Mike Leach Watch:
As mentioned last night by jwhitettu, NewsChannel 11 obtained documents that show as of April 2008, Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers seemed okay with losing Mike Leach as the head coach. Here's the pertinent part of the story:
Leach's agent tried to start negotiations in the spring. But in an April 29th, 2008 e-mail, at 4 p.m., Myers wrote back to the agent saying that the athletic department's financial condition would not allow Leach to make more money. Myers writes, "We have reached the limits of what we can pay our coach and still maintain the rest of the department."
Myers complimented Leach as a fine coach and said it was perfectly logical for Leach to seek more money. And then, "If better opportunities occur for him somewhere else we will fully understand."
Separately, NewsChannel 11 has obtained a July 2008 letter from the agent to Chancellor Kent Hance. They are asking Hance to overrule Myers and come up with a better deal. Recent public statements by Hance and Myers both seem to indicate the university is now willing to come up with a contract extension and higher salary.
As to the first part, that's accurate, Myers has alwasy maintained that the school is at its limit in paying Leach. As far as Myers' comments about Leach finding greener pastures if need be, I'm okay with that and probably would have said the exact same thing. Myers knows that he can't afford to give Leach the moon and as much as Myers may want to keep Leach around, he owes a greater responsibility to Texas Tech University and ensuring that the athletic department remain fiscially sound.
The part about O'Hagan making contact with Hance all makes sense now.
It appears that the biggest disconnect is between Myers and O'Hagan. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why Myers wasn't contacting Leach and/or his agent. Well, I think I understand why he wasn't contacting Leach's agent and why there were reports yesterday that an offer was sitting on Leach's desk yesterday morning.
I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Myers does not particularly like O'Hagan and he especially doesn't like that O'Hagan went above Myers to try and milk some more money out of the university. That would probably tick me off as well.
There is a serious disconnect between Myers, Leach and O'Hagan.
"I called his agents yesterday, and they called back this morning," he confirmed to RedRaiderSports.com earlier this evening. "I’ll be talking to them tomorrow and then we’ll start the process of putting our ideas on the terms of the contract. They have their ideas and we have ours. That’s where we are.
"They’ve wanted to settle and we’ve wanted to settle. So I don’t think it’ll take this long."
Hell or high water, we should know where everyone stands after today. In my opinion, either a deal is struck, or Leach is on his way to those greener pastures.
"I think it has to do more with him wanting a new challenge," Harrell said.
"There’s a great chance" he’d leave, Harrell said. "But if he stays he’s going to continue to be successful here, and I’d love to see that."
"Maybe he goes to a program where he’ll be at the top of the conference, where he’s not having to battle to build up a reputation of a team, where he can take a team that has a good reputation and it’ll be easier for him to play in BCS games, maybe win a national championship," Harrell said.
Harrell probably knows Leach better than any other player and this bothers me to no end on a bunch of different levels. First, this emphasizes the idea that there must be a strong disconnect between Leach and his agent and the administration. I think that "new challenge" is a code word for "anywhere but here". Second, the part about going to a place where it's easier, I don't know that I'd buy that. It's not going to be easy at any school where they just canned their head coach.
LAJ's Don Williams editorializes on quite a challenge for the new university President, Guy Bailey, but at the end of the story is this note (emphasis mine):
Athletic director Gerald Myers acknowledged Wednesday learning that Leach didn’t want to talk to him in the negotiations. But Myers visited with Matt Baldwin, one of Leach’s representatives, on Thursday, according to Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, while Hance began on Wednesday afternoon trying to reopen lines of communication with Leach.
"I just told him,’’ Hance said, "that we really wanted him, that we wanted him to stay here, that people love him here, he’s doing a great job and that we want to work something out.’’
Again, major disconnect.
I don't know if this is an ego-issue between Myers and Leach, but do not understand how this is going to last for 5 years. If Leach signs at Texas Tech, I am guessing that there will be a buy-out provision, something that Leach does not currently have (I think), which makes him a candidate for every decent coaching position going forward. If a buy-out provision is agreed to, then Leach is essentially forced to work with Myers for the forseeable future.
These next few days, are going to be interesting.