The Saga of Mike Leach :: We Pick Up the Pieces

Happy New Year

It may not feel like a Happy New Year, but at the very least, I hope everyone is safe and healthy as the new year arrived last night.  I went to dinner with friends and as you would imagine the main topic of discussion was Leach.  I'm still trying to figure out when is the right time to let things go.  It's not now, but it's something that's on my mind.

In any event, if I've learned anything over the past week, it's that you are a part of my family.  Sure, we let some f-bombs and s-bombs fly over the course of the past three days, but what's happened here is that this is an incredibly diverse, intelligent and passionate fanbase make their voices known and I'm incredibly proud of that.

Continue to Support

I'm not real sure how to say this, but I'll just come out and say that for Double-T Nation, it's been an amazing few days, which I think there's been a pretty fair assessment of how this entire situation has unraveled.  On Tuesday, DTN had close to 25,000 visitors in just that day.  I received over 200 emails (and continue to receive them) voicing the concern about how the administration has handled this entire situation.

I made it clear yesterday that I'll continue to follow the football program no matter what happens, however, I realize that I'm in a pretty unique situation.  DTN started out as my hobby and until someone wants to pay me a large sum of money to do this on a full-time basis, it will continue to be a hobby.  DTN is my passion in life, although my wife pokes fun of me because I "blog" for fun, but this is who I am.  Perhaps this is an unwarranted concern on my part is that without you guys and gals caring about Texas Tech football, you no longer be passionate about DTN.  I know, I'm probably overreacting about this entire situation, but it's easy to become apathetic.

The problem with all of this is that you are part of the machine. 

There's no doubt that this machine failed at the very top of this entire process, but you are a cog in that machine whether you like it or not.  Should you decide, which I would completely respect your decision, to no longer support this university and this program then this machine, which was gaining a head of steam, will simply drop dead in its tracks. 

I do not want to imagine a day where I have to be sarcastic, quirky and witty about an awful football team. 

The Players

There may be a disconnect between the player who actually play for the team that we love and it's fans.  Despite everything that's gone on, I hope everyone realizes that the players are merely cogs in this machine too.  Some of the players have openly discussed how they feel about Leach, some of them disapproving of Leach's coaching style.  Again, whether you like it or not, these players are entitled to their opinions.  Not only that, I would never expect that each and every player have an absolutely glowing review of Leach.  It's just not realistic to think that when you have a group of 85 players that each and everyone one of them would think the same way. 

The players and the fans are the victims in this entire situation.  They have been dragged into this situation whether they like it or not.  And no matter what has happened this week, they actually have a game to play tomorrow.  They haven't done anything to deserve your displeasure.  Again, I understand everyone's right to express your opinion about the dissatisfaction about how this administration has handled this entire ordeal, but I can't give up on this team or this group of players.  I'm sure that makes me a walking contradiction, but I'd be willing to bet that a lot of us have a ton of mixed feelings about this situation.

For those of you who do not know, DTN user dbled53 is the father of Texas Tech DE Daniel Howard, Duane Howard.  dbled53 posted this comment (you may have missed it, because it was posted relatively late) and it's stuck with me this entire time.  When we consider what the James family and the administration has done, it's not only affected you as fans, but it's affected those who are actually a part of the program:

This all could have waited til after the season, but he chose to crap all over my son’s final game At Texas Tech, I feel for you and your son Craig but don’t expect an apology from me either, and if I see you I will tell you so. That’s the way my DAD raised me and he never once talked to any of my coaches about how I was treated. He told me to fade my own heat and you’ll be a better man. Mike Leach is a good man, it shows in the graduation rate and in his coaching record, and when I talk to Coach Leach he talks to me like a man because he is a man. When he makes a mistake he will hone up to it, not go off whimpering to the media, NCAA, or the Ad[m]inistration. He isn’t perfect, but he can [c}oach my son anytime, anywhere. Sometimes you need to turn the other cheek, it says so in the greatest book ever written.

The James family may have crapped on these seniors final game, but I hope that you don't do that too.

Last night, interim head coach Ruffin McNeill asked that we as fans of this team come together:

"We’ve got to unite our fan base, because I know it’s torn right now,’’ the interim head coach said an hour later. "I know that. I just said, ‘Hey, let’s get it rockin’. I looked at our kids in the boats and they were eyeballing me, and have been all week. I saw the fans that came out to support the group. I didn’t want to be a guy who’s scared or afraid to show his emotions.’’

Leach Speaks

Last night Mike Leach spoke on ESPN (video and transcript) and he didn't mince his words and remained steadfast to what his attorney has been saying all along.  Leach said of Craig's meddling:

"When you call coaches, you call me, call his position coaches, both of them, you call other administrators on campus or you come to practices and want to have constant discussions on your son and their playing time. Craig James required more time than all of the other parents combined."

And he didn't hold back on Adam either:

"I think he's lazy. I think that there's a sense of entitlement and really this isn't an independent thought on my part. It's pretty well documented in a number of statements by teammates and both of his position coaches. I can assure you that everybody in our program wants to win badly enough that it's far, far, far too important to all of them to play the best one instead of: A.) show preferential treatment or B.) deliberately cheat somebody that's got a father looking over our shoulder all the time, but also has a lot of money and influence and a big microphone."

I've given this a lot of thought, and just like you, I'm pretty ticked off at the entire James family, but I believe in karma.  What goes around, comes around.  I'm not going to waste my time hating them or thinking about them much longer.

The Emails

The emails are damning, and legal experts seem to think that this will only help Leach's cause.  I tend to agree.  I'm not a civil trial attorney, but these emails at the very least display a disdain for the coach and that there were a number of folks who never wanted Leach to coach another game after 2008.  Jim Sowell has burned plenty of bridges because of his statements and I'll be very interested to see whether or not he continues to remain on the Board of Regents. 

However, I think we all knew that these emails were being written, whether we have actually seen them or not.  I've always maintained that Gerald Myers didn't act alone and these emails add credence to that.  And don't think for a second that we've seen the last of the emails that reflect poorly on Leach.  Those haven't even started yet.  We all ignored this situation because we thought we were going to have a head coach for the foreseeable future.  I talked about how this administration and the former head coach lacked communication and these emails are nothing more than a reflection of how some folks in the university and Leach felt.

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