COACHING SEARCH: Mike Leach

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach wants to coach again. There's no question about that. Could Memphis be a landing spot for him?

If the University of Memphis is to make a "wow" hire, there's likely just one person with the bona fides who would consider taking the job: Mike Leach.

Some schools are reluctant to reach out to Leach because of his tumultuous exit at Texas Tech, which resulted in a lawsuit against the university.

But if Leach is interested in the Tulane job, as has been reported in recent weeks, there's no reason Memphis should try its luck. After all, if Memphis is ready to show the commitment that it's lacked in the last decade, hiring Leach would be a tremendous way to start doing so.

With an overall record of 84-43, Leach is a proven winner. He's also unconventional, and his personality isn't exactly a warm and fuzzy one. It's clear, however, that Leach is all about winning football games, which Memphis has been unable to do consistently for the last four or five years.

Leach's approach to coaching could be a fresh beginning for a program that has been mired in mediocrity at best since the 1970s. His office is reportedly filled with pirate paraphernalia. Perhaps, if he took the Memphis job, he‘d be able to make anyone who‘s not interest in winning games walk the plank.

"Pirates function as a team," Leach reportedly once told his Texas Tech team pregame. "There were a lot of castes and classes in England at the time. But with pirates, it didn't matter if you were black, white, rich or poor. The object was to get a treasure. If the captain did a bad job, you could just overthrow him."

Leach also has an extensively successful coaching tree. Greg McMackin (Hawaii), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech), Ruffin McNeil (East Carolina), Art Briles (Baylor), and Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia) all coached under him at Texas Tech.

Why Leach would be a good hire: Better question. Why wouldn't Leach be a good hire? He brings a winning pedigree and decades of experience. He won at Texas Tech, which by no means is an easy program. He wants to get back into coaching, and Leach is a guy who likes challenges. He'd be a home run.

Why Leach wouldn't work: Memphis has learned its lesson about hiring coaches with chilly approaches to public relations. The Tigers football program needs an ambassador, someone who will promote it at every opportunity. Leach doesn't seem the politicking-type, and Memphis probably needs someone who's willing to sell the brand. Memphis would also have to shell out the big bucks for Leach — which, again, goes along with the commitment the administration claims to now have.


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