Nebraska Football: Mike Leach magic trick almost lured ex-Husker to Texas Tech

Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Mike Leach (Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports)
Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Mike Leach (Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports) /

Since the sad passing of Mike Leach earlier this week, people from all over the college football world have been sharing their personal stories about run-ins with the famed coach. That includes one story shared by former Nebraska football star Blake Lawrence, who says that while he was pretty convinced he was always going to be a Husker, a magic trick done by the then-Texas Tech coach almost convinced Lawrence to change course.

On Twitter, Lawrence shared his story of a recruiting visit to Texas Tech that underlined what a unique personality Mike Leach has always been. In doing so the former Nebraska football star also gave an inside look in the unique way the coach did everything, including recruiting.

The former Husker linebacker, who played in Lincoln from 2007 to 2009 started his story off by saying that his conversations back in 2006 with Leach over the phone were both “quick and quirky” so he didn’t know what to expect when he visited Lubbock in the summer before his senior year of high school.

"“After getting a tour of the facilities, it was time to meet the head coach. I was ushered into an expansive office with a big desk towards the back wall. Coach Leach sat with his hands flat on top of the desk. There was a bicycle hanging from the ceiling above him. As I approached the desk, Coach Leach didn’t stand. He didn’t even speak. He gestured to the open seat in front of his desk. I took my seat. Silence. ‘…uhhh hey coach’”"

The former Nebraska football star then said that in an attempt to get the conversation going he asked about the bike, to which Leach said he didn’t ride, but just thought it looked cool there.

The subject then quickly turned to Mike Leach’s big sales pitch. That pitch was that Lawrence was going to do a magic trick and if he got it right, he had to commit to Texas Tech.

"I accepted the challenge and awaited instructions as Leach shuffled a deck of cards. “You say ‘red’ and I put a card in THIS pile,” he pointed to an open spot on his desk ‘you say ‘black’ I put a card in THIS pile.’ ‘‘Red’ I said. He placed the first card. red red red black…’ This continued until all 52 cards were gone from Coach Leach’s hands. “Now, Blake, if you’re a real magician, then all of THIS pile should be RED” Leach emphasized, ‘and THIS pile BLACK.’‘Yep’ I said (knowing there’s no way I did this right)"

But it turned out that Leach had indeed worked the magic trick so that everything lined up the way he wanted. Lawrence said that he was flabbergasted and when he looked up and into Leach’s eyes, the coach said, “ready to be a Red Raider?”

The former Nebraska football star obviously ended up picking the Huskers, but he said that Leach had definitely gotten in his head and had him thinking about Texas Tech. And that magic trick clearly stuck with him, all these years later.