Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl is one of the best Big 12 bowl games simply because it pits Mike Leach against his former program, where there is little love lost.
It’s long been known that Mike Leach still feels like Texas Tech owes him money from the 2009 season, and he’s still even holding out hope, tongue-in-cheek, that the check may show up in Memphis, Tennessee later this month.
Leach was fired in 2009 after the Red Raiders said he mistreated Adam James, a player who had suffered a concussion, by putting him into an electrical closet for hours. Leach has disputed that account over the years, but Texas Tech still fired him for cause, which negated much of the contract he signed in February of that year. Another twist: Leach was fired on December 30th, 2009, and had he remained at Tech on December 31st, he would have received an $800,000 bonus.
Leach was asked about Tech this weekend and said, “You know, great school. I’ve got great memories there. They still owe me for 2009, the last time they won nine games, so maybe they’ll deliver the check. So we’ll see what happens there.”
Leach believes he’s owed about $2.5 million. He’s filed lawsuits and hired consulting firms to dig into documents from his firing over a decade ago.
The Liberty Bowl will be the first time he will face his former team as he’s spent time coaching in the Pac-12 at Washington State and now at Mississippi State.
But Leach has insisted there is no extra motivation, saying, “You’ve gotta be motivated for everything you do. There’s no real extra reserve for motivation. You try to improve and be the best you can every day.”
The Liberty Bowl is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 5:45 p.m. CST on ESPN.