Texas Tech Won’t Pay Leach’s $1.7M 2009 Salary

Dwain Price of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS reports that Texas Tech has not paid Mike Leach $1.7 million he is owed for “work he performed for the school during the 2009 season.

Mike Leach Adam James

(Stiff?)

Like most football factories, Texas Tech compensated Leach with a small base salary supplemented by “outside income” sources. Those sources include radio and TV appearances and an apparel endorsement - a controlled by Tech officials.

According to Leach’s contract, Tech is supposed to pay him $1.6 million in guaranteed outside athletics-related personal income. He also was slated to collect an additional $25,000 because Tech played in a bowl, $25,000 because the Raiders finished the season ranked No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll, $25,000 because Tech won five Big 12 games, and $25,000 because its football program’s graduation rate was above 65 percent. 

When contacted by Price, Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers confirmed that Leach hadn’t been paid most of his 2009 salary. Read more…

Texas Tech: Leach Firing Causes Academic Cuts

Saturday night ESPN enjoyed its highest rated bowl game telecast ever as Texas Tech defeated Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl. The game was played immediately following the unpopular firing of Red Raiders coach Mike Leach, and Tech fans made it clear during the broadcast that they were extremely unhappy with the decision to jettison the school’s winningest football coach.

Insane support for Mike Leach continues

(“Team Leach” sign appeared on NBC’s Today show this morning)

But while the Tech administration that made the call to fire Leach can live with that embarrassing, nationally-televised outrage, it can’t live without money, and apparently donations to the school have dropped off a cliff since Leach was terminated.

What’s worse is donations to Tech’s largest private benefactor, the school’s alumni association, uses those donations to primarily fund academic initiatives. Classroom programs that because of the backlash over Leach’s firing are now in jeopardy.

Responding to fan outrage, the Texas Tech Alumni Association sent out a somewhat panicked-sounding letter to members noting that “failure to renew their memberships” will cause significant cuts to:

• over 600 student scholarships
• support for academic recruiting
• support for faculty

It only gets worse for the Tech administrators who decided to throw Leach under the bus, as the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL reports, “Bill Dean, the association’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said administrators need to reveal more information about the circumstances surrounding Leach’s abrupt suspension and termination.

Dean also told the Lubbock newspaper that Tech alumni, “are almost 100 percent opposed to the university’s firing of Mike Leach. They’re angry and they’re mad and threatening to withdraw support from every aspect of the university because of this.

Again, Dean runs the largest private benefactor of academics at Tech, and he and his members are universally outraged over the school’s opaque representation of the Leach dismissal.

Not surprisingly, sentiment is now growing among prominent Tech academic donors for the ouster of Tech Chancellor Kent Hance and Athletic Director Gerald Myers.

Read more…

Clip & Save: Tech Admin Rule Briles Out As Coach

After I reported yesterday that current Baylor Coach Art Briles will be hired by Texas Tech as its football coach, the Lubbock, Dallas and Waco media went into action, eventually nailing down denials from Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, Athletic Director Gerald Myers and Baylor AD Ian McCaw that Briles would move to Lubbock.

Art Briles

(Everyone telling us what Briles will do, except Briles.)

What’s interesting is that many of the same media outlets ruling Briles out for Tech were earlier the same day reporting Briles as a strong candidate for the job. At least that is, before I reported that Briles would get the job - with those same outlets subsequently getting a party line from Tech administrators. And right up until I reported Briles would get the job, the Tech and Baylor administrations were completely silent on the prospect of a Briles hire.

Once such reactionary denial came from Tech AD Gerald Myers to the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL.

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Knight Abuse Video Gone As Son Drops F-Bombs

Seth Davis of CBS recently noted the stunning hypocrisy of how Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers has treated his high profile coaches the past four years: “Ironic that the school that fired Mike Leach for alleged player abuse wouldn’t even reprimand Bob Knight for popping a player in the mouth.

Bob Knight Punches Michael Prince

Davis is referencing a 2006 incident featuring Bob Knight “striking” (ESPN’s words, not mine) Texas Tech basketball player Michael Prince in the chin during a game against Gardner Webb.

The blow caused Prince’s head to snap back, but Myers did nothing to reprimand Knight at the time, who said later that he would do it again if placed in the same situation. Myers later said, “Coach Knight did not slap Michael.”

Knight has since left the Tech job, replaced by his son Pat Knight.

I’d love to show you the video of the Knight-Prince incident, but the evidence has mysteriously been pulled off ESPN.com. Like Craig James, who helped hasten the termination of football coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech, Knight is now an employee of ESPN. Is it reasonable to think that ESPN might’ve deleted Knight “striking” a player in 2006 because of the Craig James-fueled incident?

Bob Knight Strikes Michael Prince

Regardless, I contacted ESPN public relations earlier today about the Knight video being pulled and have gotten no response. There were also two videos of the the ESPN broadcasted Knight-Prince incident on Youtube recently, but those have since been pulled. One had been up for three years until recently. Coincidence?

On the bright side, at least Bob Knight is gone from Lubbock and Red Raiders fans can now count on a classy coach in Pat Knight.

Pat Knight drops three fbombs at press conference

That is, if you consider dropping three f-bombs at a media press conference in 20 seconds classy - as Knight did on Tuesday night after Texas Tech was blown out by New Mexico. Why do I have a feeling “Coach Knight” won’t be hearing from Myers about his public profanity?

Video is after the jump. Since it isn’t ESPN video, perhaps it won’t get subsequently deleted. (Not that I’m implying in any way that ESPN did that with the Bob Knight video.)

Read more…

Emails: Leach Only 1 Job Interview In Nine Years?!

The DALLAS MORNING NEWS has some interesting emails today that were circulated  between Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, Tech AD Gerald Myers and prominent Tech booster and Dallas businessman Jim Sowell during Mike Leach’s 2008 contract negotiation.

Mike Leach email: Claimed he only had one job interview in nine years

The emails may give some indication of an extremely acrimonious contract negotiation between Leach’s reps at IMG last year and Tech administrators.

Most of the 11 pages of emails is Sowell making recommendations about the terms of Leach’s contract.

As part of those recommendations, Sowell attempted to discredit Leach’s leverage with the school in one email statement I found particularly interesting. Read more…

Speed Read: T-Mac Reportedly Out For Season

Last February, the Houston Rockets were crippled - literally - by the season-ending foot injury to center Yao Ming. In what must feel like Groundhog’s Day for the team, this February is also bringing bad news for the team: their other All-Star anchor, Tracy McGrady, told ESPN.COM’s Stephen A. Smith that he needs microfracture surgery on his injured left knee and is done for the season.

Tracy McGrady

Keep mind that this is coming from the mouth of Smith, so take it with a grain of salt (right, Chris Bosh?), and the Rockets aren’t confirming the report. But they sure aren’t denying it either, and with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander telling the HOUSTON CHRONICLE to expect official news on McGrady later this week, it looks highly likely that T-Mac is going on the shelf for a long time.

Tracy McGrady

Alexander also told the paper that McGrady is a “superstar” and that the team has no plans to trade him. Which is probably code for “we really wanted to trade him, but now that he’s damaged goods we’re stuck with him.” How much his absence will impact the Rockets is unclear - he’s either been ineffective or out of the line-up for most of the season to begin with, but losing him can’t help.

The only thing injured on Alex Rodriguez right now is his reputation, which is doing about as well as Jack from Jack in the Box. His press conference at Yankee spring training didn’t help much - I would recommend not using the phrase “I’m here to take my medicine” again any time soon - and might have got his unnamed cousin in trouble.

Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez claims that his cousin brought something called “boli” from the Dominican Republic, which the USA TODAY says usually refers to the steroids Dianabol or Deca-Durabolin. And now a DEA agent is ominously warning that “those who violate drug laws are always at risk of arrest and prosecution.” We don’t know who this cousin is yet - although BIG LEAGUE STEW has a list of candidates - but I’m guessing we’ll find out soon enough.

In related news, the AP reports that the MLBPA has sent a memo to its players informing them how to respond to questions about the 2003 drug testing. Their recommendation: don’t respond. The memo also goes into detail about little details like why the tests weren’t destroyed, and how the union did not give advance knowledge of tests of players.

Finally, fans who tuned into the Kentucky/Vanderbilt game last night expecting fireworks had to be greatly disappointed. Not in the game itself, but in the lack of a halftime interview between ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards and the man she spurned, Wildcats head coach Billy Gillispie.

ESPN reporter Jeannine Edwards

Alas, no luck last night. As the TENNESSEAN notes, with the game tied at halftime Edwards chose to interview Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings instead of Gillispie, telling the paper “I cut my losses.” This is, of course, the entirely wrong approach, and there should have been a producer in Edwards’ ear demanding she interview Gillispie. Not having her interview Gillispie would be like if Chuck Wepner replaced Muhammad Ali at the last minute for “The Rumble in the Jungle” - totally unacceptable.

What was the most painful/awesome interview in sports TV history?

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Leach, Texas Tech Still Squabbling Over Contract

It woud be pretty hard to argue that Mike Leach has been the most successful football coach in Texas Tech history. Since coming to the school in 2000, Leach has compiled a record of 76-39, and with seven more wins he’ll become the winningest coach in school history. More importantly, his offensive gameplans have helped put the Red Raiders on the national map. So it’s no surprise that he’d like a contract extension at the school, and that the school would want to give him one.

 Mike Leach Texas Tech coach

(”You believe what they’re trying to do to me?“)

Of course, those contract negotiations haven’t been very pretty. Talks between both sides have been going on for over a year, but have recently reached an impasse. Leach and his agents have absolutely no problem with the five years and $12.7 million the school is offering, but there are four little clauses in the deal that are going to keep Leach from signing it anytime soon.

Read more…