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The Genius of Captain Leach

The Bat-Signal went up (i.e. an email) from Bond J. Bond of Disco Tech! notifying me of an article by ESPN's Mark Schlabach on the genius that is Mike Leach. I called Mr. Bond, we had a tremendous conversation. Hawaii was great. But he's back hard at work and he wanted me to relay his thoughts about this article.

First and foremost, go read the whole article. It's great. And I mean that.

Second, Mr. Bond's thoughts, which I will probably relay incorrectly, but it's the thought that Schlabach probably interviewed the Captain over the course of a couple of days, watching practice and hanging out with Leach, only to realize that he didn't have one quote about how Leach felt about his football team, or the Red Raiders' chances this season, but rather, there was more talk of pirates, a mock-Van Gogh in the image of the Captain, and not working too much.

I've often danced around defending Captain Leach, in part because he hasn't quite done "it". He hasn't put together that complete season where he beats every team that fans expect Texas Tech to beat, but I'm done doing that.

I love the man. I'm not ashamed to say it, I think he's great for Texas Tech. I think he is great for Lubbock. I think he is great for Double-T Nation.

Here's the deal. I've tried to do it before, compiling recruiting ranks, numbers, statistics, blah, blah, blah and I still say that Leach has done more with less talent than any school in the country over the past 8 season with Texas Tech. And perhaps this will have to be my little summer project, detailing why I think Captain Leach has done more with less and why he's so great for Texas Tech, but for the time being, I'm going to be unabashedly in love and in favor of all things Leach.

I completely get that he can be critical of his team, players and officials and doesn't always take the blame for errors on the field. The man has his faults. I get that. There is no such thing as a perfect coach.

But he's my captain.

I think Leach is tremendously entertaining and I think he can coach the hell out of a bunch of kids that, for the most part, bigger schools didn't want. I'll take a guy who overachieves with less talent every time rather than a guy who underachieves with more talent.

So indulge me as I blockquote my favorite bit from the Schlabach's article:

To begin to understand the man who put Texas Tech football back on the map, one must consider how Leach spent a Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago. While watching a TV documentary about South Texas tourist spots -- "with a Charles Kuralt kind of guy, who tells you the best chili in Texas is in this place and the biggest ball of string in Texas is here" -- Leach became enthralled by a painter who does replicas of Vincent van Gogh's classical works.

Leach did what any other football coach would do: He loaded his family into the car and drove 330 miles to meet Ran Horn of Van Horn, Texas.

"The plan was hatched that morning and conceived that afternoon," Leach said.

After meeting Horn at his second-hand store, Leach persuaded the artist to paint a portrait of college football's most unique coach. Last month, more than two years after the initial meeting, Horn showed up at a Texas Tech practice, carrying a portrait of Leach wearing a large straw hat one might wear in the French countryside. The painting is now the centerpiece of the Red Raiders' war room.

"I was hoping he'd cut my ear off," Leach said, referring to a later self-portrait of van Gogh that included the painter's bandaged left ear.