GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate (Texas) Craig James made an appearance on a Lubbock radio station this morning and attempted to defend himself against “many false statements” attributed to longtime nemesis, former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach. If you think the ex-ESPN college football analyst was some kind of bullying stage dad, that’s ok ; James doesn’t covet the support of such cynics. From the Dallas Morning News’ Tom Benning :
“There’s some people who won’t understand,” James said on KFYO-AM. “There’s some people, if they wouldn’t defend their own son, I don’t want their vote. I don’t want to run with those kind of people.”
James, a late arrival to Texas’ competitive Senate race, has been a polarizing figure in Lubbock and West Texas ever since he accused Leach of mistreating his son. Leach, who was later fired, has pushed back on those charges and cast James as an overbearing father.
Despite the ongoing controversy — Leach has lawsuits pending against Texas Tech and ESPN — James told the radio station that he plans to campaign in Lubbock and that he’s been there “many times over the last two years.”
“I don’t feel uncomfortable in Lubbock,” he said, adding that another of his sons is a junior at Texas Tech. “My family loves going out west.”
And James laughed off fresh allegations that he called Tech coaches from the broadcast booth during games to complain about his son’s playing time.
“You know how many big, high-profile people have come and gone at ESPN because of poor judgment,” said James, who’s now waging his own legal battle against the publishers of Leach’s book. “Had I done anything remotely close to any of these things that have been alleged and said by Mike Leach, ESPN would’ve gotten rid of me a long time ago.”