Texas Tech suspends Coach Mike Leach indefinitely

I did not see another thread on this, if I missed it, mods please lock this one.


The suspension is a result of a complaint from Adam James and his family regarding how the player was treated after a concussion:

– On Dec. 17, James said Leach told trainers to put him “the darkest place you can find.” James was sent to an equipment shed near the practice field, where a member of the athletic staff checked on James to make sure he did not lean against anything or sit on the floor. James said Leach told him that if he came out he would be kicked off the team.

– When the team returned to practice two days later, on Dec. 19, James said Leach told trainers to “find the tightest, darkest place” for the player. James, in his street clothes, was put in an electrical closet inside the football stadium for hours, again monitored by a member of the athletic staff.*
If this turns out to be true, Leach has got to be a leading contender for dumbass of the year. With all the recent news coverage about how serious concussions can be, what amounts to punishing the kid for getting injured ain’t gonna fly…

ETA: Adam James is the son of announcer Craig James, who was going to work the Alamo Bowl, but now will be replaced.

I found this ironic (or maybe not) in light of the fact that Leach was one of the most outspoken defenders of former Kansas coach Mark Mangino when he was under fire recently for mistreatment of players. Birds of a feather, I guess.

What a football game the Alamo Game will be. MSU kicked off 14 players for getting together and beating up other students at a fraternity. Now Texas Tech gets rid of its coach for mistreating a player. This is a game for the ages.
Actually only 9 were for the fight. The others came earlier. Good season.

For most of the day yesterday, I was wondering what was supposed to have happened. If it’s true I hope Leach and the staffers who helped are all shown the door immediately.

I don’t follow Texas Tech (or even the Big XII, really) but from what I’ve read about this situation there is potentially more to it than meets the eye.

On one hand:

-Rumors have it that Leach believed James was “faking” the concussion, and put him in a “shed” as punishment.
-Rumors have it that Leach has not got along with Craig James, calling him a “Little League Dad” and saying that Craig James frequently calls him to complain about his son’s lack of playing time. (One thing most people agree with is that Adam James is a mediocre player at the FBS level, obviously that means he’s still good, but not good enough to be an every-game starter at Texas Tech.)

On the other hand:
-Information has come out suggesting the building that James had to stay in was about the size of a garage, and was air conditioned.
-Due to the fact the building was air conditioned, I believe Texas Tech team doctors have said James was better off from a medical perspective being inside the building than being on the practice field.
-Leach argues he didn’t put James in the building as punishment, but instead did so to protect James’ health while still allowing James to be near the team for practices.

So I guess the question is, who is more credible?

Craig James, an ESPN analyst and former SMU football star; who has apparently been on bad terms with Leach because Leach doesn’t give his son much playing time. (As well as Adam James who is said son and who isn’t getting much playing time.)


Mike Leach, a $2.5m/year coach who has a lot of reasons to lie.

I genuinely don’t know what the answer is. It wouldn’t be the first time in football history (by a long shot) that a disgruntled player who wasn’t getting the playing time they felt they deserved tried to get “pay back” on their coach.

However it also certainly wouldn’t be the first time a college football coach engaged in improper behavior and then attempted to cover it up/lie about it.

Yeah, I don’t want to jump to conclusions here. There are two sides to every story. Buncha lawyers gonna get paid over this one before it’s over.

When I first heard the tease on our local news, “another suspension for Alamo Bowl” my thought was “Oh, Jeez. What now?” But instead of yet another suspension for Gang Green it’s the coach for TTU. I was quite relieved on one hand, but on the other the story, if true, is pretty damning. I think TTU is handling it just right, the accusations are serious enough that he should not coach during the investigation. I have no idea which side is telling the truth but it should all come out in the investigation.

Has Leach claimed that the player was allowed to sit down?

The scuttlebutt I’m reading (from unsupported sources, so I don’t really know anything either) is that Adam James is a soft, self-entitled prima donna, who is leveraging his daddy’s status to show that he’s bigger than the Head Coach.

Well, in browsing some of the college football websites I often read it sounds like more extremely different information is coming out:

-ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Mike Leach had Adam James put in a “dark electrical closet” with a “guard posted outside.”

However from other sources I’m hearing:

-Adam James was put into seclusion on two occasions after his injury. In one case it was the “practice shed” which is located near the practice field, and is apparently a climate controlled building.

-The second case of seclusion was in the visitor’s press conference room, which is near the Texas Tech football stadium (obviously this building would be climate controlled and comfortable since it is the location where opposing team’s coaches meet with the media before/after a game.)

From what I’ve read, in one of the two (and possibly both) instances, Adam James was given an exercise bike to use.

If it comes out that Mike Leach put a concussed player in what amounted to climate-controlled facilities with an exercise bike, then I honestly have no problem with that. It was over 24 hours after the concussion, I don’t see how an exercise bike could possibly hurt James, it’d be a totally different story if he was essentially locked into a Cool Hand Luke style “sweat box.”

I’ll also say if things come out with Leach not doing anything inappropriate then the fact that ESPN is reporting essentially the “anti-Leach” side of it will make ESPN look quite shady since one of their own is involved in this story.

What I’ve often found in following college football is that some of the people who have access to the most information about something are the people who have close ties with the football program in question. This means unfortunately the people who may be the most “in the know” are also the most likely to try and spin things in the program’s favor; meaning I still have to take with a grain of salt any ‘evidence’ exonerating Leach.

I’ll also add that I find it very strange the Jim Leavitt story out of South Florida isn’t getting more play.

Mark Mangino apparently had crossed many, many boundaries (openly racist towards black players, and apparently he forced an injured player to crawl across a football field that was over 100 F in temperature on his hands and knees, resulting in 2nd degree burns etc); and was rightfully fired. This got a decent amount of press.

Mike Leach is accused of locking an injure player in a “dark electrical close.” While we have no idea how true the allegations are, it appears Texas Tech is taking them seriously and giving the situation due diligence.

Jim Leavitt apparently assaults a player (is accused of grabbing his throat and punching him), and it isn’t getting a lot of press attention and from all I can tell Leavitt isn’t getting any flak from the South Florida administration.

I’ll remind everyone that if what Leavitt did is accurate, that goes well beyond what Mangino or Leach (allegedly) did. Mangino and Leach were accused of using their “coach” authority to punish a player inappropriately. Well, the thing is, these players are all adults. Mangino’s using racial epithets and making a player crawl across a dangerously hot, astroturf field is reprehensible. But the player could have said no (theoretically, in real life my experience is college football players would walk into a burning building if their coach told them to do so.)

In Leavitt’s case he committed an actual assault, and if I had done that on the streets to some random person in Florida I’d have committed a crime and would have been arrested.

I’ll also conclude that when Ohio State’s administration explained why they fired Woody Hayes, the one clear-cut thing they said was “because no school in college football would allow someone who assaulted a student-athlete to continue their employment.”

Yeah, I’ve been stunned at how little coverage the Leavitt story is getting.

But I’m not too sure about this:

I’m of the opinion that there needs to be actual evidence (or multiple eyewitness accounts, etc.) of Leach doing something wrong. He doesn’t need to be exonerated if there’s no proof that he did anything wrong. And frankly, from what I’m reading, Adam James’s account has lots of flaws, and his story stinks like roadkill.

You’d be surprised with what you can get away with 'round here. Anyway, the kid that Leavitt supposedly hit has backed away from his accusations, so a suspension would be a bit much right now.

Which is exactly what you’d expect sources within the program to say, isn’t it?

I like Leach - I’ve always had a soft spot for pass-wacky coaches - but the school is doing the right thing by suspending him during the investigation.

Yeah, I agree with this. If it boils down to two people with conflicting stories, I don’t think you can fire someone for that. I mean, even if what James said is true, if there is no evidence to support it; then I think it’d be inappropriate to take Leach’s job.

I think this story has the potential to be very embarrassing for ESPN’s Joe Schad, I was browsing the Texas Tech Red Raiders football message board just a moment ago and someone posted a picture of the “practice shed” and it looks like one of those really nice open-style “roofed” tailgating “tents” that you’ll see alumni associations or some of the big-time tailgaters put out for a game. Doesn’t look like a dark and dreary shed at all…

I’ve also read rumors that Adam James requested a transfer to another team, and Mike Leach refused.

[My understanding of NCAA football transfer rules is this: If the school you are leaving grants you a “release”, then you can immediately play, the next season, for your new school. If the school doesn’t grant a release, you have to sit out for one year. This applies to transfers within the same division, i.e. from FBS to FBS or from FCS to FCS. My understanding is a transfer from say, Division II or Division III up to FBS or FCS do not have to sit out for one year, either. My further understanding is, at least at the FBS level, a school almost never grants a release aside from situations with weird extenuating circumstances. Primarily because it is never in the interest of one FBS school to make it easy for their players to leave for other FBS schools.]

The way the story goes is, Adam James made this complaint shortly after his request for a transfer was turned down by Leach.

Something worth noting is what can the university do in response to Leach suing them? Do you typically have the right to fire an employee “for cause” (and not have to pay the many millions of dollars Leach still has owed to him) if they are suing you?

Well, he won’t be suing them if they don’t fire him, will they?

Whether they can fire him or not depends largely on the terms of his contract. There’s almost certainly a rectitude or similar clause which would allow the university to terminate him if he commits a misdemeanor or felony, plus some more arcane language about personal conduct not involving crimes.

A coach can definitely be fired “for cause”, and player abuse would be “for cause.” However in most situations I’ve ever been aware of, the university ends up paying the coach to avoid a protracted legal battle and also because a university doesn’t want to get a reputation of being a place where a coach may get fired and not get paid. That would make it a much less desirable coaching location than most FBS schools.

(Personally I don’t really like the college football coaching market in which guys like Charlie Weis make $40m to do their job poorly, guaranteed money even if they fail to do the one thing that matters–win football games.)

Edit: He’s suing to be allowed to coach the bowl game. I believe he’s making the claim that the manner in which they suspended him violates his employment contract.

As a Bama fan, I have more than a little skepticism about the claims of powerful boosters. They’ll do anything to get what they want, including sink the football program they purport to love (coughLoganYoungcough). I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the coaches for several reasons:

  1. This is a professional coach. He knows his business, and knows his limits.
  2. Rich little snots are rich little snots. And this kid is being described by people, not necessarily within the program, but within the TT fan base, as a rich little snot.
  3. A claim of inappropriate treatment can come from anyone, at any time. The assumption should be that Leach is innocent, until evidence shows that he’s guilty. If it’s merely a claim, then he should NOT be suspended for one minute. Not one second. If there’s any actual evidence that rises above innuendo (note that describing a climate-controlled facility as an “electrical closet” is not a good start on transparency), then yes, suspension is called for. If not, let him do his damn job.
  1. So were Mark Mangino, Bob Knight, Mike Leach, Rick Pitino, John Calipari…

  2. Rich little snots are people too. I don’t care if he’s Bill Gates’ kid - if he’s being made to stand for three hours in closets while concussed, he’s being grossly mistreated.

  3. Claims of inappropriate treatment don’t come from football players all the time. If there was absolutely nothing to this the investigation would already be over.

Interesting story here:


*Tech completed an initial investigation before suspending Leach. The Avalanche-Journal learned during that investigation Leach did not dispute the facts, but did not believe he had done anything wrong. Leach also told officials James was a slacker and his father was always calling and acting like a Little League dad.

Leach had until Monday to write an apology and when he did not, the university officials felt they had to take action. Leach has been suspended indefinitely, with pay, from his role as head coach.*

The school must feel he did something wrong if they ordered him to write an apology.

Kinda wondering about the rumors of legal action. I assume Leach may be seeking injunctive relief to get reinstated for the bowl game, but I have not seen confirmation of anything actually being filed yet. May be kinda tough to find a Judge willing to hear it in time to make a difference…