Unauthorized ESPN Interview Makes Leavitt’s Case

Monday Brett McMurphy of AOL FANHOUSE published an extensively-sourced story that alleged USF Football Coach Jim Leavitt punched Bulls player Joel Miller in the face twice after grabbing him by the throat. Miller’s father Paul told McMurphy, “You do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail. Somewhere [Leavitt] crossed the line.”

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

(Anybody seen the truth?)

Tuesday Paul Miller reversed course to the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: “I stand behind the university and Coach Leavitt 100 percent. I truly believe there was no malicious intent to hit anyone. He grabbed his shoulder pad, but it was like a motivational thing.

Joel Miller finally spoke on the record about the incident to ESPN’s Joe Schad yesterday: “He [Leavitt] never did any of those things and he never has that I’ve seen. I had some things on my mind because my Grandfather had died the day before.

USF has confirmed it has launched an investigation into Leavitt’s conduct, which also included meeting the media with a bloody nose after the USF Nov. 21 game in which Paul Miller claimed Leavitt had abused his son.

Leavitt has refused comment on the investigation, saying, “It wouldn’t be fair to the process.

But what about Joel Miller’s comments about Leavitt to Schad yesterday? Did USF investigators know Miller was going to make public statements about the case to ESPN? Read more…

Dad Suddenly Backtracks On Leavitt Abuse Claim

Greg Auman of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES has a strange follow to a report by Brett McMurphy of AOL FANHOUSE that five witnesses claimed USF football coach Jim Leavitt struck Bulls player Joel Miller twice in the team’s locker room at halftime of USF’s game against Louisville on Nov. 21.

Jim Leavitt Grabs USF Player's Facemask

“I’m appalled at it,” Leavitt said (in a denial of the charge) 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.”

What the hell? That certainly wasn’t the tone of Joel Miller’s father in the AOL report. Paul Miller said of Leavitt, among other things:

“You do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail,” Paul Miller, Joel’s father and a former Tampa police officer, told FanHouse. “Somewhere [Leavitt] crossed the line.”

Auman did not note Paul Miller’s earlier comments in the AOL Fanhouse piece nor the reason for Miller’s profound change of tone about Leavitt. Read more…

7 People Claim USF Coach Leavitt Hit Player Twice

Brett McMurphy of AOL FANHOUSE reports this afternoon:

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

(Leavitt also sported bloody face after the game in question)

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.”

Jim Leavitt Grabs USF Player's Facemask

(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.

Read more…

USF Football Coach Bloodied After Player Headbutt

Jim Leavitt never lets us down. As his USF squad plods through a relatively forgettable season, Leavitt still gives us reason to care - like when he shows up to his postgame presser yesterday looking like this:

USF Coach Jim Leavitt Bloodied After Headbutting Player

Greg Auman of the St. Peterburg Times reports that, “when USF coach Jim Leavitt took the podium after Saturday’s 34-22 win against Louisville, he looked as if he’d played in the game himself, with a bloody gash across the bridge of his nose and a red mark above his left eye.

Leavitt wouldn’t tell the media how he bloodied his face, but his players sold him out. Read more…

Hazardous: Wearing Facemask Around Jim Leavitt

USF Coach Jim Leavitt, who has been known for a dodgy equilibrium in the past, shows off what he learned during his apparent visits to Frank Kush’s annual coaching clinic. (Too old school? Then Lou Holtz.)

Jim Leavitt Grabs USF Player's Facemask

This is the one time when the freeze frames are actually better than the video, which is after the jump. Read more…