Here’s the statement released by Mike Leach to the public regarding his ouster today:
“I want everyone to know what a privilege and pleasure it has been to teach and coach more than 400 student-athletes at Texas Tech University over the past 10 years.
When I arrived at Texas Tech, the football program was on NCAA probation and the graduation rate was far below the national average. However, in the past 10 years, Tech has been to 10 straight bowl games, has the third best record in the Big 12 Conference, and has the highest graduation rate for football players of any public institution in the country.
Over the past several months, there have been individuals in the Texas Tech administration, Board of Regents and booster groups who have dealt in lies, and continue to do so. These lies have led to my firing this morning. I steadfastly refuse to deal in any lies, and am disappointed that I have not been afforded the opportunity for the truth to be known.
Texas Tech’s decision to deal in lies and fabricate a story which led to my firing, includes, but is not limited by, the animosity remaining from last year’s contract negotiations. I will not tolerate such retaliatory action; additionally, we will pursue all available legal remedies.
These actions taken by Texas Tech have severely damaged my reputation and public image. In addition, Texas Tech has caused harm to not only my family, but to the entire Red Raider nation and the sport of college football.
As you know, I prefer to engage in question and answer sessions; however, in this instance my counsel has advised me to simply make a statement. There will be time to answer questions about this issue in the future, but the serious legal nature of this situation prevents me from going into further detail at this time.”
Is it reasonable to think that the “lies” Leach is referring to have nothing to do with the specific incident with Adam James? That said, I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear about James and his father, ESPN announcer Craig James.
When I read the Leach statement, I also thought back to the statement made by the former position coach of Adam James, Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen, now the current University of Houston offensive coordinator, recently wrote this in an email to officials at Texas Tech in defense of Leach:
“I was the inside receiver coach at Texas Tech when we made the decision (to) sign Adam James in January of 2007. Adam had no offers to play NCAA D1 football during and after his senior year. After a conversation between Coach Leach and Adam’s father Craig, Coach Leach acquired a brief highlight tape of Adam and made the decision to take him as a scholarship student athlete.
“I was opposed to doing so in (the) belief he was not a D1 football player,” Holgorsen writes in his e-mail. “Coach Leach overrode my opinion and Adam became a Red Raider. During the rest of my time at Texas Tech I was Adam’s position coach where I always remained critical of Adam’s ability to play at this level due to being lazy in not only the classroom but also in the offseason and during practice.
“Coach Leach was the one who kept saying he believed Adam would eventually contribute. Adam’s teammates believed he was selfish and were constantly getting on him for lack of effort as they sensed entitlement on his part due to his father being a very good football player. Adam eventually ended up playing a little after I left due to his body type being able to do some TE (tight end) sets which consists of around 5-10 plays a game.
“Adam should be thankful for the opportunity to play at Texas Tech and for Mike Leach, who gave him the opportunity,” Holgorsen writes. “In my opinion playing 5-10 plays a game in an outstanding offense is more than he would get at any other school in NCAA D1 football.”
If Holgorsen’s statement is true, and after today seeing the conditions Adam James was kept under by Leach, in my opinion Leach should not have been fired. In fact, the complaint by Craig James on behalf of his son never should’ve been made public.