Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Intransigence in Lubbock, Texas

Mike Leach is a good, albeit somewhat overrated Big 12 coach. He's probably not worth a five-year, $12.7 million contract ($2.54 million per annum), but in the Big 12, that seems to be the going rate for somewhat overrated head coaches. Gary Pinkel makes $2.3 million per year until 2015; Mike Gundy makes $2.2 million until 2015. Leach is not a better coach than either Pinkel or Gundy, though he is more in-demand -- HE LIKES PIRATES, says ESPN, HE'S TOTALLY NOW -- so he will get a small popularity premium included in his salary.

That said, the sticking point in the Leach-Tech negotiation seems to be a clause in the contract that "would trigger his firing and a $1.5 million penalty if he interviews for another job without athletic director Gerald Myers' permission."

In an era when Bobby Petrinos openly quit on their teams and Rich Rodriguezes leave their dream jobs unfinshed, there is no loyalty in football coaching, college or pro. It's somewhat refreshing to see college ADs take stands against head coaches with clear, obvious cases of Wanderlust. Anybody who thinks -- new contract or otherwise -- that Leach won't bolt Lubbock for the first major college big-fish job he can find is fooling themselves and has probably never visited Lubbock, Texas. Monetary penalty be damned, Leach is gone. Tech should save themselves the trouble and start interviewing candidates now.

And as far as Leach goes, well, Dabo Swinney should probably watch his back. Clemson boosters are aiming a Sword of Damocles named Mike Leach for a spot located just below Swinney's fifth lumbar vertebra.

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