About 600 current and former students and well-wishers held a rally Thursday at Memorial Circle on the campus of Texas Tech to support ex-football coach Mike Leach.
The Team Leach group still would like some answers from the Tech administration on why they really dismissed Leach, who was fired Dec. 30 in part because of his alleged mistreatment of inside receiver Adam James. Leach and his attorneys have filed suit against Tech, while his supporters met to rally on his behalf.
"It was kind of the same thing over again,'' said long-time Lubbock resident Heather Webb, who attended the rally. "They talked about how he was gone and that was basically the way it was going to stay.''
Webb said many people in the grass-roots effort had signs in support of Leach, who made a telephone call to supporters while the rally was in progress.
Tech administrators were invited to attend the rally, but declined. That didn't sit well with Webb.
"Personally I would rather have seen Leach had some kind of justification from the whole thing.''
While some of the Tech players understand the whole concept surrounding the Team Leach supporters, they're ready for them to start supporting Team Tuberville -- as in new Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville.
"They can't bring back Coach Leach,'' linebacker Bront Bird said. "I understand how some of them might be upset. I think a lot of that is because they just don't know really what happened, and I'm not going to get into all that.
"But they just don't know what happened and they're confused about the whole deal. I would ask for the fans to move on as a university and get behind Coach Tuberville and get ready for this next season.''
Quarterback Steven Sheffield sympathize with the Team Leach followers, and is aware of their place in Texas Tech history. He knows it's not every day hundreds of people rally around a coach that's been fired.
"I can't blame people for (rallying for Leach) because Coach Leach did a lot of good things for Texas Tech,'' Sheffield said. "The fans loved him and the people loved him and I can't really blame them for doing what they're doing.
"But as far as the mindset around here goes, there's not anything we can do about Coach Leach being gone. Coach Leach did some great things, he's an offensive genius and I wish him the best of luck with his future career plans.''
Quarterback Taylor Potts said he hopes the Team Leach backers realize there's a new sheriff in town.
"As far as I'm concerned this whole team and myself, we're all on board with Coach Tuberville,'' Potts said. "Hopefully they'll kind of make the transition over as well
"But I know as far as us as a team and the people around here, we're really excited. I know everybody is glad that we have Coach Tuberville here.''
And what about Coach Leach?
"I'll never say anything bad about Coach Leach,'' Bird said. "I thought he was a good coach and he did a lot of wonderful things here that was the best of Tech history.
"I personally liked him a whole lot. But he is gone now and that's just something that we can't change.''
Sheffield, like many others, agreed with Bird.
"We understand he's not coming back,'' Sheffield said of Leach. "If we were to sit around and worry about that, that would do nothing but slow the process of us getting on the same page with the new coaches.''
_ Dwain Price