November 9th, 2011 10:08 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Ole Miss
Tags: Mike Leach, Ole Miss, SEC, Texas Tech
Houston Nutt seems to want what’s best for Ole Miss despite his dismissal. And he seems to want to help an old acquaintance to get back in the business.
Mike Leach seems to want a crack at the Rebel job. And it seems likely that he and Nutt have spoken about him campaigning for it.
A few weeks ago while listening to Leach’s daily Sirius radio talkshow, I heard someone call in and ask the ex-Texas Tech coach about the Ole Miss job and whether he would be interested. He sidestepped the question saying that Nutt was a friend of his.
Yesterday it was his friend who went on the radio and pitched Leach for the job. Nutt appearing on Tim Brando’s radio show said:
“You’ve got to bring maybe a little something different offensively. You’re not always going to have the best 11 on the field when you go against Alabama and LSU. You need something a little bit creative. I always think about what Mike Leach did at Texas Tech. He didn’t hae the best players compared to OU, Nebraska and those guys. But in playing him in the Cotton Bowl and studying him, he did something a little bit different. Probably along those lines is what maybe Ole Miss will be.”
So would Leach be interested? From this quote in The Memphis Commercial-Appeal it sure sounds like it:
“I haven’t heard from anybody, but I’m not too hard to find. It’s a great job. I’m sure the administration has a certain individual it is looking for, and I’m sure they’ll find the right guy…
There’s a lot of great athletes in the state of Mississippi and you need to get them to stay in-state. I know the atmosphere is incredible (at Ole Miss). It’s a great place with great people.”
It’s not the first time the 50-year-old Leach has talked up a coaching vacancy. Arizona’s job has been open for a few weeks already. While in Tuscon promoting his book, “Swing Your Sword,” last Wednesday. At the time he said of the Wildcats’ position:
“I think it’s a great job. Anybody would be interested in this job. The thing is, they have an idea of what they’re looking for. They have an idea of what direction they’re going. If I somehow fit in there, then maybe there will be some dialogue. And if I don’t, I’m sure they will select a good individual for the position. It’s an exciting position.”
In reality, Leach would probably be a better fit at Arizona than at Ole Miss. Football isn’t as serious in Tuscon as it is in the Deep South. There would be less media scrutiny in the Pac-12 than the SEC.
But it doesn’t appear that Arizona AD Greg Byrne — formerly of Mississippi State — is interested in Leach. If he were, he would’ve called him already.
Which leaves us to wonder what Archie Manning’s search committee — expected to be put together by Friday — will think of the often odd Leach.
The ex-Tech coach believes his lawsuit against ESPN has hurt his chances of getting back on a sideline. “I think it’s had a chilling effect, there’s no question. In 2008, I was National Coach of the Year,” he told The Lexington Herald-Leader.
“I want to get back to coaching. These should be my best coaching years and I want to get back.”
Ole Miss should want the best on-field coach for the job and that appears to be Leach. But in terms of the off-field duties of that job, the UM administration might not want to take a risk on a loose cannon that’s currently at war with one of the SEC’s (and Ole Miss’) most-important business partners.
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