"University of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt grabbed a player by the throat then struck him twice in the face during halftime of the Bulls' Nov. 21 game with Louisville, the player's father, his high school coach and five members of USF's football program told FanHouse."
This sucks if true, but I'm waiting till it's reported elsewhere. Just for context, this same reporter (Brett McMurphy, formerly of the Tampa Tribune) has *repeatedly* reported false or seriously exaggerated information regarding USF athletics that, if true, would have been terrible. Off the top of my head, some of his reports that wound up being without substance:
- That a former USF linebacker named Ben Moffitt had his wife write every paper for him throughout his college career, including several instances of plagiarism.
- That the men's basketball team was under investigation for serious recruiting violations and stood to lose two scholarships (there was no such investigation)
- That Leavitt had found out about heavy drug use among several of his players in 2003 or 2004 (I can't remember) and helped cover it up.
... and I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting. This guy doesn't have a shred of credibility with me or many other USF fans. When Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times has something (right now he only mentions the report you've linked to), I'll consider it worth sweating about.
EDIT: To clarify, with supposedly "five members" of USF's football program supporting this story, it's certainly possible SOMETHING happened, maybe even what this report says happened, but it's at best a coin flip that Leavitt hit the kid in the throat and face, as far as I'm concerned.
From the more credible Greg Auman, who I mentioned in my first post:
USF football coach Jim Leavitt strongly denied accusations brought against him in a report by FanHouse.com alleging that he grabbed a football player by the throat and struck him in the face.
According to the report, Leavitt, upset over a mistake by sophomore walk-on Joel Miller during the first half of a Nov. 21 game against Louisville, grabbed Miller by the throat, then struck him twice in the face during halftime.
The report is based on comments from Miller's father, Miller's high school coach and five members of the USF program.
"I'm appalled at it,'' Leavitt said Monday afternoon. "It's absolutely not true. It's so wrong. It's so far out there. I'm very disappointed something like this would be written.''
In contrast to the report, Miller's father, Paul, in a conversation Monday with the Times, said he does not think his son was so much as slapped and said the incident has been overexaggerated.
"I stand behind the university and Coach Leavitt 100 percent,'' Paul Miller said. "I truly believe there was no malicious intent to hit anyone. He grabbed his shoulder pad, but it was like a motivational thing. After talking with Joel, he was satisfied there was not a slap, not at all.''
The alleged incident took place during the same halftime in which Leavitt headbutted a helmeted player, leaving a bloody gash across the bridge of Leavitt's nose and a red mark above his left eye.
Asked if he had any contact with Miller during halftime, Leavitt said, "I shook a lot of different guys, but not in a forceful way. In my heart, I know I did nothing wrong. Nothing like that. I care so much for him.''
So, in other words, what got Bob Knight shitcanned at Indiana (and what also raised eyebrows at Texas Tech), only minus (as far as I know) Knight's reputation (both as a coach and as a powder keg). It'll be interesting to see if he meets the same fate. But seeing as the father, one of the primary sources for the report, says that it was overblown, I'm guessing not.
You wanted the best, you got... the Out of Context Quote of the Week.
"Besides, you already had me at "Blood and semen."" (Zeruel)
Originally posted by drjayphdSo, in other words, what got Bob Knight shitcanned at Indiana (and what also raised eyebrows at Texas Tech), only minus (as far as I know) Knight's reputation (both as a coach and as a powder keg).
I think it was pretty undisputed that Knight did what was alleged. Unless new information comes forward, I, as someone familiar with these two reporters, do not believe at all that the first report is an accurate representation of the story. There's no reason for you guys to know or care about this, but I am telling you the person behind the first report is as irresponsible a reporter as I've ever encountered. It disappoints me that he continues to have a forum to do whatever it is he thinks he is doing.
Also, Jim Leavitt is perhaps just as crazy as Bobby Knight, he's just not as successful (yet!). Note the bit about busting his forehead open after headbutting a helmeted player. It wouldn't have shocked me to learn this was true, and if it is true to the extent it was originally reported he deserves to be fired, as sad as that would make me. But I'd be more likely to believe it if wmatistic came on here and said sources had told him about it. At least he doesn't have a history of just making shit up.
Well it's good to see this may not be a big deal. Would have been a horrible blow to that program, though I do think he's taken it as far as he can and maybe someone else could do even better.
Sounds like what ESPN did to FSU this weekend. An investigative report on FSU academics with star witnesses Fred Rouse(kicked out for drug dealing and being a douche) and Brenda Monk(set the kids up to cheat in the online class and was fired) and done by a reporter that happened to graduate from UF.
Leavitt might be one of those coaches who can build a program from the bottom to a solid program, but might not be someone who can lift them from solid to elite. Forget Knight, the comparison might be Mark Mangino. When he was somehow taking Kansas to a #1 ranking late in the regular season and an Orange Bowl, he was hailed as a coach. A few bad years later, he gets fired for being abusive. Leavitt got his team to #2, but he never took them to the tier below the Orange Bowl, let alone a BCS game.
Originally posted by redsoxnationLeavitt might be one of those coaches who can build a program from the bottom to a solid program, but might not be someone who can lift them from solid to elite. Forget Knight, the comparison might be Mark Mangino. When he was somehow taking Kansas to a #1 ranking late in the regular season and an Orange Bowl, he was hailed as a coach. A few bad years later, he gets fired for being abusive. Leavitt got his team to #2, but he never took them to the tier below the Orange Bowl, let alone a BCS game.
There's no comparison to what Jim Leavitt has done. His stock as a head coach has certainly gone down in recent years, but what he's done is still more impressive than anything Mangino ever did (I'm pretty sure Mangino never got Kansas to the Big XII title game, and it's no coincidence that Kansas got its Orange Bowl bid the same season USF got to No. 2). Leavitt didn't just build the team up, he built it from nothing, and in a state with three other powerhouse programs to boot. I also have my reservations about his ability to get USF over its current hump - many USF fans do - but I also think it's not fair to just act like the team's youth is no longer an issue.
The No. 2 ranking two years ago was fantastic, but perhaps the worst thing that has happened to the team in hindsight. I argued at the time and still think now that USF deserved that No. 2 ranking, but it was as much a result of other teams collapsing as it was USF's two big wins early in that year. And now fans and the media have it in their heads that the team is in a position to compete for a national championship and run through the Big East, and so anything less than that suggests Leavitt is in over his head. Hey, nobody wants to talk about this, but the Big East is actually pretty damn good - I'd speculate that it doesn't get talked about because a lot of people would have a lot of crow to eat, but it doesn't really matter. All I'm saying is USF not having been to a BCS bowl game 13 years into its existence and seven years after joining the FBS is understandable.
I anxiously await the year USF wins the conference, and if it doesn't happen in the next two or three years I'll be ready to call for Leavitt's head (maybe). But not yet.
One more tidbit that I find interesting and relevant while we're speaking of Mangino, and then I'm going to not talk about USF anymore: Leavitt, Mangino, Bob Stoops and probably one or two others of note I'm forgetting ALL coached on the same staff under Bill Snyder at Kansas State in the early 1990s. That's pretty impressive.
I argued Missouri should have gone to the Orange Bowl ahead of Kansas, but they ended up getting chosen, knocking off Va. Tech and going 12-1 with a BCS Bowl victory. Building from the nothing to solid is good, but South Florida did have an advantage of having a large talent pool to get into in Florida. Many more Division I players in Florida than Kansas, and Kansas had been one of the bottom programs from the major conferences for 25 years before Mangino arrived.
The problem with USF is they always start fast (5-0 this season, I believe) and then fade hard. If they stopped starting fast, they wouldn't get expectations. =P No one really remembers they were #2 for a week a few seasons ago and then lost 3 games in a row. No one outside of the fanbase. I live in South Florida and no one remembers it. It's always "Oh shit, they're 5-0 and beat (random team) pretty impressively, they might contend!" then they get blown out by a team like Pitt and everyone forgets them again.
Yes, Leavitt has done an incredible job to get to where they are, but they're not getting over the hump with him there, and if they want it to become the Big 4, they need to get over the hump.
And Kansas did not deserve that BCS bid, no, but they DID beat USF that season I believe.. I'll look that up now.. no, Kansas beat them in 2006, then USF returned the favor in 2008.
Oh, and Mangino never got Kansas to a B12 title game, but Leavitt hasn't gotten USF to within a game of a BCS spot (and Edsall at UConn has done just as well a job in getting a nobody football team to prominence in Big East, UConn actually had a BCS shot in last game vs WVU a few years ago)
2006: had a pretty decent season, won their bowl game
2007: started 6-0, lost 3 in a row, won 3 in a row, then lost 56-21 to Oregon's 32nd string QB in the Sun Bowl (I remember this game, how the fuck did they let that happen?)
2008: started 5-1, went 2-4 in final 6 games, beat Memphis in bowl game
2009: started 5-0, went 2-5 in last 7 games, waiting on bowl game vs NIU
Yeah, winning that big at any of the Kansas schools is impressive.
Leavitt's problem down there is still recruiting. He can get a few gems, but can't seem to get over the hump there. This years class is ranked 60th, which doesn't make sense coming off the solid class he got last year and the win over FSU. I mean like I've said I knew that one win wouldn't make a ton of difference, but things shouldn't get worse.
They could use a five star that actually lives up to the rating, unlike that knucklehead Ford.
I wish I could see through the all-consuming cynicism that this off-season has caused me to celebrate this move. I'll give them credit, they at least made sure not to screw up the best thing they've had since the day Walter Payton hung up his jersey.