Player Not Present For “Abuse” Got Leavitt Fired

Jim Leavitt’s tenure at USF ended today after a second USF player came forward on Wednesday to claim publicly that the coach had allegedly abused South Florida player Joel Miller at halftime of the Bulls’ Nov. 21 game vs. Louisville.

Colby Erskin Got Jim Leavitt Fired

(Colby Erskin’s new account of alleged abuse got Leavitt fired)

Wednesday, Bulls wide receiver Colby Erskin claimed WDAE-AM and AOL’s Brett McMurphy that Miller told him of the initially alleged abuse and asked for his advice on what he should do about it. Less than 48 hours later, Leavitt was fired.

Erskin to AOL:

“Joel told me that coach Leavitt was in his face and yelling at him for getting a penalty on a special teams play. He (Joel) said that Coach asked him a question about the play and Joel said he was hesitant to answer. Coach asked him the question a second time and Joel still didn’t answer, so Leavitt grabbed him with one hand around Joel’s neck and he slapped him twice with the other.”

Ironically, Erskin himself was not in the locker room for the incident and did not witness Leavitt’s alleged abuse.

After Erskin confirmed Leavitt’s alleged abuse through Miller, AOL’s McMurphy reports,”Leavitt cleaned out his locker and threw his personal effects into a trash bin. Erskin said he believed that Leavitt suspected him of leaking the story to the media.

Interestingly though, another USF player stepped forward in an interview published this morning in the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES to dispute that Miller was abused.

Sophomore safety Jerrell Young to reporter Greg Auman:

“I speak for most of the team (except) a couple of bitter players: We want Coach Leavitt and that’s what we’re sticking by,” Young said Thursday. “I don’t think he did anything to cost him his job. I’ve been playing since Little League and grabbing shoulder pads, that’s petty stuff. Call my mama, and she’ll tell a coach to grab you like that. He didn’t grab the throat or slap. It was nothing in that context.”

Miller and his father Paul backtracked from their original statements that Leavitt abused Joel Miller.

Jim Leavitt Accused Of Abusing USF Player Joel Miller (Inset)

(Inset: Joel Miller)

Young also defended his coach and denied that Miller was abused. But it is clear that some sort of confrontation took place between Leavitt and Joel Miller, and in the context of Mark Mangino and Mike Leach being fired in the past three weeks following abuse allegations, no one should be surprised that Leavitt was let go.

Jim Leavitt Grabs USF Player's Facemask

Especially considering Leavitt’s already well-documented “aggressive” coaching style with his players.

Also, important to note AOL’s Brett McMurphy’s contribution to the Leavitt story. Without his work none of this would’ve come up at all.