Brett McMurphy of AOL FANHOUSE reports this afternoon:
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.
The player alleged to have been struck by Leavitt was 6-foot, 190-pound walk-on Joel Miller, who plays exclusively on special teams. Miller’s father Paul claims that a first-half mistake by his son is what led Leavitt to allegedly attack his son.
When contacted by reporter McMurphey, Leavitt refused to discuss the alleged incident: “I’ll visit with you about recruiting. All the stuff we do in there [the locker room] … I’ll visit with you about recruiting. Things that happen or don’t happen usually are kept within the team — whether they happen or don’t happen. If you want to talk about recruiting, I’ll talk about recruiting.”
All witnesses who reported the incident to McMurphy requested anonymonity except Joel’s father Paul. Joel refused comment when contacted about the incident.
McMurphy notes that it is not known if “Athletic Director Doug Woolard was aware of the incident that the entire team and staff knew had occurred.”
(Leavitt’s intensity has been well-chronicled
Paul Miller reports that two days after his soon Joel was allegedly attacked, he confronted Leavitt
“Coach I want to talk to you about what happened,” Joel told Leavitt on Nov. 23.
“Before you say anything,” said Leavitt, according to what Miller told others in USF’s program and his father, “just know I am the most powerful man in this building.”
Interestingly though, the day after football coach Mark Mangino resigned from the University of Kansas after being investigated for abusing player, Leavitt apologized to Joel Miller.