Donald Trump to Miami: Hire Mike Leach

Mike Leach would love to be back on the sideline next season. He says he just hasn't heard from anyone interested in hiring him yet.

The former Texas Tech coach is getting some lobbying help for the open job at Miami, though.

Donald Trump sent a letter to university president Donna Shalala this week, suggesting the Hurricanes hire Leach to replace the departed Randy Shannon. Leach and Trump have been friends for several years.

"It'd be fun" to coach at Miami, Leach told The Associated Press.

After all, it's just a three-hour drive to Miami from Key West, Fla., where Leach moved his family from Lubbock shortly after his dismissal last December.

Besides Miami, there are Big Ten coaching vacancies at Indiana -- which fired Bill Lynch last weekend -- and Minnesota, which dismissed Tim Brewster during the season. Speculation abounds about the future of Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, which ended the year 7-5, and Pac-12-bound Colorado fired Dan Hawkins, too.

"I think most folks know where to find me," Leach said.

The fact that he hasn't heard from any schools with openings, "further illustrates the damage" the firing has had on his reputation, Leach said.

Texas Tech fired Leach on Dec. 30, 2009, two days after suspending him amid allegations he mistreated Adam James, a receiver with a concussion. James, the son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James, has said Leach twice ordered him to stand for hours while confined in a dark place during practice.

Leach has denied he mistreated the player and suspects an $800,000 bonus he was to have received Dec. 31, 2009, was the reason he was fired. He has sued the university for wrongful termination and filed a separate libel suit last week that accuses ESPN and a Dallas PR agency of slander.

As for football, Leach said he doesn't care which conference he winds up in. What matters to him, he said, is to coach a competitive team at a school that backs his emphasis on academics and in a position where there would be stability.

At least he has Trump on his side. The tycoon lobbied Miami to hire Leach in 2006, when they ultimately chose Shannon. University officials confirmed the authenticity of Trump's note Wednesday.

"You made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech ... and you can now get him for the right price," Trump wrote to Shalala.