Minutes after Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach was dismissed from his job due to allegations he twice locked a player with a concussion in confined spaces, university officials uncovered a closet full of former and current Red Raiders players in Leach's old office.
"Obviously, had we known these young men were locked away in his office closet, we would have fired him long ago," said Texas Tech president Guy Bailey. "But I am happy to report that everyone seems to be okay, although the players are very gaunt and dehydrated."
"It sure is great to see Graham Harrell again," said athletics director Gerald Myers. "I always wondered what happened to him. Turns out he was stuck on a shelf next to a box of copier paper all this time."
Officials are still gathering information from the players who were locked away, but those strong enough to speak say they were punished by Leach for everything from missing a block and being late to practice, to getting hurt or touching Leach's pirate paraphernalia without permission.
"He has a lot of cool pirate stuff in his office," said former wide reciever Mark Dyson, who people thought left the program in 2006. "There's a full-sized skeleton pirates. But he doesn't like you to touch it. As I learned quite well."
Texas Tech officials have begun a search of other closets Leach had access to at both the football offices and the team's stadium.
"I remember hearing something from a closet in the basement of the stadium earlier this season," said Myers. "I thought a mop or something fell off a shelf. But maybe our defense is locked in there."
Leach's longtime secretary, Myra Thomas, says somewhere Leach has a pirate map of the Texas Tech campus with all of his closets marked with Xs.
"He took it with him, though," says Thomas. "That and his sword."
Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach has been suspended for locking a Red Raiders player in acloset. This is not surprising. Of course a noted pirate enthusiast would imprison someone. In fact, imprisonment is just one of Leach's favorite punishments.
Punishment #1: Imprisonment This is a great first step. But it rarely works. Take, for example, me getting suspended for locking this kid with the concussion away. Or Johnny Depp escaping easily from prison in the first "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Punishment #2: Swabbing the deck I don't have a deck, per se, in the Texas Tech football offices. (This is one of my greatest life disappointments, by the way. I realize we're hundreds of miles away from the ocean here in Lubbock. But is it that hard to put our offices in a wooden ship?) So I just make them swab the upper deck of the stadium.
Punishment #3: Changing the newspaper at the bottom of my parrot's cage I also don't have a parrot (this is my second biggest disappointment in life). But I look at my assistants as parrots. I trained them to echo everything I say. And also to go to the bathroom on newspapers.
Punishment #4: Walking the plank As a football coach, I've never understood the reason for the existence of other sports other than men's basketball. But then I saw the diving board at our aquatics center.
Punishment #5: Skull cleaning and polishing As a football coach, I've never understood the reason for the existence of academics. But then I saw our Anatomy and Physiology building.
Punishment #6: Scurvy This one takes a while but has perhaps the biggest impact. Just withhold fruits and vegetables from the player for several months. The best way to do this is locking him in a closet.
Punishment #7: Treasure chest carrying Although I like to search for treasure in the offseason, I have yet to find any because treasure maps seem to be very vague. (Can I get more than an "X" on a map drawn from memory with a quill pen, please!) However, I do have a chest in my office full of trophies from non-major bowls such as the Tangerine Bowl, Holiday Bowl and Gator Bowl. They are plenty heavy, although worth nothing.
Punishment #8:Arrrrrrgh-oning my shirts I love to wear puffy shirts. But the university makes me iron them down so they look like polo shirts. This painstaking task usually takes hours.
Punishment #9: Forced watching of the Pittsburgh Pirates And I don't mean one game either. The whole season. I get the Extra Innings package for their dorm and home and require them to watch every game, including games against the Reds twice. This is obviously my harshest punishment and should be doled out with great discretion.