Why should Mike Leach be in the College Football Hall of Fame?

Mike Leach is a single win away from being eligible to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and here is why he should be considered.
Mississippi State v Texas A&M
Mississippi State v Texas A&M / Bob Levey/GettyImages

Statistics do not lie. And based on those, Mike Leach should not be in the College Football Hall of Fame. The minimum winning percentage for a coach is .600% in order to be inducted into the Hall. Based on this metric, Leach fell just short at a career winning percentage of .596%, which is a mere one win away from eligibility.

While the rules are the rules as far as winning percentage goes, the late Mike Leach will inarguably go down as one of the most remembered and respected coaches in the history of college football.

What schools did Mike Leach coach?

Mike Leach began his coaching career at Texas Tech University where he coached for 10 seasons from 2000-2009. Leach’s overall record with the Red Raiders was 84-43. This included four seasons of nine wins or more. Leach’s best season was in 2008 when the Red Raiders went 11-2, including a win over the undefeated Texas Longhorns who were ranked number one nationally at the time.

From 2012-2019, Leach coached at Washington State where he resurrected another program back to prominence. During his eight years in Pullman, Leach led the cougars to three seasons of nine wins or more, including an 11-2 campaign in 2018. Leach’s overall record for the Cougars was 55-47.

Leach then was hired as the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs of the SEC and was working on rebuilding yet another program who had fallen on hard times since the exit of former head coach Dan Mullen a few years earlier. By his third year in Starkville, Leach had improved the Bulldogs to 8-4. That sadly would be his last. Leach’s record with the Bulldogs was 19-17.

Why should Mike Leach be in the College Football Hall of Fame?

These overall records may not seem great. And honestly, they were not amongst the elite if we are calling a spade a spade. However, what is impressive is what it took Leach to get each program to the point it was when he left.

Starting with Texas Tech, the program had only seen three seasons of nine wins or more since 1976 before the arrival of Leach.

In Washington State, it was not much different. The Cougars had seen only one winning season in the past eight years before Leach’s arrival.

At Mississippi State, previous head coach Joe Moorehead had turned the program upside down in just a few years after Mullen’s exit as the school went a less than modest 10-14 in the two years before Leach’s arrival.

With this being said, the incremental improvement and rebuild Leach did three times at three different schools needs to be considered. There are many coaches that will be inducted in the Hall of Fame based merely off of winning percentage that took over much better situations than Leach. And this should be acknowledged as it is a feat in itself.

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