Mike Leach Doesn’t Rule Out a Return to Lubbock, Shades Art Briles in New Interview
Thanks to KCBD's Pete Christy, we now know if Mike Leach would ever come back to Texas Tech.
You can skip to the 3:29 in the video below if you've already heard Mike Leach complain about Sovereign Immunity.
After Leach calls out "the crooks" at Texas Tech as he's done time and again, Leach actually has some great things to say about Texas Tech and Lubbock, including that some of his best memories belong in Lubbock and at Texas Tech.
"Some of the best people I've ever met in my career are the fans of Texas Tech," Leach said, adding: "The 10 best years of my career were at Texas Tech and the great fans that we enjoyed in that time and also the players and the coaches."
Leach also had great things to say about the current regime here at Texas Tech, starting with Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt. "He's had a fantastic career. Just a fantastic, salt-of-the-earth guy, but has a vision." Leach went on to compare Hocutt to Bill Snyder (who coached Hocutt at Kansas State), saying Snyder was a great starting point to learn under.
Christy then moved into questioning Leach on if he would take the Texas Tech job if it was offered to him, and Leach answered by praising Kliff. "You know, they have a coach there, Kliff Kingsbury, who's one of my favorite people. I'm here at Washington State trying to get our next first down this Saturday."
Christy, persisting, told Leach he hadn't exactly said no.
Leach again skirted a direct answer, but definitely didn't close the door to working with Texas Tech again in the future -- if he didn't have to deal with who he dealt with before. "You never know what happens in this business," Leach said. "You don't know what the future holds and you don't know what's going to happen with anybody."
Leach added: "First and foremost, I wish Washington State the very best and as always I wish the very best to Texas Tech. Texas Tech should get the success they deserve."
Leach continued to praise Texas Tech as having the best entrance in college football, sharing his memories of being in the tunnel and watching the Masked Rider ride out.
"The horse would come out and do a wheelie, and with all due respect to the great guys that rode the horse, just the visual when you would have a little tiny blonde lady on the back of that horse and the hair flying back like a cape." Leach continued, "That made the horse look so strong, then you had the contrast of the blonde hair flying."
He also recalled his favorite section of fans at The Jones: "I loved this one section of the stadium, they'd start pulling the seats off and just start orderly passing them down to the field," Leach said. "As time went on, they didn't bolt them back on because otherwise they're doing them every week because we're having a bunch of big wins."
Leach also talked fondly of Raiderville and wondered if the students were still doing that. (They aren't.)
The most interesting line, and more telling to me than the conversation about returning to Texas Tech, was Leach's stance on ousted Baylor head coach Art Briles and the football program he ran. "I run an entirely different program than Art, so I mean, guess Texas Tech would just have to figure out what they're seeking with all that," he said.
It's a simple and succinct answer to a difficult question.
Say what you will about Mike Leach and his time at Texas Tech (and since), but he ran a clean program. Kliff Kingsbury has run a clean program. Both the opposite of Art Briles.
Texas Tech cannot be blinded by wins when hiring athletic coaches.
Yes, wins affect the bottom line and that's what's most important in boardrooms, but a scandal also hinders the bottom line. And if you haven't heard, Art Briles had a pretty big scandal at Baylor.