Let's concede that the Texas Tech Administration is filled with intelligent, accomplished men and women. All love Texas Tech and have given years of their lives to the university. However, the three major players in this situation (Hance, Myers, Bailey) let personal feelings and personality conflicts cloud their judgment in how they dealt with Coach Leach. They broke Rule #1 in Competent Leadership: Never let raw emotion lead to a hasty decision. Instead of a pragmatic, cool-headed approach, they made the decision to suspend and fire the most successful coach in program history in less than a 48 hour span. After a complete and thorough investigation the end result might have been the same, but we will never know for sure because Hance decided to fire Leach out of spite.
We all know about the leaked emails during the contract negotiations last year but here are a few things that have caught my eye over the past few weeks that convinced me that 1) they really wanted Leach gone and 2) they haven't tried to hide it.
First, according to Buck Harvey in the SAEN, Leach has had a target on his back since 2001. (emphasis mine)
This is how Leach's life has been in Lubbock. Texas Tech once hired a former FBI agent to investigate him, and last winter's contract negotiation was public and personal.
Leach knows how personal these things can get, because he's never gotten along with his athletic director, Gerald Myers. This goes back to 2001. Then, Tech looked into rumors about Leach's off-field activities to separate fact from fiction.
The investigation cleared Leach, but a year later, something was still going on. Then, Myers treated Leach the way Leach treats his players. He stopped Leach's outgoing mail in a dispute over postage stamps.
Leach's contract impasse last winter was a further sign of friction. Instead of quietly negotiating, Tech went public.
So when Adam James' father complained, Tech couldn't investigate this in private. Tech couldn't wait until after the bowl. There had to be a suspension before all the facts were in.
There was also the famous "parking spot gate" incident where Leach's parking spot was given to Coach Knight. Who could blame Leach for looking around if your employer was obviously out to get you? What else went on that didn't make it to the press? I wonder how uncomfortable those chance encounters in the company cafeteria were. I'd have my resume on Monster.com pronto.
Here is the link to the entire article. (There are also some interesting comments about how Bobby Knight was treated). Rule #2 in Competent Leadership: Always treat your employees equally.
OK, so we know about the James incident and the suspension. Maybe the administration acted too quickly or perhaps they did the right thing. (I continue to disagree with the timing). But, what I find most interesting is that Hance fired Leach because he filed the injunction. This might not have boiled over if Leach didn't fight to coach his team in the Alamo Bowl. Instead, in a fit of rage, Hance decided to prove it to this Pepperdine lawyer that he was the boss. He says so right here:
Jeff Klotzman: When was the decision actually made to terminate?
Hance: That would have been after he sued us. Growing up in Dimmitt we always knew that if you sued your boss he's probably gonna be your ex-boss.
Here is the link to the entire interview (above comments at the 4:19 mark). There are obviously differing views here, but I contend that Leach stood his ground and really wanted to coach his team in San Antonio. I guess that is grounds for termination.
So Myers can't stand Leach. I think Hance liked him for a while but his pride got the best of him and he decided to play hardball. We haven't heard much from Bailey, except for this quote in the LAJ: (emphasis mine)
“We want their voice heard,” Bailey said of Tech players. “Our team handled this situation in a phenomenal way. They did a lot better than any of the rest of us did. We’re real proud of them. We have a lot of great leaders there. We wanted to make sure their voice was heard.”
And then there is the argument that they have more dirt on Leach. If so, where is it? Hance was supposed to make a statement last Friday. They were supposed to release information about an incident after the OSU game on Monday. Where is it? The longer they wait, the more incompetent they look. Rule #4 in Competent Leadership: CYA!
Which brings us to Rule #5 in Competent Leadership: Don't show your cards too quickly. Compare this quote about the meeting with Ruff:
“First of all, I think he is a terrific guy,” Bailey said. “I love him, and I think he is a great coach. I think a lot of the success that has come to this program the last two or three years is because of what he did as defensive coordinator. The big difference in last year and this year and earlier years is really the defense, and Ruffin is really responsible for that.
“He is a guy that is fully committed to the program and the student-athlete, and he’s a student/family focused guy, and we think he’s terrific. He did a great job, he’s a phenomenal man, and I have the utmost respect for him.”
with this quote about Tuberville's visit:
"His visit was a little different,’’ Myers said. "We showed him the facilities, which, of course, Ruffin is familiar with all that. We just told (Tuberville) that we weren’t ready to make a decision just yet, and so we’d let him know.’’
After the events of today I think it's necessary to add Rule #6: Never let your subordinate (or potential subordinate) beat you. Art played Gerald like a fiddle tonight and now our beloved administration looks even more clueless. They are scrambling around and stammering about "expanding the search". What? You have wanted Ruff all along. Maybe you got enamored with the thought of Briles at the last second and threw everything you had at him. Just like you threw everything you had at Mike Leach 8 days ago. Guess what? It didn't work either time.
This is a major university and a top 15 football program. We need a plan. We need some foresight. The fanbase, alumni, and student body deserve better than this.
This administration may have the highest IQ's on record. When written, their list of accomplishments might fill libraries. Their love for the university might dwarf all of ours combined. But they have handled this situation in an incompetent fashion, and continue to do so. There is something terribly wrong in RedRaider Nation. And we deserve better.