Paul Finebaum says other ADs may be kicking themselves for letting 'quirky' Mike Leach get away
Mississippi State’s upset win at LSU may have gone over differently at some schools who have a history in nearly hiring Mike Leach. Tennessee, for example, comes to mind before it hired Jeremy Pruitt.
Paul Finebaum, on his regular Monday appearance on The Roundtable on WJOX-FM in Birmingham, Alabama, recalled the set of events that included former Athletics Director John Currie nearly hiring Leach only to be fired. Asked if other ADs are kicking themselves for not hiring the guy who put up an SEC record-setting offensive performance against the defending national champion, and Finebaum had this thought.
“You might call John Currie at Wake Forest, he was the Tennessee AD who went to get Mike Leach after Butch Jones was fired and his chancellor fired him before he even got back to Knoxville because of it,” Finebaum said. “There was such an uprising. That’s the most crystal clear example I’ve ever heard. Leach admitted it, I talked to him and others did as well. I’m not saying Leach would be any better at Tennessee, I’m just saying he was that toxic to some people.”
The offensive performance he put up at LSU is not what kept him out of bigger jobs, it’s that unique personality.
“It’s never been about his coaching, his offensive play calling, and schemes are legendary, his defenses have never been particularly great but he’s just been a quirky guy that rubs the administration the wrong way,” Finebaum said. “So give John Cohen credit, and the remarkable thing about Mississippi State is they’d already made the decision to retain Joe Moorhead. Then (Lane) Kiffin came and there were a lot of issues before that bowl game, and then they fired him after losing in the bowl game, this is not one of these situations that anyone saw developing even at the end of the season last year.”