COLUMBIA — With his gruff voice and easy-going demeanor, Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach fits in well with his fellow coaches in the Big 12 Conference. Leach has one thing none of his colleagues in the conference have, though — a law degree.
So how did the California native end up a football coach in Texas?
No. 14 Missouri (6-3, 2-2 Big 12) at Baylor (3-5, 1-3)
WHEN: 2 p.m.
WHERE: Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texa
RADIO: KFRU/1400 AM, KBXR/102.3 FM
"As I got towards the end of law school, I didn't want to just grow up, put on a suit, and practice law," was how Leach told the story during Monday's Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "I didn't want to get old and wish that I had tried out coaching. I was always more of a football guy."
Leach got his degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and later attended the United States Sports Academy in Alabama to receive his master's degree in Sports Science and Coaching.
"I figured I'd coach two, three years at the most," Leach said, who graduated from the academy in 1988. "I've been coaching ever since."
And the profession has been kind to Leach.
The undefeated, No. 6 Red Raiders host No. 1 Texas in Lubbock, Tex., on Saturday, and ESPN's "College Gameday" crew will be paying their first visit to Lubbock.
SUNFLOWER SHOWDOWN: After giving up 63 points to Texas Tech at home last week, the Kansas Jayhawks will try and rebound against rival Kansas State on Saturday. Kansas coach Mark Mangino says, despite what fans or media might say, this weekend's game isn't necessarily a must-win situation for his team, which is 5-3 overall and in a three-way tie with Missouri and Nebraska atop the Big 12 North with a 2-2 conference record.
"In our eyes, every game is a must win," Mangino said. "We learned some lessons (in last week's game), and we realize we didn't play very well. Tech played very well ... We just got flat beat, and there's no excuses, but that should never have an effect on next week's opponent."
WILDCATS DEFENSE TAMED: Kansas State fell victim to Big 12 South power No. 4 Oklahoma on Saturday, giving up 55 points in the first half en route to a 58-35 loss. Even with its disappointing first-half performance, coach Ron Prince says he isn't too worried about his defensive unit's psyche.
"We've given up some points, there's no question about that," said Prince, whose team allowed Texas Tech to score 58 points back on Oct. 4. "But we had a second-half shutout at Colorado, it's been a couple years since we've done that, and we were three points away from a second-half shutout at Oklahoma."
Prince also added that there were still plenty of reasons to be pleased with his team.
"There's a lot of optimism in our club, and that was articulated yesterday among the players," Prince said. "We understand it's not acceptable to lose, and that we're here to win the North and get into the championship game."