The University of Miami confirmed this morning that a note scratched out on a newspaper in which Donald Trump recently scolded UM President Donna Shalala for not hiring Mike Leach as the school’s football coach in 2007 is authentic.
(Credit: Bruce Feldman)
The note from Trump reads:
You made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech … and you can now get him for the right price
Before Miami hired now-fired Randy Shannon in 2007, Trump sent a letter of recommendation on Leach’s behalf to Shalala.
The PALM BEACH POST reported on it at the time:
“In a letter sent this week to UM President Donna Shalala, Trump refers to Texas Tech’s upset victory of No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday and reminds Shalala that he strongly recommended that (Mike) Leach be given the Hurricanes’ job.”
Trump wrote in the letter, “You are my friend, but you should have listened to me. If you did, your team would be fighting for the National Championship.”
Shalala’s response: “I got the letter and I laughed.”
Leach was eventually granted an interview for the job at that time but was passed over. Shalala, along with Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee instead went with Shannon. Current school AD Kirby Hocutt is heading up the search for a coach this time around, with input from Shalala.
The PALM BEACH POST reported today that Leach, who was fired by Texas Tech in 2009, is once again interested in the job.
“It’s a great job and I think it would be a great fit,” Leach said. “We’d have an exciting brand of football. We’ll fill the seats and we’ll win games and we’ll win ACC championships.”
In the past 24 hours, it has been widely reported that Jon Gruden has met with Hocutt about taking the job.
A talent agency source with knowledge of the Miami search and Gruden’s situation told me today that Gruden will likely not take the Miami job, though his next job will be as a college - not NFL - coach.
In the case of Leach, a Big 12 coaching source told me Tuesday that he has no chance to land the Miami job because he didn’t impress Shalala in his interview with her in 2007.
But even if Shalala signed off on his candidacy, I’ve been told that because of Leach’s pending wrongful termination lawsuit against Texas Tech, schools will not hire him until the litigation is settled.
Schools are not formally forbidden from hiring Leach, but from talking to multiple sources on the matter, there’s most definitely a movement among schools to eschew Leach until his legal matter with Tech is behind him.
I’ve been told that Indiana briefly considered breaking rank on that general attitude, giving Leach some consideration for the job, but later backed off because of the Texas Tech lawsuit and his recently filed defamation lawsuit against ESPN.
Instead, I’ve been told that Tulsa’s Todd Graham could be a frontrunner for the IU job.
Leach’s lawsuit though againt Texas Tech is likely to be settled sooner than most people think. I detailed why last week.
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