The paper trail of the Texas Tech case in part suggests that the TTU brass felt Mike Leach overvalued himself, and they threw around at least one name for a replacement (Art Bryles), actively sought a chance to boot Leach and when the Adam James complaint surfaced they ran with it.*
This brings to mind other programs who were unhappy with their coach not for team success but for some facet of his personality and marketability, or an idea that "they could do better," usually that they wanted more than second-place finishes. Boosters and/or administrators have structured the firing of innumerable coaches on this basis; in many, many cases, their hubris is rewarded with all-out failure due to not respecting what it takes to build a program, not appreciating their success or falling for a confident smooth talker without really investigating what he was about.
I can think of several examples:
-UCLA fired Bob Toledo in 2002 (didn't even let him coach his bowl game). Bob led a 20-game winning streak in 1997-1998, but UCLA was never the same program without QB Cade McNown. However, they hired an incompetent mediocrity in Karl Dorrell, whose career was marked by inconsistency, quarterback injuries, foolish public statements and one win over USC. They canned him after years of angst and got Dorrell's mentor in Rick Neuheisel, one of the great charlatans of modern college football.
-Notre Dame fired Tyrone Willingham. They went for the un-Tyrone, an ND alum with an outsized ego (see what I did there) who would talk trash and call out the opponent. I don't even have to give the punchline to this one.
-After TW left Stanford for Notre Dame, Stanford intentionally low-balled itself in both budget and personnel - arguing that big-time football was incompatible with the university's image. Stanford hired two head coaches because they were buddies with the AD, one incompetent and the other an a-hole who was intimidated by the players' intelligence and tried to "break" them because of it (this is factual).
Now Jim Harbaugh is there, talking about making Stanford a top-ten program, and is assisted by an AD and an admissions department who are committed to having a successful, top football program without compromising the university's integrity.
-Minnesota, a death valley of football for two decades, canned Glenn Mason after his 85th meltdown loss, this one against Texas Tech (some might say this was ironic, but I think it's just a coincidence. Doncha think?) Word was they wanted to do better than 7-5/8-4, and that Glenn didn't get along with Minnesota high school coaches. They hired motivational speaker Tim Brewster who has, to put it one way, not done anything Glenn Mason didn't already do and had a 1-11 season to boot.
-Nebraska fired Frank Solich after a 9-3 season, in what was really a revenge move from the previous 7-7 year. They started reading the papers and came to believe they weren't cool enough because they ran a "dinosaur offense." Frank was in the tough position of succeeding a legend, which made it a case of wanting to go back in time rather than forward, but they hired Bill Callahan who was a huge break in tradition. His efforts to both install a "modern" offense and inspire his players were doomed from the start due to personnel holes and the fact he was just fired from a pro team for losing control of his team.
Now NU is back to a tough-first coach and appears to be on a serious rise in a weak conference division. Funny how Nebraska's staple of option football is now mainstream again in college football, adjusted to spread systems and with a bit more passing.
-Not fired yet, but Cal fans have been complaining for years about Jeff Tedford. He took a 1-11 team to 7 wins in his first season and has made the Bears a but even in 2006 they were saying he had peaked as a coach and they needed someone new to "take them to the next level." Like Mason's teams, Cal tends to be front-runners that fade late in the season, contributing to the off-season griping.
-The only case I can think of where this plan worked was Ohio State firing John Cooper - and the real reason behind that was innumerable losses to Michigan. It pains me to say they got what they wanted.
I've seen this stuff happen innumerable times in high school programs as well. Also to arrogant people who dump their significant others because they think they can get someone who's younger or hotter or has better body parts or a fatter wallet. It's just a bad idea to play on the assumption that you are better than what you are getting, and that simply changing the coach is going to fix it.
*(Aside: there is also the chance they were uncomfortable with the success and publicity of the football program, and actually wanted to get a coach who would be comfortable with a program "glass ceiling". Academics can be very touch and go when it comes to sports publicity. A significant portion of the Duke faculty hated the lacrosse team because they represented money, alpha-males and extracurricular pursuits, and when the totally bogus rape allegations were laid they leveraged them to the hilt even after they were disproven.)