Worst Job In America? Wyoming Fires Hoops Coach

I’ve learned today that Heath Schroyer has been fired as head basketball coach at the University of Wyoming. The coach, who told his players of his ouster this afternoon in a team meeting, will be replaced for the balance of the season by associate head coach Fred Langley. Schroyer had three years on his contract remaining at a Mountain West-low $160,000 per season - all of which will be bought out by the school’s boosters.

Heath Schroyer Fired

(Wyoming: No Low Budget, High Expectations)

Schroyer departs after only 3 1/2 seasons and a 49-68 overall record at Wyoming. The coach was brought in by Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman primarily to clean up off-court and academic issues while keeping the underfunded Cowboys basketball program competitive in the Mountain West.

Schroyer achieved the former, upgrading the academic performance of Cowboy players significantly during his tenure while eliminating off-court behavior issues. But injuries to key players, including former MWC freshman of the year Afam Muojeke and highly-touted junior college prospect Luke Martinez, and a 2010-11 roster featuring only one senior has wreaked disaster on Wyoming’s record this season. (8-15, 1-8 in the Mountain West.) Read more…

USF Report Out; Details Leavitt’s Lies About Abuse

The big USF report is out (when’s it available on Kindle?). The University of South Florida released the 33-page tome today, which was three weeks and 29 interviews in the making, and charges that head coach Jim Leavitt grabbed sophomore Joel Miller by the throat and hit him twice in the face at halftime of USF’s home game with Louisville. It’s entertaining reading, in more way than one.

Jim Leavitt

Leavitt was fired on Friday for striking a player and lying to investigators. The investigation found that Leavitt “inappropriately grabbed the throat and slapped the face of a student athlete.” But the report, first released as a pdf file by the USF radio station, had an ironic comedy element as well. Read more…

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.

Read more…

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…

Erin Andrews To “Start Thinking About A Family”?

It’s been disconcerting to see the rather muted appearances of a college football fixture like Erin Andrews this season. Yes, she’s been around, and yes, she’s certainly got an excuse for a decreased presence, but we’ve been a little disheartened all the same. Has this whole peephole stalker thing really gotten to her?

Erin Andrews on Oprah

If we had to guess, we’d say “yes, it has.” That’s because in her recent interview with FANHOUSE, Andrews still had good things to say about her job; she just also had good things to say about things that weren’t her job, namely cutting back her work and, in her words, starting a family.

Read more…

USF Kicker Survives 35-Foot Busch Gardens Fall

When the USF football team gets together and discusses what they did during their summer vacation, Maikon Bonani will have a whopper of a story to tell - one that might even get the actual football players to speak with a kicker. That’s because, as the TAMPA TRIBUNE reports, Bonani survived a 35-foot fall from a ride at Busch Gardens yesterday, although he suffered several serious injuries including a cracked vertebrae in his back and remains hospitalized.

Skyride and Maikon Bonani

Bonani was working at the Skyride, an aerial tram ride that takes tourists on gondolas over the majority of the park. It’s not supposed to be a thrill ride, but is was for Bonani after he got caught on a gondola while trying to check if it was unlocked. He held on for about 50 feet before falling to the ground. If only he could have locked his legs around it - everyone knows that arms are useless on a kicker.

Read more…