Just because it's never NOT funny.
When I first read the news that Tommy Tuberville was being sued in Federal "Pound me in the ass" court for defrauding investors, my initial thought, "Can fans really sue their coach for defrauding their win/loss record?" Alas, this was not the case, but if the charges hold, Tech could be 2/2 in employing coaches who love legal trouble.
To be honest, white collar charges don't particularly interest me, so if you want the nitty gritty you may want to ask an SMU alum considering most of their dads have probably dabbled in the same activities as Tuberville. But, the "for dummies" version of the charges is basically that Tuberville lied about a lucrative investment opportunity to some potential investors, said investors, no doubt distracted by Tuberville's Dumbo ears, were foolish enough to give him money, the investment went belly up and now they understandably want their dollars back. And while we live in a country where everyone is supposedly innocent until proven guilty, considering it involves an employee of Texas Tech University, I'm not clearing Tuberville of any charges just yet. Let's just hope his defense attorneys do a better job than his defensive staff (sorry, Chad, but you kinda deserve it for stooping to their level, if only for a year).
More than likely this will be the last you hear of this case as it will be settled quietly out of court, but there's a very interesting karmic situation in play here. Could Tech finally be getting their comeuppance for the whole Leach situation? Think about it - Tech fired Leach in December 2009 despite him being by far the most successful Coach in Texas Tech history. Tech fans will toe the company line and suggest that Spike Dykes is actually the greatest in history, but they are all liars. Imagine what Gary Patterson has done at TCU. Now imagine what Gary Patterson has done at TCU, but in a scenario where Dutch Meyer never existed. That's what Leach meant to Tech, and he was fired pretty much for being different and hurting the feelings of the school administration because he wasn't always nice to them. But you all know that, so why am I rehashing?
So like I said - Tech fired Leach in December 2009. Since then, here's a pretty good timeline of what has happened to the Raiders in all of the major sports
- Football. Leach's DC Ruffin McNeill takes over to coaching duties for the Alamo Bowl, a game that Tech wins. Despite McNeill's popularity with the players, Tech selects the more "proven" commodity in Tuberville to lead the team and McNeill becomes the head man at East Carolina, a state that may or may not exist. Tech fans celebrate the "Tuberville Era" and immediately expect the football gods to reward them for hiring the coach of one of the more wronged Teams in NCAA History, the 2004 Auburn Tigers. The fact that Tuberville managed to become the only SEC Coach in the BCS era to lead his team to an undefeated season yet still get left out of the title game apparently didn't raise any red flags. In his first year, Tech went 8-5 and won something called the "Ticketcity Bowl," which probably won't even exist in two years. For his efforts, Tuberville was given a raise and contract extension. After bringing in the highest rated recruiting class in Texas Tech history, expectations were extremely high for the Raiders this past year. After dispatching then-third ranked Oklahoma mid-season and slipping into the Top 25, the expectations sky rocketed and Tech fans were even heard muttering about making their first BCS game appearance in school history. Naturally, the Raiders would get raped to near death the next week at home against Iowa State and drop their last five overall to miss the post-season entirely. From there Leach would get the gig at Washington State - Pullman, WA may be viewed as the most remote outpost in Division 1, but the folks that say that clearly have never been to Lubbock - where he will be paid as much as he ever made at Tech, has pretty iron-clad job security and incredible expectations of his own. Meanwhile, back in the desert, Tuberville would be forced to turn over his defensive staff for the second year in a row and Craig James is now rumoredly being released from his job at ESPN following a collapsing Senate campaign curiously run on the newly formed Anti-Gay ballot. Oh yeah, and apparently Leach is getting a movie made out of his story if the rumors of a big screen adaptation of Friday Night Lights the TV Series are true. When you put Tuberville's pending lawsuit as the bow on top of it all, I'd say things have been somewhat worse for Tech since they sent the Pirate off to sea.
- Basketball. You could certainly argue that by allowing noted dickhead Bobby Knight to appoint his even bigger dickhead son -last seen doing THIS - as his successor, Tech made their bed before any of the Leach stuff went down. But the results are very curious. In Knight's first season in 2007-2008, the Raiders went 16-15 and 7-9 in Conference play, highlighted by a take down of #5 ranked UT before losing in the first round of the Conference tournament, about the best you could hope for a first year HC in his first job. In his second year, however, there was drop off as the Raiders only managed to win 3 Big 12 games and were once against bounced in the first round of the Conference tourney. 2009 would only bring 4 Conference wins, although the Raiders would reach the NIT, so Knight was given a little more rope. But any good will generated from that post season berth was done the next year when the Raiders would revert to their sub-500 ways, lose in the first round of Conference tourney for the third time in Knight's four seasons and he would be dismissed. Knight would likely point out that he improved his Conference win total each of those final three seasons, but when said win total has only moved from 3 to 4 to 5, that's not impressing anyone. Tech would then go on to hire recent Kentucky flameout and known drunk Billy Gillespie to return the basketball team to the promised land. I'll admit, despite Gillespie's history, I thought this was pretty much a slam dunk hire by the Raiders given his success coaching UTEP and aggy. The reality of the situation, though? Not so much. The Red Raiders currently sit at 8-21 and 1-16 in Big 12 play. Considering they close their season this weekend against top ten ranked Mizzou, I think we can go ahead and chalk up loss #17 in Conference, something even TCU has never achieved. So for those counting at home, during Leach's first 8 years on campus, Tech went to the post season five times. Since then? Once, and they have clearly bottomed out this year while Leach is rising from the ashes. Eerie.
- Baseball. To be fair, Tech hasn't been very good at baseball in about 15 years, so it's hard to tie this one directly to Leach. But, since Leach was fired, Head Coach Dan Spencer only sports a .465 winning percentage and has never led the Raiders to the post season. Food for thought.
- Women's Basketball. I'm hesitant to include "womens sports" in this discussion, but as Tech's wikipedia page decries the women's team as having had the "greatest success of all of its varsity sports," I figured I'd oblige them. Under previous Coach Marsha Sharp, a cursory glance suggests that Tech womens basketball was very good. She has buildings and roads in Lubbock named after her and everything. Current Head Coach Kristy Curry has had success, but in her five years on the sidelines the Raiders haven't gotten anywhere close to the highs they reached under Sharp. And while you're probably thinking, "Why do I give even the tiniest of shits about Tech's womens basketball," those of you who followed the Leach situation closely might recall that Sharp was one of his biggest supporters on campus and they often fought the man together. It could be coincidental, but karma is the harshest of mistresses.
If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering to yourself, "Wait, I thought this was a post about Tommy Tuberville's transgressions. Was that lead-in just an excuse to bash the current state of Tech athletics across the board?" And if you even have to ask yourself that sort of question, clearly you're unfamiliar with the operations manual around these parts. I don't necessarily believe in curses and karma and all that hoodoo voodoo bullshit, but Tech is a VERY interesting case study in such things nonetheless.
But if you're still not convinced, think of this -perhaps the BIGGEST development to come about post-Leach, and the one most detrimental to Tech's athletic success going forward? Why, TCU's invitation to the Big 12, of course! Think of it - other than the West Texas kids who want to stay local and the kids too dumb to get into other Texas schools, the only recruiting tool Tech had at their fingertips to hold over TCU was their BCS status. Having lost that, when going to head to head on future recruits, what's their pitch? "Why go to a school with an overwhelmingly lop sided in your favor ratio of beautiful women sitting in one of the most livable cities in America that also features easy access to Dallas, brand spanking new facilities and funding out the wazzoo when you COULD come to the barren wasteland that is Lubbock where your first thought every morning when waking up hungover and looking at the 3 next to you is whether or not today is the day you die of syphillis?"
Convinced of the Curse of the Leach yet?