Did Mike Leach once call the Big 12 commissioner mid-game?

William Mancebo

That's what his former quarterback, Graham Harrell, says happened in Texas Tech's 2007 loss to Texas when he was dissatisfied with the officiating.

Mike Leach came to WSU with a reputation for doing and saying wacky things, but this latest story might be the topper when it comes to Mike Leach stories.

Via Football Scoop, former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell says that Leach once called Big-12 commissioner Dan Beebe from the sidelines -- on his cell phone -- in the middle of a game that TTU would eventually lose to Texas to complain about the officiating.

"I can remember in the third quarter, he's pulling his cell phone out," said Harrell, whose remarks can be found at the 13:54 in the video. "He always talked to me between series, so he's talking to me and he pulls his cell phone out and he called the Big 12 commissioner. He's like cussing out the Big 12 commissioner, telling him like, 'These refs are screwing us. You better watch my post-game press conference because I've got some stuff to say.' "

Leach didn't disappoint after the game, heavily implying there was some home cooking going on.

Without naming him, Leach noted that referee Randy Christal lives in Austin.

"I think it's disturbing that Austin residents are involved in this. People work too hard, too long, there's too much money invested in these games to allow that," Leach said.

"Am I condemning the crew? Hell yeah, I'm condemning the crew," Leach said.

[snip]

"Unless this can change, the Big 12 Conference needs to take a serious look at having out of conference officials officiate the Texas Tech-Texas games and perhaps other games where there is proven to be a bias by officiating," he said. "It's unfortunate and does the bowl picture enter into it? I don't know. Does the money enter into it? I don't know."

Leach's rant lasted for several minutes.

"It may be incompetence, bias, I don't know. Maybe it's something as simple as guys sitting over the water cooler at their office in Austin talking about how the great game they're going to see -- and then perhaps a preconceived notion develops as to how it's going to come out," he said.

Beebe -- on the job for a mere two months at that point -- came down hard on Leach, levying a record $10,000 fine for the comments, which was twice the amount ever given by the conference. Of course, Leach responded to that in a way that only Leach can.

"We've broke records around here before. We're used to breaking records."

In that same interview, Harrell also tells a story about the time Leach fired defensive coordinator Lyle Stenencich in the middle of the Oklahoma State game that year ... over the headset. That game is better known for OSU coach Mike Gundy's "I'm a man, I'm 40" rant.

Lest you think all that turmoil was disruptive, Tech finished the season 9-4 and ranked 22nd, and would go on to win 11 games in 2008, reaching No. 2 in the polls after beating -- who else? -- the Longhorns ... in Lubbock.

As a WSU fan, I'm left wondering a few things.

Is this kind of stuff going on in Pullman and we're just not hearing about it yet?

or

Is our version of Mike Leach the older, wiser, toned-down Mike Leach?

or

Is he just waiting until we start winning some games to unleash the hounds?

There are little parts of me rooting for all three of these.

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