Yesterday we detailed how Leach has been trying to get out of Lubbock for the past couple of years. Now comes a report by Lubbock TV station KCBD that Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers, as of April 2008, seemed to be OK with losing Leach.
The station obtained documents and emails between Myers and representatives of Leach. Here is part of the station's online report:
"Leach's agent tried to start negotiations in the spring. But in an April 29th, 2008 e-mail, at 4 p.m., Myers wrote back to the agent saying that the athletic department's financial condition would not allow Leach to make more money. Myers writes, 'We have reached the limits of what we can pay our coach and still maintain the rest of the department.'
"Myers complimented Leach as a fine coach and said it was perfectly logical for Leach to seek more money. And then, 'If better opportunities occur for him somewhere else we will fully understand.'
"Separately, NewsChannel 11 has obtained a July 2008 letter from the agent to Chancellor Kent Hance. They are asking Hance to overrule Myers and come up with a better deal. Recent public statements by Hance and Myers both seem to indicate the university is now willing to come up with a contract extension and higher salary."
On Friday afternoon, Tech came up with the offer, with Hance — not Myers — making the announcement. Hance said he hopes to have the deal finalized by next week. It will be interesting to see if there is a buyout clause in the contract.
How deep is the divide between Leach and Myers? This nugget from a column by Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
"Athletic director Gerald Myers acknowledged Wednesday learning that Leach didn’t want to talk to him in the negotiations. But Myers visited with Matt Baldwin, one of Leach’s representatives, on Thursday, according to Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, while Hance began on Wednesday afternoon trying to reopen lines of communication with Leach.
" 'I just told him,' Hance said, 'that we really wanted him, that we wanted him to stay here, that people love him here, he’s doing a great job and that we want to work something out.' "
With Leach being passed over for the Washington job by USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, left, it appears Tech has the coach right where it wants him. The only other opening of note at the moment is at Auburn, and the Birmingham News reported that Tiger officials aren't interested. Instead, Auburn was looking at Mississippi's Houston Nutt and Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, but Nutt is now off the list. Within the past couple of hours, Nutt agreed to a new contract with Ole Miss.
Update: Tech has offered Leach, in the third year of a five-year contract, a reworked, five-year deal. He is currently scheduled to be paid $2.65 million in 2009 and $2.35 million in 2010.
The new deal would run through 2013. It is worth $12.1 million, averaging $2.42 million a year.