The cover of the September issue of Texas Monthly proclaims of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach: “This crazy pirate may be the best college football coach in the country.” They got the “crazy” part right, but I definitely wouldn’t say he’s the best coach in the country.
Granted, he’s very good at what he does, and he deserves a certain amount of recognition for that. If nothing else, his ability to recruit virtually unknown players and turn them into one of the most dominant passing offenses in the nation is worthy of admiration.
But NCAA records are one thing; results are quite another. At some point, those billions of passing yards have to translate to meaningful wins, and that’s where Leach has so far come up short. Sure, they beat Texas last year in what was arguably one of the biggest games in the country, but at the end of the season, all they had to show for it was a shared Big 12 South title and a loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. In fact, in the nine seasons Leach has coached at Tech, they’ve never outright won the Big 12 South division or played in a BCS bowl game.
So how does that qualify him as “the best college football coach in the country”? The fact is, it doesn’t.
But if Leach isn’t the best, then who is?
Well, of course that’s pretty subjective, but popular choices among the experts include:
- Urban Meyer, Florida
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- Pete Carroll, USC
- Bob Stoops, OU
- Mack Brown, Texas
- Jim Tressel, Ohio State
- Les Miles, LSU
There are others, of course, but you’d be hard-pressed to find Leach’s name anywhere on the list.
I’m sure the Pirate of the Panhandle is just fine with that. He certainly isn’t worried about anyone’s opinion of him, that’s pretty obvious. But to earn the hyperbole bestowed upon him by the Texas Monthly editors, he’ll have to do more than just beat Texas at home; he’ll have to win national championships.
A lot of them.