This week, we look at the looming question at hand. Feel free to answer in the comments.
What happens on February 18, 2009?
Nothing happens. No new contract, no more negotiations, no firing, no new coach. Leach still has a contract that is valid for the next 2 years. He will coach in 2009. If this was boxing, the 17th is the bell between rounds. Both parties will go back to their corners, and in a little while the bell to start the next round will ring. Maybe something happens over the summer, but I have a feeling it will be sometime next season when a coach at a major program ends up on the hot seat. Or Bobby Bowden announces his retirement. Leach's name will get thrown into the hat, and Tech will have to decide whether to scramble and try to get a new contract signed or let Leach sail off into the sunset.
I am confident that if an agreement isn't reached by the deadline, the offer(s) will be rescinded and Leach will continue as the coach in 2009. Tech won't fire the guy now because it would cost us a decent chunk of change to pay him out, then go pay for a new guy. Leach won't quit because he lives for coaching and won't want to sit out the 2009 season (I don't think we'd ever see him in the NFL...his offense is too risky for that. Spreads, yes, but not the way he sets the offense). Since there are no current D-I openings, he'll be preparing for a run in the fall with this team.
What I think happens later in the spring or summer is that the sides again sit down - but without the glare of the media and rampant blog and chat room speculation and arguments. They'll have had time to cool off, get a bit of separation from the contentiousness of the last few months and have a better perspective of where things stand. With hindsight and history as their guide, they will come to an agreement Tech and Leach will both be happy with and that will be that. We'll get a press release announcing the signing and the details after the fact.
I don't think this is a relationship headed for divorce. They may need a little couple's counseling, like many marriages, but in the end it will work out in a manner that keeps Raider Nation from imploding on itself.
The one thing that's bothered me is something that one of Leach's agents, O'Hagan mentioned early in the process, which was that really this contract needed to be a 7-year contract because with the current 5-year deal, we are going to be in this same place next year.
Although O'Hagan mentioned it, it seems to be something that neither party has pushed, which indicates to me that neither party really wants a deal done and no one wants a commitment for that length of time. This has been a wild ride and as someone that writes about it as much as I do, I hope some decision is made either today or tomorrow.
In the meantime, enjoy some Dwight Yoakam sing Swingin Doors on Art Fein's Poker Party, and yes, the camera work is exceptional, but the singing is extroidnary.: