Leach's deal should boost Tech's momentum

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It would have been hard to imagine Jones AT&T Stadium without all those "Jolly Roger" flags that have been so prominently displayed the last several seasons.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach's contract extension will enable him to remain in Lubbock for the next five seasons. The announcement will also keep one of the most innovative and original characters coaching in a place where he has thrived over the past nine seasons.

In the process, he has made the school's football program a viable contender in the Big 12 South Division -- a noteworthy task considering the power of Texas and Oklahoma concentrated atop the division.

Leach has made inroads and boosted the Red Raiders to rarefied status in 2008. Tech started with a 10-game winning streak and soared to No. 2 in the national rankings. The Red Raiders' 11 victories matched a school record as they made their ninth bowl trip in his nine-season coaching tenure.

In the process, he did it with a panache that gave the program a national identity. How else could Tech have imagined being featured in national television games, or during Leach's interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" that represented almost an infomercial for the program and his accomplishments?

That success has enabled the program to make recruiting inroads that resulted in Leach's best class, announced earlier this month. Particularly noteworthy are the defensive players attracted who might give Tech more of an opportunity to be competitive in the conference rather than relying on Leach's traditional offensive-heavy philosophy.

The colorful Leach is probably the best salesman the school could ask for. Having him in place for the next five seasons will be intriguing to see how much more growth the program can make.

Tech officials are ecstatic about what appears to be in store for them after Leach's agreement to the new deal.

"The deal has been done and shook on, and I'm happy that it's done," Tech board member Mark Griffin told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Coach Leach has brought renown to that university that we've not seen in my lifetime, at least, and we're certainly hoping for better stuff.

"I'm pleased that the parties were able to come to an agreement."

And the best part of all? We'll probably get to see the Texas Tech Goin' Band from Raiderland decked out in those cool-looking pirate costumes again sometime next season.

Because that's something as unique to the Big 12 and all of college football as Leach is himself.