Craig James 2, Schools In Texas 0
Mike Leach. Here's a guy who reminded us that the state of Texas is not just limited to mentioning Texas and Texas A&M. He took Texas Tech from obscurity to being labeled the Little School That Almost last year, rising as far as #2 in the polls last year before OU out Texas Tech'd them. Apparently, as a testament to how pussified the world around us is getting, Mike Leach was suspended for his treatment of Adam James. Who's Adam James? Big play wideout filling in for the absence of Michael Crabtree? No. Perhaps a slot guy who was...no, no, NO. Let me put it this way...the most famous part about this guy, is his daddy. Craig James, ya may have heard of him? Part of the famous "Pony Express" during SMU's glory days in the early 80s, the last time that school was relevant before hit with the dreaded "Death Sentence" by the No Crap Athletic Association. Now mind you, this has been a banner year for headhunting coaches who take "tough love" just a little too far. Mark Mangino was given Das Boot in KU for being overly hard on his players, but since KU's breakout season two seasons ago...they've done nothing since.
Mike Leach was to college football what Mike Martz's system was to the NFL in the early half of this decade for the Rams. 8 times since he took the helm, a Red Raider QB has led the nation in passing. EIGHT OUT OF TEN. There's no question that he was effective at implementing his system and getting players who could fit his system (coughs Rich Rodriguez coughs). Meanwhile in places like Ann Arbor, men like Rich Rod are still struggling to implement their system. Hell, maybe Michigan might want to look into hiring Leach. So now, the Alamo Bowl has all but turned into the Bad Boy Bowl. Michigan State's got suspended players, Texas Tech has a fired coach. Now, apparently Mike Leach kept Adam James in a dark place under watch while recouping from a concussion. Mind you, this is the same NCAA that had Woody Hayes punching out folk on the sideline DURING GAMES...Leach keeps some kid in a closet for safekeeping and it's an issue? Okay, playing Coward's Advocate here for a minute (NCAA/TT's side), it's a little out there in terms of treating an injured player. But what doesn't help is when said player's daddy just so happens to work for the Four Letter Network. A network that just so happens to be covering Tech's bowl games and could potentially leave Texas Tech in the dark so to speak for many years to come. (Maybe he doesn't have that kind of power up in Bristol, but maybe he does with Tech.) So Adam cries, cuts a video on his phone and faster than you can fry up some good ole Texas BBQ, Leach's been wished well in his future endeavors while trying to appeal the suspension that would've kept him from coaching this weekend against Michigan State.
Lou Holtz put it best, there are no winners here. Mike Leach graduated players, won football games at a school that was thought of as an afterthought in the OU/Texas Division of the Big XII. Tell me Tech, name one other coach in school history that got you the type of national attention that Mike Leach has done in his time there. Oh and perhaps at the moment, you feel justified in acting on the whims of a pissed off player and pandering to his daddy who didn't even have enough balls to play for your school (opted for Slush Money University instead)...but what if you're wrong? What if all comes forward and Mike Leach wasn't the horrible SOB you and Craig James have made him out to be? Conversely, as I type this I listen to Craig's bit, I find myself wondering what Steve Levy asked and Craig obviously didn't answer.
"If Adam's father was named Bob or Bill and wasn't a former NFL player turned national broadcaster, would this have ended differently?"
Craig obviously, couldn't err, wouldn't answer that but I will.
YES, it would've ended differently. It would've been looked into and eventually, the story would've lost its sizzle. Adam would've either transferred or been swept under the bench, the beat would've continued on with Leach as head coach. Adam plays in an offense where, if you've got a pulse and a lick of ability, you're gold. The ball's gonna be thrown your way, all you have to do is catch it and go. Anybody ever heard of this kid before now? Seen his name pop up in a box score? No? Bueller? Now maybe Craig's not a national broadcaster at home, but what you do from 9-5 most definitely makes it possible for your kids to live greater than most. What you do from 9-5 definitely had pull on the spinally deficient decision makers who caved to the four letters who employ you in a rather expeditious fashion, so please. Spare us this whole routine that you didn't want it to come to this. Adam, spare us with this video you shot that just pops up AFTER Leach has been handed his pink slip. You fired a man who had no previous incidents on his docket, clearly showing no matter what you say in weeks to follow, that this wasn't just cause Daddy James works for the Four Letter Network. (When we all know that's exactly the reason to begin with.) Oh, speaking of said network...
You've shown your ignorance when you rode the Cavalier bandwagon straight into Magic City last May, where it inevitably crashed and burned horribly. Your analysts continue to pander to this wet dream of LeBron getting Cleveland to the NBA Finals, yet you showed unmitigated bias here as you protect Craig James, his rugrat and the decision that I think will inevitably show Texas Tech was wrong in this. But don't take my word for it, here's the link to a Dallas news story that shows emails on how Texas Tech admin really felt about Mike Leach...
So ultimately, with Leach's untimely and perhaps unjustified firing, we get the fall of that other Texas school we really came to enjoy watching. Because really, if you're a college coach, would YOU want this job? Would you want to coach a team that has the son of a broadcaster that is credited for helping hand SMU a 'Death Sentence' it only JUST NOW shook free from and helped lead to Leach being given the 'Bootstrap Bill Treatment'? (Thrown over the side with a cannon tied to his bootstraps, in case folks aren't up on the Pirates Of The Carribean shit.) My respect for ESPN before this wasn't anything close to the ESPNis sentiment that exists here but now...I'm there. Other than Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption, this network is dead to me.
FU ESPN. To any school out there that needs a turnaround, hire Mike Leach I say. With no spoiled brats around to hinder his ability to do his job, your school will reap the rewards. Just ask Texas Tech.