Mike Leach comes out swinging his book sword

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As he’s well-known for his fondness of pirates along with many other eclectic/meteorological leanings, it should come as little to no surprise that Mike Leach‘s new book is titled, in part “Swing Your Sword”.

It should also come as no surprise whatsoever that, within the pages of the book, Leach comes out swinging at the school that fired him and the helicopter dad who (allegedly) orchestrated it.  And he pulls no punches and minces no words in doing so.

Leach was fired by Texas Tech in late December of 2009, ostensibly due to his “treatment” of Red Raider wide receiver Adam James — son of ESPN college football analyst/aspiring politician Craig “Black Hawk” James — and the subsequent injunction he sought against the university after they had suspended him for Tech’s bowl game.  While that was his former employer’s public stance, it was long thought by many, including ourselves, that the seeds of Leach’s dismissal were planted months prior to his firing during what were contentious contract negotiations, with the James episode — and subsequent smear campaign — merely serving as an “easy out” for the school publicly.

Based on one excerpt released today, that was exactly how the situation appeared to one of Tech’s regents, who expressed embarrassment via an email to the vice chairman of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents as to how Leach was treated:

… Also, on the day of my firing, former regent Windy Sitton confirmed that my termination had nothing to do with the Adam James situation, but resulted from the ill will generated by the 2009 contract negotiations.

She wrote an email to Jerry Turner that we obtained:

“Jerry, I know his firing has been in the works since the Chancellor and the AD were outmaneuvered by Leach. That is our problem.

“The problem rests with the arrogance of the Chancellor and the ineptness of the AD. Everyone sees through this injustice to Mike Leach and Texas Tech. The Sitton family has given scholarships and have had multiple seats since 1976. We will not renew our options [on] our 12 seats or for that matter our PSLs for Basketball. This whole thing smells, and we do not want to be a part of this blight on Texas Tech.”

In another excerpt that deals specifically with the James Gang (our description), Leach at one point states that his “biggest regret was not cutting Adam James. … We thought he may have simply been the victim of his dad’s little-league father tendencies, and that he’d eventually find a way to be his own, independent person. But that didn’t turn out to be the case. I should’ve cut my losses, but I was really hoping that he’d improve and stuck with him.”

Leach also wrote of Adam James’ sense of entitlement and lack of work ethic, allegations that were first aired shortly after the infamous “electrical closet” incident came to light.

He could’ve fit into the role of tight end for us, but because he didn’t work hard he was only marginally effective. We could never get him to move out from behind his father’s coattails. Together, they believed that playing time was determined by politics and influence rather than hard work.

The excerpt goes on to detail the events surrounding the infamous Adam James episode, including Craig James — the ESPN employee — calling Tech chancellor Kent Hance — the one accused of arrogance in Sitton’s email — demanding that Leach be fired.

I’d highly recommend reading both excerpts in their entirety, although, obviously, it should be noted that this is one individual’s version of the events that transpired in December of 2010, albeit a version backed up by court depositions, emails and other various forms of little things called “facts”.

Texas approves two-year contract extension for Tom Herman

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With Texas being back (?), the football program’s sideline boss is being rewarded for getting the Longhorns there.

Amidst speculation that surfaced earlier this month, the university confirmed Thursday that a two-year contract extension for Tom Herman has been approved.  The head coach is now signed through the 2023 season, the same season, incidentally, a home-and-home with Alabama will finish up.

According to the Associated Press, the two-year extension is worth a total of $13.25 million.  This past year, Herman’s $5.5 million in compensation was ninth nationally and tops among all Big 12 coaches.

“I’m so grateful for President [Greg] Fenves, [athletic director] Chris Del Conte and the UT Board of Regents, and for all the support they provide me, my family and our football program,” Herman said in a statement. “I truly love being the head football coach at Texas. I’m enjoying every minute of it, am so fortunate to have a tremendous staff, and the players in our program are just awesome to work with.

“We’ve done some good things, but have so much more we are preparing to accomplish. I’m excited for the future.”

After a 7-6 first season in Austin, Herman guided UT to a 10-4 record in 2018, which included a Sugar Bowl win over fifth-ranked Georgia.  The 10 wins marked the first time the Longhorns hit double-digits since going 13-1 in 2009 under Mack Brown.

K-State’s leading receiver last two years to transfer

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The latest addition to the portal is a rather significant one.

In somewhat of a surprising development, a Kansas State official confirmed to CFT that Isaiah Zuber is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  The official made sure to note that Zuber could return to K-State by pulling his name from the database; conversely, CFT will make sure to note that K-State has the option to pull the wide receiver’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

As a graduate transfer, Zuber will be allowed to use his final season of eligibility immediately at his next stop.  As a highly-productive player, Zuber should be a highly sought after player in college football’s version of the free agent market.

Zuber led the Wildcats in receptions each of the past two seasons — 52 in 2018, 51 in 2017.  During his time in Little Manhattan, Zuber totaled 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns on 127 receptions.

P.J. Fleck doesn’t practice what he preaches when it comes to commitment

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P.J. Fleck thinks there’s a problem in this country, and he doesn’t have a clue how correct he is.

As you may or may not have noticed, the NCAA transfer database is wide open and has been doing a significant amount of business.  There’s not a day goes by where there aren’t multiple posts on CFT about Player X entering — or reentering, as the case may be — his name into the portal. And then there are high school prospects committing to one school while (gasp!) still taking visits to others.

The personnel movement both before and after entering the collegiate ranks has caused significant angst within the coaching profession, not the least of whom is the current Minnesota head coach.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I have a rule: You commit to me, you can’t go see another place,” Fleck said. “Not because I’m insecure. But if you want to be committed, you’re going to be committed. Too many people teach young people to be committed but also one foot in and one foot out. … You’ve got to be all in.”

Or as Fleck termed it: “We have a problem in our society. We don’t have a problem in our program.

The problem with that?

In December of 2014, Fleck signed a six-year contract extension as the head football coach at Western Michigan.  Less than two years later, speculation was running rampant that he was the frontrunner for the Minnesota job; in January of 2017, Fleck was named the head coach of the Golden Gophers.

It’s easy to talk about loyalty and commitment when it’s somebody else’s, right coach?  Coaches are free to move above the country at their leisure, while the vast majority of the very same profession will do anything and everything to restrict a player’s movement to a situation the student-athlete feels is better for his future.

Fleck is right about there being a problem in the sport, but it sure as hell isn’t limited to player movement.

(Tip O’ the Cap: @CFAAEliteClips)

Outback Steakhouse to continue sponsorship of Tampa bowl game

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For those fans of Team Bloomin’ Onions or Team Coconut Shrimp, you’re in luck when it comes to your annual foodie freebies.

In a press release, “Outback Bowl officials announced… that long-time Title Sponsor Outback Steakhouse has agreed to extend its contract with the New Year’s Day Bowl for six additional years through the January 2026 game.” The Tampa-based game, sponsored by a Tampa-based company, has been played annually since 1986; this new agreement ensures that Outback Steakhouse will continue as the longest-running title sponsor in college bowl game history.

Perhaps most importantly, Outback officials also announced that, over the next seven postseason games, the Outback Bowl will contribute $45 million to universities and donate at least $3.5 million to charities through its Charitable Giving Initiative

“We are proud to announce the continuation of our long-term relationship with Outback Steakhouse,” said Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay in a statement. “With Outback Steakhouse’s continued commitment, the Outback Bowl will be able to grow the more than $1 billion economic impact it has generated to date, allow us to continue to positively showcase the Tampa Bay region both nationally and internationally, add to the almost $150 million generated for universities and expand our Charitable Giving Initiative program which has already benefited over ninety non-profits.”

The first iteration of what would ultimately become the Outback Bowl — at the time it was called the Hall of Fame Bowl — was played on Dec. 23, 1986, a 27-24 win for Boston College over 17th-ranked Georgia.  The steakhouse became the title sponsor in 1995, with Penn State beating Auburn 43-14 in the first game known as the Outback Bowl.

This past season, Iowa upset No. 18 Mississippi State 27-22 in the most recent iteration of the Outback Bowl that’s now played annually between members of the Big Ten and SEC.