After a handful of emails to Chancellor Hance over the past year expressing my angst over the Leach termination, I received an email from one of his staff people asking for my phone number so the Chancellor could call. I have to admit to having an, "oh sh*t" moment.
The main points in my emails/phone call were:
1. Unite the divided alumni base with your messages. Make statements like, "this was an unfortunate situation for everyone, we all wish it would have ended differently, we are grateful to Coach Leach for what he brought to the university..." blah, blah, blah... Public statements like, "Texas Tech was right" are not helpful.
2. Publicly thank Coach Leach for his contributions during his tenure - do so in an alumni newsletter, hold townhall meetings at alumni chapters across the state (not just on the Leach matter but on all issues important to Tech, @Pier 1@, etc.)
3. It is your job as Chancellor to restore integrity and honor to the university, and to lead the divided fan base back together, personal feelings must be put aside. If Tech wins the legal battle, do so graciously.
Well, it turned out that the Chancellor's staffer called me back because the Chancellor was already busy and wanted someone to respond to me "right away". I'll admit that at the beginning of the call I thought I was being fed a bunch of BS. But I ended up talking ot the guy for almost an hour and we had a good talk. Have to give him credit for being patient.
Didn't intend to rehash the whole Leach termination, just to talk about how to go from here, but when he asked me why I disagreed with how the admin handled the situation I told him and he defended their position. He didn't change my mind, but I appreciated his time and willingness to discuss the situation. Here are the highlights:
1. The admin had to act with urgency (timing wise, couldn't wait until after the bowl game) bc Leach admitted to making Adam stand in the dark shed for two hours. According to Drs. this could have been harmful if Adam became disoriented and fell down. I argued if this was so potentially harmful, then why didn't any of the trainers or other coaches intervene on behalf of Adam? He said it was bc Leach ran the kind of operation where you didn't disagree with him. I told him that when you are talking about the health and well-being of a young
lady man, that wasn't a good enough answer. He brought up the famous Leach quote with the p word and the d word. What was really funny is that he spelled the words out over the phone. I interrupted him to tell him I could spell so I knew what he was saying. :-)
2. It was also an urgent issue from a liability standpoint for the university. They had to take action quickly on a serious medical issue, thus the immediate suspension. And of course, as we've heard many times, had Leach merely signed that piece of paper, they would have put it in his file, and it would not have been public.
3. The biggest problem with Leach's response is that he didn't think he did anything wrong with putting a player with a concussion in a dark shed to stand for two hours. Had he said something like, "the player is a punk and I wanted him away from the team", as opposed to, "I was concerned about bright light and his concussion so I put him there out of concern for him" or something to that affect it might have played out differently.
4. Apparently Leach could have cut James.
5. Apparently Leach turned over the famous Sowell emails to the DMN at the time of his contract negotiations (his agent was blind copied on them) so it was not a surprise to him as he stated that folks were "conspiring behind his back".
6. Bc Leach violated his contract he was not due his completion bonus. When I stated that was disingenuous at best for Tech not to pay him his bonus regardless&had Tech paid him we could have avoided this, he said that Leach made it clear he would be suing no matter what to clear his name. He also brought up Leach saying eff you to your boss', boss' boss several time. Clearly that one really stung.
7. I brought up the email between Merrie Spaeth and the Tech communications department & said that was a big concern. He said they would have shared (& did I think) the same information with Ted Liggett. I argued that was not the same as Ted is Mike's attorney and Merrie is head of a PR firm whose sole purpose is to spin stories in the media. He came back with saying Ted does both for Mike, but I pushed back on that one. Also said that in the email it was not a simple information request but a discussion of which information was most helpful to release and when if I recall correctly. He replied that people can give opinions to them but that doesn't mean they follow the adivice they receive.
8. We discussed the Sowell emails and some of the BOR emails. He said again, just because someone gives advice doesn't mean they take it. Of course he said there was no conspiracy against Mike. I said having read all of the depositions I believed it was clear there were folks who did have it in for him.
9. He said Mike had the opportunity to leave without all the acrimony/scandal. Don't know the details but I did find that interesting. Leach has said all along that he had offered to discuss an exit strategy with Tech during this time and that they weren't receptive.
10. What I just realized while typing this all out is that never once in this conversation did the names Gerald Myers, Guy Bailey or Craig James come up. Interesting.
11. The only part of my opinion that is changed after this phone call is that Leach's ego and no one can tell me what to do attitude is probably bigger than I thought and probably played a bigger role than I thought. But I am not convinced, and don't believe I ever will be, that the admin has clean hands.
12. I did give him a couple of examples of where the Chancellor has been publicly glib in his remarks and how harmful I think that is...he did not disagree, just listened and said he would pass it along. I said that as the Chancellor the university I don't believe he is entitled to express personal views in the media, only views that are for the best of the university. He did appreciate that I offered some suggestions (townhall meetings, universally supportive public statements) and he would suggest those to the Chancellor. For whatever that is worth...
I thanked him for his time and patience and suggested that season tickets on the 50 yard line might go a long way to easing my pain. ;-)
BTW, the guy who called me knows Seth, but he said he doesn't get onto DTN. I don't think they realize how many people out there are still unhappy with them. End of story.