In a free society, there’s probably no better advantage than being able to recognize and opportunity and exploit it for everything it’s worth. Good businessmen know this. Good coaches know this. Good coaches who have become good business men do this.
The Southeastern Conference coaching fraternity has some of the most sought after interviewees in the country. Nick Saban. Les Miles. Gene Chizik. Steve Spurrier. Mark Richt. But the coach likely to make the biggest splash this week at SEC Media Days isn’t a coach anymore.
He wasn’t even a coach in the SEC. He’s Mike Leach, former Texas Tech Red Raiders coach, Radio Show co-host and author of Swing Your Sword, the tell-all story of his rise to fame and fall from grace.
The most interesting coach coming to SEC Media Days just may be the most interesting coach in the world, but he isn't even a coach, not technically, at least not at the moment.
That shouldn't stop Mike Leach from stealing the show.
Leach will be in town to promote his book, "Swing Your Sword," and he'll be signing copies Thursday night at 7 at the Barnes & Noble at The Summit. Not sure if he'll also sign daggers, eye patches and other assorted pirate gear.
Before that, Leach will be hanging out at The Wynfrey Hotel with a bunch of coaches who haven't sued a school where they worked or the most powerful sports media organization in the world.
Leach is capitalizing on his notoriety. The book—written largely by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman—details his side of the ugly railroad job at Texas Tech. He’s also capitalizing on the notoriety received by suing the Feldman’s employer and Texas Tech. But he’s also capitalizing on last week’s internet backlash against ESPN for the suspension-that-wasn’t-a-suspension reported by Sports by Brooks.
That backlash caught ESPN’s legion of suits completely by surprise and, at least for a 24-hour period, completely paralyzed the worldwide leader. By the time they’d regained their composure and issued their three-sentence statement denying the suspension, Leach’s book had gone from 149th on Amazon to 45th.
Saban, Spurrier, Miles & Co. will still be the most sought after figures during Media Days. But Leach will almost certainly swing his sword in quotable ways. Media Days are always circus-like. Leach’s presence promises to make it even more entertaining.
Oh, and by the way… Craig James is still a