Graham Harrell

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Former Texas Tech QB: Leach cussed out Big 12 commish, fired DC in the middle of games

Mike Leach always keeps his quarterbacks in close company, and has never been shy about sharing his opinion, so it’s only natural that one of his former signal callers would have some great stories from his playing days.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell (Photo: AP)

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell (Photo: AP)

Former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell was a special guest at the Red Raiders game against Kansas State last Saturday, and shared a couple of those stories during an interview as part of the AT&T Fan Zone Tour.

During the Red Raiders’ 2007 game against Texas, Harrell said Leach actually called then-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe from his cell phone on the sideline to complain about the officials. Tech lost the game 59-43, and Leach called to alert the commissioner he was going to rip the Big 12 officials after the game.

“I can remember in the third quarter, he’s pulling his cell phone out,” Harrell said. “He always talked to me between series, so he’s talking to me and he pulls his cell phone out. 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 postgame press conference because I’ve got some stuff to say.'”

Leach let the referees have it after the game, noting head official Randy Christal lived in Austin, and was fined $10,000 by the Big 12 Conference — the largest fine in conference history.

In another story, also from the 2007 season, Harrell recalled that Leach essentially fired defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich in the third quarter of the Red Raiders’ defensive 49-45 loss at Oklahoma State.

“We go in at halftime and we had just crushed it offensively, and he goes over to the defensive coordinator and is dog cussing him in the locker room,” Harrell said. “Because I was in the coaches’ office which is where the quarterbacks went — he’s just talking down to Setencich. And I liked Setencich, but I was like, ‘Man, that’s rough. That’s nothing I want to see.’

“Then in the third quarter, we go score and it’s going back and forth again. He got on the headset and he told Lyle that, ‘This is probably your last game as a defensive coordinator.’ I was like, ‘Jeez. That’s not something I need to hear either.’

“He kind of fired him in the middle of the game.”

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