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Ben Williams

I feel like this needs to be written so I can just post people this link instead of continually repeating myself over and over for months on end as there are so many who don't get it, aren't paying attention to what I'm saying, or just really don't know what's going on to begin with.

First of all, you better bring your credentials before you start criticizing my fansmanship. I am the fifth generation of my family to live in Lubbock County. My great-grandfather helped build Lubbock High when he was living on a farm outside of town where South Plains Mall now stands. Many of you never heard of Texas Tech until you decided to come to school here, but it's not just my school, it's my hometown. I have been going to Tech games my whole life. Before I even knew anything about the game of football, I can remember sitting in the grass section with my father and grandfather only four or five years old watching the game and all the pageantry before the days of RaiderVision, stadium sponsorship and super conferences. Parking was free. A plane would fly overhead pulling some banner of support for the Red Raiders. Grass tickets were $3.50. I've seen horrible seasons and great seasons, but never lost any love for the Red Raiders, no matter how poorly they performed on the gridiron. My father worked for Tech for 20 years, Texas Tech kept us fed and clothed. I remember watching the Saddle Tramps at the 1986 SMU game and thinking that’s what I wanted to do if I did not play football for Tech. I pledged Saddle Tramps (no easy task) my first semester at Tech in the fall of 1994, and had the privilege of being Raider Red in the fall of 1998. I had not missed a home game since November 6, 1993 until this year’s season opener (17 years, 100 games). I’ve traveled as far as Pennsylvania and Tennessee to see the Red Raiders play in some of the biggest stadiums in the country. I’ve been referred to as “The En-Tech-lopedia” due to my bottomless supply of trivial knowledge about the history of Matador/Red Raider football. I even got the Red Raiders to don all-black uniforms for the first time ever in Lubbock for the 1989 Rice game by writing Spike Dykes a letter…then reminisced over it with Spike 15 years later. So it gets under my skin a bit when some 20-year old college student from some Dallas or Houston suburb approaches me and tells me how I need to feel about the program right now, or that I need to “move on”, or tells me to shut up or cusses me out.

Let’s backtrack about eight months. Mike Leach is placed on suspension by the university for alleged abuse of a player days before he is supposed to coach his team in the Alamo Bowl against Michigan St. This player (Adam James) happens to be the child of a celebrity sports figure and someone in national sports media (Craig James). Tech’s story goes something like this: Adam James had a concussion and was forced to stand in a dark electrical closet. As the story unfolds, we find out it was a large equipment shed (the size of a two-car garage) and a room where opposing coaches do their press conferences. He was sitting and had ice and a trainer with him. Over the next couple of days, as the nation watches Lubbock, local news and radio call-in shows are swarmed with alumni and fans threatening to withdraw all support from Texas Tech if Leach is fired. A team doctor and trainer both issue statements in defense of Leach saying the treatment was ideal for a concussion patient (as you would want them somewhere dark and cool). Former players and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley issue statements in defense of Leach’s coaching tactics as well as labeling James a prima-donna with a bad attitude and poor work ethic. Leach files an injunction to try to coach the team in the bowl game, Leach is immediately terminated.

As Leach’s legal team tries to dig for information, the Tech spin doctors go into motion throwing up a barrage of smoke and mirrors. The doctor and trainer retract their statements two days after issuing them. Leaked e-mails between Tech regent Jim Sowell and Tech Chancellor Kent Hance from a year before during Leach’s much publicized contract negotiations show a conspiracy in place to fire Leach after the next season. Leach’s legal team seizes Tech computers only to find they’ve been wiped. Tech becomes very tight-lipped as Leach continues to tell his complete story, never changing on any facts in what he told anyone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb4HIf599cE).

While all this goes on, membership on the Team Leach Facebook group quickly swells to a membership larger than seating capacity at Jones Stadium.

The day after the firing, ESPN analyst Tommy Tuberville (the same network Craig James works for) expresses interest in the Texas Tech job. While Tubs was volunteering to come into this scandal, Baylor head coach (and Tech alum and former assistant coach) Art Briles, who has been rumored to have wanted the Tech job for years, withdraws his name from consideration. Tuberville is hired and the rest of the Tech staff is shipped out to East Carolina and various other destinations.

Tuberville begins shaking hands and kissing babies over the course of the off-season to salvage ticket sales in “The House That Leach Built” which had undergone massive renovation and expansion during The Strange One’s decade in Lubbock. Some of the blowhards and big talkers in January slowly and quietly slipped to the other side of the fence. Then football season hit…

The few who were never on the side of Leach, and the many who were but changed their mind and decided to turn a blind eye to the whole situation at some point in order to keep on watching football like as if nothing had happened, all band together and begin persecuting, antagonizing, cussing, name-calling and questioning our love of Texas Tech. Most of them are “new Raider”. They have been Tech football fans for 10 or 15 years (or a lot less in some cases). Many of them never heard of Texas Tech until they decided to go there. No one who has confronted me yet that has followed longer than I have. At Team Leach however, I am one of the pups. Most of these people have been following Texas Tech for 30, 40, 50 years. My theory is it’s one of two things or a combination of both. Perhaps it’s a generational flaw and the younger fans just aren’t able to stand up for anything…especially if it gets in the way of fun and entertainment. Or these are fans that don’t remember Tech football before Spike Dykes or maybe even Mike Leach. These fans probably think Tech’s always been this good, that Tech’s always got recruits like Michael Crabtree and have throughout their history been able to crack the Top Ten and make national championship runs. This percentage undoubtedly will not realize the true value of Mike Leach. So let me tell you…

Over the decade of the Captain at Tech, the Red Raiders were the third winningest team in the Big 12 after Texas and Oklahoma. Texas and Oklahoma, by the way, were the two winningest BCS teams in the country during that time. Tech’s longest streak of consecutive bowl games was three years (1972-74) before Leach arrived on campus, under his tenure the Raiders went to bowl games all ten years. He only coached in nine of the ten (due to his firing) and won five of them. Texas Tech only had five bowl victories in the 75 years from Tech’s first game in 1925 to Leach’s arrival in 2000. He is the only Tech coach to never have a losing record. Five of the twelve best passing seasons in NCAA history have come from four different quarterbacks under Leach (http://www.fbsstatistics.com/seasonpassingleaders.htm) making him the greatest offensive mind in the history of college football (which goes back to 1869). Tech had managed to crack the Top Ten rankings once in their 75 years before 2000, a brief stint in 1976 before falling to the Houston Cougars in Lubbock after reaching #5 in the country. Leach took the Raiders as high as #8 in 2005 before a loss to Texas in Austin, and #2 in 2008 before a loss to Oklahoma in Norman cost the Raiders a spot in the National Championship. The #2 ranking came after a last-second win over #1 Texas. This was the first time Tech had ever beaten a #1 or won a battle of Top Ten teams…they would do it again a week later in a rout over #8 Oklahoma State. In the 2009 Oklahoma game (his last home game at Tech), Leach broke the school record for career wins, reaching the record three years faster than his predecessor, Spike Dykes.

Some of you try to tell me Leach had “taken us as far as he could and it was time for someone else to come in” (as if that justifies robbing a man and ruining his reputation), it’s the same recycled quote from when Spike Dykes left. It doesn’t hold water though. If Tech had beaten Oklahoma in 2008, the Red Raiders most assuredly would played Florida for the national title. Before that OU game was the highest point the Red Raiders had ever been to in their 83 years of existence…and this was a mere 13 games prior to his firing. After the 2008 season, many fans who followed closely and were in the know said 2010 would be Tech’s best shot ever at a national title. At the time of his firing, Tech was poised to sign our greatest recruiting class ever. So how can you honestly say he’d “taken us as far as he could?

Some of you say we should’ve gotten rid of Leach because he visited Washington and Miami over the last two or three years. No one ever talks about the reason he was fired, but they bring up all these other afterthoughts to avoid discussing the treachery that really took place. First of all, he has every right to talk to other schools. Can anyone tell me an instance where a coach was fired by a school for talking to another school? Leach also said he was happy in Lubbock and wanted to retire here. I suspect the dealing with other schools were because he was having difficulties with Myers and contract negotiation were coming up. He didn’t want administration trying to shortchange him so he put the threat of departure in their minds. It’s tactics (he’s a lawyer and football coach). If administration hadn’t been a thorn under his saddle, he probably would’ve finished his career there. But how can even you dare tell another man he doesn’t have the right to consider another job. Even if Leach did up and leave one day, how could you blame him? Personally, I would have already left Tech just to get away from Gerald Myers (who has even been so petty as to take Leach’s postage stamps away from him?). But you absolutely can’t judge him for what he never did. He had already given Tech a decade (the second longest tenure of any Tech head coach). Maybe he would’ve left, maybe he wouldn’t have, but the fact is he never did which nullifies this argument. Tuberville, on the other hand, when coaching at Mississippi told the Rebel faithful he was not leaving for Auburn and they would have to “carry me out of here in a pine box”. The next day he left for conference rival Auburn. This also happened in Tech’s past with David McWilliams in 1986. Tuberville is a snake and Tech is foolish to have him around. He doesn’t care about anything Tech, his mind is still at Auburn. He brings the Tiger Walk tradition over from Auburn and renames it “Raider Walk”, yet keeps slipping and calling it the “Tiger Walk”. He is as arrogant as to say he can run the spread better the greatest offensive coach in college football history when Leach and his mentor Hal Mumme have spent years perfecting this offense. For the record, Mike Leach never had as little as 144 yards in a game. He gives us an all-white Auburn looking uniform (complete with white helmets and ‘Auburn stripes’) in his first road game. He tries to silence the student section and make us “classy”. Tuberville is bad for Tech and will bounce as soon as something better comes along (if he’s not run out of town first).

Some have tried to tell me that they’re a fan of Texas Tech, not any single coach. This doesn’t have anything to do with either, it’s being a fan of right over wrong. It’s not like I came in here under Leach and I’m leaving with him. I’ve seen coaches come and go before. I loved Spike Dykes and was terribly sad to see him go, but I didn’t boycott the university. I didn’t quit buying my season tickets year in and year out. I didn’t come after Texas Tech administration and all their supporters with a cleaver. Spike was not wronged in the way Leach was.

I have been told I might as well put on burnt orange if I’m going to be this way. Some of you aren’t even worthy of burnt orange. If you turn a blind eye to them ruining Leach’s reputation, robbing him of money owed him, a giving the finger to the alumni and fans in the process, then you’re not even worthy to be a Longhorn. You think Texas would do this to Mack Brown? Never! So if these are the standard you are going to hold your school to, then perhaps YOU should be in burnt orange.

I’ve been told “we don’t want you back”. First of all, I can pretty well guarantee I was here before all of you trying to make these arguments. Second of all, we haven’t left. We’re still here fighting for the school we love, not willing to just turn it over to egotistical, corrupt rednecks that would be better suited shoveling manure than running an educational institution. You’re not the gatekeepers and after the bad men are run out and Texas Tech is running a clean program and we have our school back, maybe WE don’t want YOU back. This is not the case for me personally, but you should not be saying it to us either. We didn’t create the situation; we’re just trying to fix the glitch.

I’ve been asked what will I do if Tuberville starts winning. First of all, and for the one millionth time, NOTHING THAT HAPPENS ON THE FIELD IS GOING TO CHANGE MY MIND ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. This is not at all a question of wins and losses, but justice and injustice. Second of all…we were winning already (duh)! Third of all, I think this is a moot point as I doubt he’s going to be winning very much.

I’ve been told “Leach isn’t coming back”. Also, for the millionth time, I KNOW THAT. I knew it the moment his termination was announced. Do you people realize the people who did this are still in place? They need to be removed before they do anymore damage to the university that was once ours. The movement is not to get anyone back here, but to get some people to leave.

I’ve been told I should move on, it’s over, let it go. Let me just say right now, ain’t a damn thing over! I know you would like those of us on this side of the fence to get on board or be upset in silence, but it’s absolutely not going to happen. You think we’re just going to let you take our beloved Texas Tech from us and leave us back here in a ditch while you all enjoy wrecking everything that this university once was. Not happening! Until things are fixed, I (and many more) am going to be here to remind you. Remind you whose fault this is, and that they’re still here. I will be there to point and laugh whenever Hance, his cronies and their new system fail. I will rub it in the face of administration and all those who drank their purple Kool-Aid. I do not want this team to succeed. After Texas embarrassed them Saturday, I had fans telling me I had been right and they were coming over to the Team Leach side. That is why this team must lose, to open people’s eyes to what their leadership has left them with, how they destroyed a football program overnight while many stood idly by letting them do it. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better, sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be rebuilt. Sometimes you have to be cut open to get the cancer out. Some of you have said I need to support the players. Why? Why does everyone involved in this; faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, fans, citizens of Lubbock, etc. have to suffer from this, but not the players?!? There’s a player still on this team that was involved in this snow job. There are players on this team who danced on Leach’s grave because they weren’t getting enough playing time. Honestly, I wouldn’t give a nickel’s worth of dog shit for this team (and it’s the only Tech football team ever I would say that about). People need to see that Hance, Bailey and Myers have slaughtered the golden goose and need to be removed from their positions before further damage is done. If nothing else, there is going to be civil war in the Raider Nation until they're gone. If they really cared about what was best for the university they would resign based on that fact alone.

Can someone tell me this? WHEN has another school EVER committed an act that turned such a large portion of their fan base against them as well as divided the fan base into civil war against itself? Before you all blame us, can someone answer me? You think so many die-hard Red Raiders, who’d stood by their team through thick and thin for decades, would all just decide to rise up like this and boycott without foundation? Does anyone think we wanted this? No, but the hardcore Raiders had to be the ones to take on the fight because the rest of you don’t care or are lazy or just want to be entertained or are easily duped or whatever your reason. If a band of outlaws rides into your town and robs, rapes and kills then rides out, what do you do? Do you stand by and say “oh well, it’s over now…we need to just forget it, move on and hope they don’t do it again”? No! You get a posse together and ride after them and you don’t stop riding after them until they’re shot or hanged! It’s like breakfast. Kool-Aid drinkers are the chicken, Team Leach is the pig.

While on the subject of Team Leach, I must say I do not speak for everyone in Team Leach. Many have vilified us and lumped us all together as some kind of crazy cult that want Leach to return or some nonsense. We’re actually just a bunch of Red Raiders (just like you) who have seen the ugly truth (unlike you). There are many varying opinions within the group. But one thing I think I can say for all in Team Leach is that we’re respectful of each other and do not judge other members for how they are dealing with this. Some pull for Tech still, some don’t (because of the reasons I’ve already laid out). But I’ve made many great new friends through it that I never would’ve met if this hadn’t happened. There are some wonderful (and delightfully funny) people who all just want to see justice done. Like I said, we’re not trying to get Leach back (I don’t know why this is so hard for people to follow), we just want those responsible gone and for Leach to get what he is owed (his name cleared and his money).

I’ve tried very hard not to make this personal, but to keep the attacks pointed at those responsible. Sometimes, it’s not always the case as people have come at me on a personal level. I see the big picture (as many of you fail to do) and I know there is going to come a day after this administration and this coaching staff and these players are gone and all remnants of the Leach scandal are gone, however and whenever it happens (preferably sooner than later), when it’s just going to be us, the alumni and fans, with a long healing process on our hands. I’ve been de-friended on Facebook over this (which I think is immature and cowardly). Many of us are passionate about this on both sides (you don’t mess with a Red Raider’s football), I probably more than most…but most of you know how passionate I’ve been about Tech my whole life. I don’t like her tarnished. I know many of us don’t see eye to eye on this, and even fans on the same side of the fence (whichever side it may be) disagree with each other about this. But I would never drop a friend over this, even if I thought you would rather watch football than do justice. But I’m not going to keep my mouth shut (no matter how many of you tell me what I need to do). It’s too important to me.

If there is any question I haven't answered, or anything I need to expand on, please let me know. I've always tried to explain my stance on this the best I can, and I think I've been fair. I've not dropped any friends or censored anything anyone has posted on this matter on my page, so feel free to approach me (if it hasn't already been covered here).

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do". -Jack Kerouac

Leach left Texas Tech University December 30, 2009 after 10 years as head coach. During his tenure, he not only brought success on the football field for Texas Tech, he also established the highest football graduation rate for public universities in the country.

This group of fans, students and alumni are not rich by any means. They do not have the ability to write $50,000 checks on a whim. They do not have the wherewithal to watch football games in skyboxes and go to games to be seen or socialize while looking down at the crowd below.

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