Texas Tech Tries to Soothe Alumni Anger Over Firing

After firing its most successful football coach, Texas Tech tries to save face with alumni.

By SHARE

While many schools spend January recruiting, basking in the glow of bowl victories (or licking their wounds from a tough season), and focusing on the 2010 football season, Texas Tech is performing damage control.

After the school fired the most successful football coach in school history, Texas Tech's fundraisers and alumni relations staffers are reaching out to angry alumni, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The Lubbock-based university dismissed Mike Leach, who won 84 games, took the Red Raiders to a bowl game in each of his 10 seasons, and won five bowls, on December 30, just days before Texas Tech's Alamo Bowl victory on January 2. Needless to say, there were some alumni who were upset with the school's decision.

Bill Dean, the vice president of Texas Tech's Alumni Association, tells the Chronicle that he answered more than 300 angry E-mails asking why the school had fired its coach, and many of them said they would no longer donate money to the institution. So, Dean and his staff are working overtime to mend fences. Dean says the staff is telling alumni to wait and see how the legal case between Leach and the school unfolds, and he tells alumni that cutting off donations doesn't hurt the people who fired Leach; it hurts the students.

There's no evidence yet that Leach's controversial firing—the coach was dismissed for his allegedly unusual punishment of a player who had suffered a concussion—has caused a downturn in donations, but school officials expect a drop-off. Dean hopes that his staff's efforts will help the school avoid a long-term decrease.

"I think it's going to hurt us in the short run," Dean tells the Chronicle. "My hope is in the long run, we'll survive."

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