. Their Liberty Bowl appearance will go down at 6:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis against the 6-6 Red Raiders.