Leach is one of the most fascinating characters in recent college football history, and he’s been one of the most influential coaches in the modern passing game. That’s what tends to happen when your quarterbacks produce video game numbers practically every season. Leach was the offensive coordinator under Hal Mumme at Kentucky in 1997 and 1998, which is when the Air Raid offense arrived on the national radar. At the time, there hadn’t been any Wildcats drafted in the first round since running back George Adams in 1985. Twenty-six months after Leach and Mumme arrived in Lexington, Tim Couch was the first pick in the NFL draft.
Leach then spent a year as the offensive coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners with Josh Heupel at quarterback. Heupel led the conference with 3,460 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, and also sported the highest completion percentage (62.0%) in the conference. Those were big numbers in a conference where only four players threw for even 1900 yards, and was enough to land Leach the head coaching job at Texas Tech after only a season in Norman. When Leach moved to Lubbock, Texas in 2000, the quarterback cupboard appeared bare. He took unheralded sophomore quarterback Kliff Kingsbury and shaped him into the player that led the NCAA in pass attempts in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Klingsbury led the Big 12 in passing yards in both 2000 and 2001, and then as a senior, became just the third player in college football history to pass for 5,000 yards in a season (after Ty Detmer and David Klingler). Klingsbury went on to have an unremarkable career in the NFL before excelling as an assistant coach with the Houston Cougars. He followed then-head coach Mike Sumlin to Texas A&M after the 2011 season, and after turning Johnny Manziel into a Heisman Trophy winner, Kingsbury is now the new head coach at his alma mater.
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