Mike Leach is the right candidate at the right time for Kansas football
Drama, drama, drama. That's what those who argue against Mike Leach will claim. Lawsuits against his former employer and ESPN are still outstanding and the coach was run out of Lubbock under less than ideal circumstances. The funny thing is, Texas Tech fans are quick to side with Mike Leach and throw their own Universities administration under the bus at the drop of a hat when it comes to talk related to Leach.
Leach is one of the more controversial as well as one of the hottest names on the market in what will soon become a wild offseason in the college football coaching ranks. Jobs are expected to be or already are open at Arizona State, Ole Miss, UCLA, Washington State, Kansas and Penn State among others. The domino effect of some of these hires will cause a further ripple as Universities scramble to find the right fit and the best candidate to move their respective program forward.
So why should Kansas go directly for Leach when others have and will continue to shy away from the somewhat bizarre but wildly successful coach? Simply put, he's done it before. Mike Leach is a coaching candidate with BCS experience in the Big 12 conference and he put Texas Tech on the map. Leach's run at Tech was the most successful in the schools history reaching nine bowl games and Leach took the Red Raiders from an afterthought to a competitor with the likes of Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the always difficult Big 12 South.
Those results are very similar to what he produced during his career as an offensive coordinator under Hal Mumme at Iowa Wesleyan, Valdosta State and Kentucky before a one year stint at Oklahoma. Leach has mastered his craft, he has an identity and he's a proven commodity. He's the type of candidate that would have been snatched up in a hurry had it not been for the way things ended in Lubbock and the way things have proceeded since.
But that is exactly what puts Kansas in a unique position to make a run at Leach. If it had not been for those things, Leach is likely not even on the radar or he's at the top of every list in the country. Instead he has "baggage" and brings "drama" so some, just as Maryland did a year ago, will shy away and go in a different direction. Kansas sits at 2-10 just four years removed from an Orange Bowl and the fanbase needs a reason to have hope again. Leach provides that and Leach is a coach that WILL get the necessary time to turn things around in Lawrence.
In an interview yesterday with Jayhawkslant.com, Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger described his ideal candidate.
"I am looking for someone with a strong pedigree. It could be a former head coach, current head coach or a coordinator. I think it is important that a coordinator comes from a highly successful program and he's been in that role for some time... I want someone that has strong football values and knows X's and O's. He must have a level of discipline above most."
Mike Leach has the pedigree, he's coached at this level and overachieved with a program at this level. He is also one of the greatest X's and O's offensive coaches in the game. Throw in the fact that his discipline has never been questioned and you have the exact type of person that Zenger is looking for.
When you really look at the position of the program and what Kansas needs to do with their football program, why wouldn't they make a push for Leach? Obviously Leach has to want to come to Kansas before this is even a real argument, but when you look at the times when Kansas has been the most successful it has come with finding the right people that maybe have a few question marks surrounding them, but they have something to prove and they are willing to work to get the job done.
Those are the type of players that Mark Mangino recruited to take the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl, perhaps Zenger can right the ship and hire just that type of coach to get Kansas back where they need to be.