Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach — whose name has been circulated as a potential choice for the vacant Arizona Wildcats coaching job — said he has neither made nor received any contact from the administration.
“I wouldn’t expect any right now,” he told TucsonCitizen.com on Monday night. “And I don’t know if I would be on their list or not.”
Told that Leach has a fair amount of supporters among those on message boards and on sports talk radio, he said, “Bless all of them … and tell them to buy my book.”
Leach is a man of many ventures these days.
He has a show on Sirius XM radio. He is an analyst for CBS College Sports. He has two books out, including the autobiography “Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life” — which was on the New York Times bestseller list this summer. Leach also has co-authored a new offering: “Sports for Dorks.”
He is a consultant and spokesman of sorts for a college football all-star game that is moving to Tucson’s Kino Stadium this January. That is part of the reason why he will appear at a press conference in Casino del Sol on Nov. 2.
The game, played last January in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium under the name of the Eastham Energy College Football All-Star Game, will now be sponsored by Casino del Sol. The game will feature about 100 players, and about twice that in terms of professional scouts. Arizona running back Nic Grigsby was among those who participated in the game after last season.
“Thought it went good,” Leach said of the inaugural event. “Learned a lot. Had a really good TV rating. For the first one, I thought it was really good.”
Just to be clear: This news conference in Tucson was set long before the Arizona football coaching job opened up, so the timing of his appearance is coincidental.
Leach said he hasn’t really paid more attention to Arizona than to other schools, despite the coaching staff’s ties to his former Texas Tech program. Former UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes brought a version of Leach’s Air Raid passing game to Tucson in 2007, and three former Leach assistants are on the current staff — offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, receivers coach Dave Nichol and offensive line coach Robert Anae.
“I think everybody has a lot of respect for the University of Arizona, their tradition and, in general, the conference,” Leach said.
The Pac-12 has been very progressive and certainly made some wise decisions by being ahead of the curve as far as expanding the conference. I have never met anyone who doesn’t have a positive impression, both of Arizona and the conference.”
As for whether he has any interest in the Arizona job, Leach said, “It’s difficult to say. I doubt they are really going to do anything until after the season. If I’m in their plans when the time comes … it depends on what they are looking for.”
Leach has been linked to the pending job opening at Florida Atlantic, where Howard Schnellenberger will retire at the end of the season.
Leach, 50, said he has always planned on getting back into coaching after being fired by Texas Tech in late 2009 for alleged mistreatment of a player. Leach has pending litigation against the school. He was 84-53 in 10 years with the Red Raiders.
“The last couple of years of years have been a lot of fun,” he said. “In the middle of my career, I never thought I would have experienced a lot of the things I would get to do. …
“It doesn’t equal the payoff as far as the intensity of everybody pulling together, but the variety is a lot of fun.”