Monday, October 18, 2010

LeachWatch 2010: Gopher Time?

Yesterday, as pretty much everyone was expecting after he lost to an injury-devasted Purdue team, Minnesota's Tim Brewster became the first coaching fire of the season. Congratulations, Tim! I really thought Mike Locksley might beat you, but you prevailed!

So now there's all-out speculation about who will be Minnesota's next coach, and where there's coaching speculation, there's Mike Leach.

He's not the first name that gets thrown out there; that's Tony Dungy. He's not biting, though. (Although, according to this damning article by Sports by Brooks, Minnesota's hack of an AD might hide behind Dungy's recommendations so he will not get fired himself.) There are more names floating around, including the coach Dungy recommended the last time Minnesota needed a head coach, Vikings' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Also, there's Houston's Kevin Sumlin (who I still kind of wish A&M had hired when we finally ditched Coach Fran).

I don't know how good Leach's chances are. Do I think he'd take it if offered? Very yes. He's been asked about it, and while he was a little noncommittal, it's clear he wants to get back into coaching. (I think we all want him back in coaching, for the comedy.) Surely there will be other job openings by the end of the season, but maybe none as inviting as Minnesota. BCS conference + relatively low expectations = Leach-a-palooza!

Ultimately, I think that--as with all the other jobs Leach has been rumored to be considered for over the years--it's likelier that Leach would want Minnesota than that Minnesota would want Leach. I don't know if Leslie Frazier would be a better choice, because we already know that Head Coach Mike Leach can build a team that's greater than the sum of its parts, but he or almost anybody else on the list would be a safer choice. Minnesota students and fans might get excited about hiring college football's most famous pirate fetishist, but Minnesota brass and big-money alums? Maybe not so much.

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