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The Saga of Mike Leach and Texas Tech: Five Days Away

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Kent Hance Explains It To Leach

Hat-tip to Hyatt, LAJ's Don Williams updaates his story from Monday regarding Leach's agents sending emails to the Texas Tech Board of Regents without copying AD Myers and Chancellor Hance until 90 minutes later. Apparently Kent Hance has some advice for the Captain (emphasis mine):

"The Board of Regents in December, again in January and again last week assured us they have not talked to Leach or his agents. (The agents) e-mail that says (they are) trying to clear this up is just false," said Hance.

"The truth of the matter is they didn’t get everything they wanted from Gerald Myers and asked to speak to me . They didn’t get everything they wanted from me and then went to (President) Guy Bailey. Then they contacted the board and since they couldn’t get it from the board they decided to play this out in the press. It’s sad that he has these type of people representing him. Mike is a better man," said Hance.

"For Texas Tech and Mike Leach’s sake he needs to sign the contract and get back to coaching football," said Hance.

Let's go ahead and file this away under, "Reasons Why A Deal Won't Get Done."

Join me after the jump for additional thoughts on how screwed up the situation has become.

Leverage

So everyone asks who has leverage?

Ummm, how about no one.

I mentioned it yesterday morning, but if a deal isn't brokered by Tuesday, then no one has leverage. Leach loses quite a bit of credit with potential employers as a coach who is difficult to deal with and Myers and Hance look like they can't handle big-time negotiations with a big-time coach. Neither party can figure out that they both lose and this is a game of chicken where no one wins.

Just Lock Them In a Room

That's not going to happen either. The relationship between Leach and Myers is so fractured I can't see much give either way.  Granted, a counter-offer was made last night by Leach's agents, but we have no idea if it's a good faith effort and whether or not Myers and Hance have so dug in their heels about the last offer being "The Last Offer". Leach has been adamant about letting his agents do the talking and there's no doubt that Leach, being an attorney, is not going to start negotiating now with Myers and Hance.

Either IMG and the Texas Tech administration figure it out, which I doubt will happen, or a deal doesn't get done.

Eleventh Hour Clauses

So Myers and Hance added clauses to Leach's contract and they both say that the part of the reason is that they wanted some loyalty from Leach. Of course, IMG has refuted those claims (that Leach isn't loyal to Texas Tech), but at this point, this is all a spin . . . by both sides.

What I'm wondering is if there was a reason why Myers and Hance included those four provisions so late in the game?

For Myers, I think there absolutely was a method behind these negotiations. I think this is all part of Myers' test and Myers knows that Leach won't accept these provisions.  This all sounds so devious.

Would it surprise anyone if this was Myers way of getting rid of Leach and still looking incredibly loyal to Texas Tech and the University? I do want to be clear, I do think that Myers believes that he's doing what's in the best interest in the University, but I'm thinking that not everyone here at DTN shares that opinion of Myers.

February 17, 2009

So we have a deadline.

And this isn't one of those deadlines, like when your old lady tells you to get something done and you put it off for another day because you had to change the oil in the lawn mower and that's really time consuming, like all afternoon time consuming.

This is an absolute deadline.

Because the deadline was "leaked" to the public, I truly believe that this is a firm deadline and something will happen on February 18, 2009 if the two sides can't come to an agreement.

February 18, 2009

Kent Hance and Gerald Myers have a plan. I'm not sure what it is, but the truth of the matter is that Hance, Myers and Texas Tech have a plan and I would be surprised if something doesn't happen on February 18, 2009.

I do want to be clear, again, that I think Mike Leach is the best coach for Texas Tech. I will feel like I will have lost an arm, or some other important appendage if Leach isn't Texas Tech's coach next week.

And hiring a new head coach on the eighteenth of February if the two parties cannot agree must happen for a couple of reasons:

  • If a new coach isn't hired then recruiting is going to teh sux. Junior Day is right around the corner and if there isn't a head coach in place that kids know is going to be in Lubbock for at the very least five years, then it's not going to be pretty.  This alone could set back the program for a number of years, just ask the basketball program about getting in good players.
  • You've got to sell season tickets, and there's no way that Texas Tech is going to be able to season tickets if there's a coach in flux. It's not the guys who are renewing that I'm worried about, it's the new guy that's been on the fence about buying a ticket. No fan wants to buy a ticket to uncomfortableness. If Leach stays, it's going to be like having to meet your girlfriend's dad for the first time and trying to start a reasonably intelligent conversation to pass the time . . . for an entire season.

Option #1: Defensive Coordinator:  This is all pure speculation, so take it with a grain of salt.The easiest path is to promote Ruffin McNeill to interim head coach. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see him get the job and it would make the transition with players relatively easy. I think he's close to quite a few players, but the problem with that plan is that there's really not anyone to run the offense because Leach ran the offense (it's called job security). I'm not a fan of this option because although I think McNeill is improving, he doesn't strike me as head coaching material. The other candidate that I've thought would be an interesting match is Florida's Charlie Strong, but I think it would be difficult for Strong to come in, establish his system, hire a staff and rally a fanbase. That would be tough for a first-time head coach.

Option #2: Offensive Coordinator: I'm not sure that I'm a big fan of this option, but Arizona's Sonny Dykes could come back home to Lubbock. The problem with this is that this probably means that McNeill doesn't stick around, which puts your defense in the same hole if McNeill is hired. The same thing that applies to Strong applies to Dykes in that being a first-time head coach is going to be tough.

Option #3: Current Head Coach: Logically, I think Baylor's Art Briles makes some sense, but I can't envision many head coaches leave this late in the game. It's crazy to think that a head coach would leave, and I know that money can change someone's mind relatively quickly, but it seems that it would take a huge effort to lure a current heach coach to Lubbock. Other options might be Utah's Kyle Whittingham, but again, I think he'd really have to be money-whipped to leave Utah. I'm sure there are other candidates (J. Jones, Bailiff, Patterson, etc.) out there, but it's just so damned late and the same thought for me applies with these guys too.

Just Get Along

At the end of normal contract negotiations, there's usually a press conference where the AD and the newly re-signed head coach pose for pictures and shaking hands. That's probably not going to happen here. But that doesn't mean that the absolute best thing for everyone is to just make it work. I hate all of the options outlined above for a new head coach. There's something missing from each and every one of those options has negatives, but then again, so does re-signing Leach.