Mike Leach says he didn’t mistreat players in an interview with ESPN and Times
–(www.FinancialNewsUSA.com)– 01/01/2010 – Most Popular industry news provided by Financial News USA. Fired Texas Tech coach Mike Leach says he did not mistreat a player after a concussion.
Leach spoke to The New York Times and ESPN about his firing. He was dismissed Wednesday, two days after his suspension.
The school was investigating his treatment of Adam James. The sophomore receiver said Leach twice confined him to a small, dark place after his concussion diagnosis. Leach told the Times on Thursday night and ESPN on Friday that James was lazy and acted as if entitled to special treatment.
James’ father is ESPN analyst Craig James. Leach contends Craig James tried to leverage his position as a way to get more playing time for his son.
Text messages by The Associated Press were not immediately returned by Leach. Nor was a phone message to interim head coach Ruffin McNeill and Leach attorney Ted Liggett.
Leach told the Times he ordered that James be taken “out of the light” and did not know specifically where he went. He also said “He was never locked anywhere. At no point was he locked anywhere.”
In interviews with the Times and ESPN, Leach described a divisive and tense relationship with Craig James, whom he said he had to deal with more than every other parent on the team combined. He said James frequently attended practices and called assistant coaches.
“I think he used his position at ESPN to try to coerce me into allowing Adam to play more,” Leach told the Times. “But the thing about it is as the coach, I watch every inch of film. I’m deferring to the judgment of 12 people as we look at the film on who should play and who should play when and then we make our decision based on that. I don’t feel like it’s fair to the other players and I don’t think it’s the right way to do business to allow influence and position to dictate when you play a young man.”
When Craig James was asked about those claims, he called them “absurd,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
Leach also told the Times that the release of a series of e-mail messages obtained by The Dallas Morning News proved that the university did not want him around. In one, a booster recommended to Tech administrators, “You should sign a contract that would not cost us too much to fire him.”
“It’s shocking to me that there’s people working together that were trying to get me fired last year after an 11-1 regular season,” Leach told the newspaper. About Financial News USA
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