The new ‘hands-on’ approach to coaching: The unfortunate cases of Mark Mangino, Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt

bobby-knight-yells-at-playerBobby Knight used to manhandle players. In his days at Indiana University, Knight was known for throwing chairs, roughing up the occasional athlete and melting down at the random post-game press conference. Despite his success, Knight was known as much for his temper tantrums as he was for his titles. When you sent your kid to play for Knight, you knew what you were getting: a strict disciplinarian. In some sick and twisted way, Knight made treating a player in that fashion almost acceptable.

That was until Neil Reed. It was Reed’s allegations that Knight choked him in practice, charges that were later confirmed when a video of the incident was made public, that ultimately led to Knight’s dismissal.

This season, the ‘hands on’ approach to coaching has taken on new meaning. While it might seem unfair to compare Mark Mangino, Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt to Bobby Knight, they all share one thing in common. They were all fired from their respective positions amid allegations that they in one way or another mistreated one of their players.

Mangino’s, Leach’s and Leavitt’s careers are strikingly similar. Even more so now that they have all been terminated. They were all successful college football coaches, the founders of their current (or former) programs. In a conference traditionally dominated by Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, both Leach and Mangino made their lesser storied programs competitive on a national level. Leach consistently had Texas Tech in the running for a Big 12 championship. Last year, it was Texas Tech who ruined Texas’ perfect season, knocking them out of the national championship game. Mangino rebuilt the Kansas program, not easy to do at a basketball school. In 2007, he led them to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. It wasn’t long ago that Jim Leavitt’s USF Bulls were in the running for a Big East, and potential national, championship. They were ranked as high as #2 in the polls, something unheard of for any school in the sunshine state not named Florida, Florida State or Miami.

mike-leach-texas-tech-carried-off-by-playersThe tenure of all three came to a disheartening end in the past thirty days. Mangino allegedly shouted racially insensitive comments towards one of his players. Leach allegedly instructed a trainer to lock a concussed player in an equipment shed. While the details of the Leavitt case are still unclear, the results aren’t. Leavitt is gone and so is his staff. Boxes packed, offices cleared out. USF now begins the search for only the second coach in its young history.

In this day and age of relentless media scrutiny, no program wants to associate itself with any sort of wrongdoing, especially if it involves the mental or physical abuse of one of its student athletes. With so much emphasis on winning, sometimes we forget that these 6’5”, 300 pound men are still only nineteen years old. It appears some coaches have as well.

The job of a coach, particularly in the college ranks, is first and foremost to mold boys into men. That’s not to say that Knight, Leach, Mangino and Leavitt didn’t do that. Their achievements on a personal level with the countless players they’ve mentored far outweigh the negativity of one particular incident. Unfortunately for them, however, it is those incidents, the Neil Reeds, the Raymond Browns, the Adam James and the Joel Millers for which they’ll ultimately be remembered.

There are no winners here. The kids don’t win. They’re labeled as soft or prima donnas. The programs don’t win. They’re tarnished with the image of being unable to police themselves. And the coaches don’t win. Leach, Mangino and Leavitt will all have trouble finding high-profile jobs, the incidents a dark spot on their respective resumes.

Despite the constant criticism of his coaching techniques, anyone who ever played for coach Knight immediately came to his defense. His graduation rates were second to none, his legacy unquestioned. After all, he is the winningest coach in men’s college basketball history. Similarly, Mangino, Leach and Leavitt rank among the most successful coaches of their respective schools. Leavitt was the only coach USF had ever known. But certain allegations are too damning to recover from.

jim-leavitt-bloody-noseLeavitt coached fourteen years at South Florida. He put the program on the map. Yet the mood was far from celebratory at Friday’s press conference when university president Judy Genshaft and Athletic Director Doug Woolard announced they were moving on. These are not the kind of press conferences schools like to give.

More details will eventually emerge from the Leavitt case, but we may never know the full truth. Leavitt has denied any inappropriate behavior. So have Mangino and Leach. In cases this severe, a coach is guilty until proven innocent. Football is a contact sport. How fine is the line between coaching and coddling, between tutoring and torment?

Now these schools must all start anew. They’re programs will suffer in the meantime. Nick Sabans and Urban Meyers don’t grow on trees. Kansas, Texas Tech and USF already have two strikes against them having to compete for recruits in areas where larger programs already have a leg up. The recent dismissal of their football figureheads won’t help them in that cause.

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57 Replies to “The new ‘hands-on’ approach to coaching: The unfortunate cases of Mark Mangino, Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt”

  1. When are your articles going to be picked up nationaly for print? You’re a very good writer!

  2. Some have, D.

    And thank you for the kind words.

    Pick up the latest Creative Loafing and you might just find yours truly.

    Some people will just print anything.

  3. I say close the program. When I went to USF it was no football. I am sure that the kid caused this to happen, no matter what the coach did.
    But hearing that in a year that USF is going to play UF, I say close the football at USF.
    I graduated from USF and can’t stand the school. If SPC was a 4 yr. college at the time I would have finished there as my late husband( died in accident) and I fell in love there and I couldn’t bare to be away from him. So I was in the dorm and he drove back and forth from Seminole everyday. it was horrible for him.
    I wnated to be at UF, but went to a university I hated. It had anti-American professors and students there back then.
    Close the football program then you people won’t have any problems….
    I feel sorry for Leavitt as he was so well known to the players that when they started something with him I guess he just finished it as a parent would. I hope he gets an opportunity somewhere else as he had the dedication it takes to have a winning team. its sad.
    But now, JUDY, close the football and be done with it.

  4. All is not lost, Adelle. And college football brings too much revenue into the university for them to just shut things down.

    It will be interesting to see how Leavitt will be remembered.

    He did build the program. When he had them at #2, he could do no wrong. In the wake of this recent incident, he’s being called as a hothead.

    USF should be in good shape. Despite his legacy, one coach does not a program make. The school, and the program, should be fine.

  5. I don’t know what all the fuss is, about coaches getting rough with players. Todays badboy coaches don’t have anything on oldtimers like Woody Hayes and Bobby Knight. I guess players today are just a bunch of pussies.

  6. If Leavitt did strike a player, there is no excuse for that and he should go. The other two coaches were ‘mean’ to some players. Oh, my!

    Way back during the last century, coaches would get in your face, curse you, and call you names. It resulted in you performing better, or, quitting. These coaches are my age, so I’m pretty sure that they grew up being coached like this. I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, but I will bet folding money that at least one coach at every major program acts like this. It may be the head coach, but more likely a position or strength coach.

    All three of these coaches had programs peak a couple of years ago, and have dropped since then. I’ll also bet that if any of the three had their team in a BCS bowl this year, they would still be coaching.

  7. I’ve been reading your posts for months, but this is the first time where I feel compelled to have my opinion/comments posted for all to see.

    In a country that allows 18 year old boys to join the military and be shipped off into dangerous, deadly, inhospitable, war torn regions around the world, these college football players have NO right to complain against a coach that either physically or verbally “abused” them. Unless they truly felt their life was in danger, I’m sick of hearing about these allegations of “abuse”. To be a football player, college or pro, requires toughness…physically, mentally and emotionally. The player EARNS respect!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning the coaches action, but if the player can’t handle DISCIPLINE, MOTIVATION, TOUGH LOVE from the coaching team, than the player doesn’t possess the toughness to be a football player!

    Maybe the player should consider joining the military instead…oh wait, the drill sergants dole out DISCIPLINE, MOTIVATION & TOUGH LOVE, too!

  8. Chris

    The words ‘ student athlete’ comes to mind and the way that the as_holes such as Knight , Leach and Leavitt have acted with such arrogance gives you the impression that these kids are nothing more than ‘chattel’ to do with as they please. They seem to forget that they were also entrusted with the kids’ wellfare and their betterment as to being productive citizens , not to be abused as and when they damn well please. And for those who seek to use the military as an example. Well there , there’s a line of demarcation that even they don’t dare to cross

    Alan Parkins

  9. Han…

    Looks like you and Lady Gator could have a pretty interesting debate.

    Although I do agree with you on. Had Leach, Mangino or Leavitt had more success recently, they might still be coaching.

  10. LG… Wow.

    First off, thanks for supporting the site. I hope you keep coming back after I potentially and respectfully disagree with you.

    I’m not entirely sure how fair the comparison is between football and the military. In one case, we’re teaching kids to play a game. In the other, we’re sending kids out to potentially die for their country.

    But there is discipline involved in both cases so let’s go with that for a second.

    I used to coach, albeit younger kids at a local YMCA. I never used tough love to get results, but then again, that’s not my style. I would never pretend to be either a football coach or a drill sergeant.

    Keep in mind though, Mangino allegedly told one of his players, whose brother had just been shot, that if he dropped another pass, he was going to send him home to get shot with his homies.

    Leach allegedly DID put a kid in harm’s way by not properly tending to a player with a head injury.

    The Leavitt case is still undetermined but here in the area, many think his tactics were a bit out of the ordinary and getting a little tired.

    Han brings up an interesting point. Had these guys been able to maintain their success lately, they might still have gigs. Remember, Knight was a legend in Indiana. It look a LOT to get him fired.

    As I mentioned in the post, football is a contact sport. Coaches chest bump their players, push them, grab their facemasks. Tough love is necessary but again, there’s a line some of these guys can cross.

    I guess the question is… would you send your kid to play for a coach that you knew potentially had a screw loose?

  11. Al… LG brings up some interesting points. Check out my response to her comments and let me know what you think.

    I agree that we can’t coddle kids and that some kids might be a little more needy than others. Some kids respond to tough love, some don’t. Some coaches use different tactics.

    Coaches will play favorites. Happens all the time.

    But I think in this day and age, coaches cannot get away with certain things anymore. Whether right or wrong, they need to mind their p’s and q’s.

  12. Yeah! Lady Gator sounds like my kind of lady. I look forward to more of her no-nonsense comments right here. Chomp, chomp!

  13. Great article Chris. To me the real issue is would you want your kid to play for someone like that? In addition to being inapproprite its also bad for recruiting. In Knights era people would gladly send their kids to boot camp. Those days are long gone. Bowden was one of the great recruiters because people trusted him with their kids.

    Adelle not sure when you went to school at USF but I loved my time there as did the group of 25 plus friends that I still attend Bulls games with. I also attended USF before we had a football team and I was a student athlete there for a time. We are proud of our school, have great memories of our time there and want to continue to build a national presence in education and athletics. You feel sorry for Leavitt? Feel sorry for the 100 or so kids on the team and the thousands of Bulls graduates he let down.

  14. Seth… not sure if you caught any part of the Leavitt presser today but he was emotional to say the least.

    He’s apparently going to fight this thing until the bitter end.

  15. Al… I think it’s back to the drawing board for the Pats. I’m not saying all is lost but they’ll have to take a long, hard look at themselves in the off-season if they want to remain atop that division.

    The Jets and Fish will only get better next year and the Pats, as they stand right now, will only get older.

  16. Chris

    What Lady G seems to have missed out on is that in the case of Leach , Leavitt and Mangino. There were numerous incidents of unwarranted behavior by the coaches. And if she actually was aware as to military protocols she’d know that even then , there are lines of demarcation that one doesn’t cross. And if they do then there are repercussions.

    This isn’t the _hit that went down in Abu Grahib, less anyone forgets that.

    As for the Pats , Belichick will have to rethink the whole issue of signing aging veterans who just don’t have it anymore.
    Their biggest mistake was in letting go of Richard Seymour and getting a bum like Derrick Burgess. He couldn’t catch a case of gonorrhea much less sack a friggin’ quarterback !


    Alan Parkins 🙂

  17. Chris

    I was under the impression …..’that love meant never having to say you’re sorrry ‘?

    So what’s up with McGwire ?

    APNewsBreak: McGwire admits using steroids

    NEW YORK (AP)—Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.

    McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. During a 20-minute telephone interview shortly afterward, his voice repeatedly cracked.

    “It’s very emotional, it’s telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it’s former teammates to try to get a hold of, you know, that I’m coming clean and being honest,” he said. “It’s the first time they’ve ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody.”

    McGwire said he also used human growth hormone, and he didn’t know if his use of performance-enhancing drugs contributed to some of the injuries that led to his retirement, at age 38, in 2001.

    “That’s a good question,” he said.

    He repeatedly expressed regret for his decision to use steroids, which he said was “foolish” and caused by his desire to overcome injuries, get back on the field and prove he was worth his multimillion salary.

    “You don’t know that you’ll ever have to talk about the skeleton in your closet on a national level,” he said. “I did this for health purposes. There’s no way I did this for any type of strength use.”

    McGwire hit a then-record 70 homers in 1998 during a compelling race with Sammy Sosa(notes), who finished with 66. More than anything else, the home-run spree revitalized baseball following the crippling strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series.

    Now that McGwire has come clean, increased glare might fall on Sosa, who has denied using performing-enhancing drugs.

    “I wish I had never played during the steroid era,” McGwire said.

    Click on link to read the rest of the article.

    Who’s McGwire kidding with the statement ..’ I wished I’d never played during the ‘steroid era’ ? Who the hell does McGwire think he’s now Is he as dumb as he __cking well looks or what ?

    The fact of the matter is, he played that way throughout the entire era and profited greatly from it financially.


    Alan Parkins 🙂

  18. Love means never having to say you’re sorry. Nicely done, Al.

    Like Wilbon, I’m a bit worn of all the steroid talk.

    I may have something up on the McGwire situation soon. That’d make the millionth article written this week about steroids which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  19. Sorry, Al, what about the unwarranted behavior of the players? These legal aged adults have to account for their behavior on and off the field. Who’s to say the “unwarranted” behavior of the coaches was actually very warranted because of the stupid actions of the players off the field…i.e. skipping classes, cheating, underage drinking, stealing, fighting, drugs and worst of the worst rape or murder!

    For some players, coaches are the closest thing to an authority figure; strict disciplinarians that won’t put up with their crap.

    So, before we start calling out coaches as mean, weird, having screws loose, let’s also keep in mind college football is a BUSINESS! A multi-million dollar BUSINESS! When a player commits to a university, especially those on athletic scholarships, whether they like it or not, they’re an “employee” of the Athletics Department, too. They’ve been recruited to perform a job at 110%, plus balance the workload of being a student, too. It’s time to grow up and do it quickly! It’s time to be a responsible ADULT.

    With coaches under immense pressure to recruit key players and have successful teams to WIN BIG, anything less than a national championship title is considered a losing season. Now, that’s PRESSURE! As a die-hard Gator fan, winning the Sugar Bowl didn’t even excite me. I wanted my beloved Gators to win the BCS Championship. That’s what the Gator Nation demands! That pressure got to Coach Meyer…BIG TIME!

    Again, I don’t condon the actions of these coaches, but let’s all take a step back and try to view the situations from all angles before drastic decisions about the coach’s abilities and mental stability are called into question.

    Oh, and Chris, if I were to have kids, you know damn well they’d be raise to show respect before they receive it! “Please”, “Thank you”, “Yes, Ma’am” and “Yes, Sir” seem to have faded from Generation ME’s vernacular. So has the emphasis on education….but that’s a whole other topic!

  20. As a non-disciplinarian myself, I’ll gonna let you guys duke this one out. Just keep it above the belt.

    However, I will say this to Lady Gator. There’s a number of coaches out there that believe in tough love. I’m all for that, as long as it doesn’t include strangling a player or dropping racial slurs. In no way, shape or form do either of those techniques teach a player the right way to be a man.

    When a player is hurt, it should ultimately up to the team’s trainers/doctors to determine whether he can take the field.

    By the way, my favorite tweet from the weekend was “Would Mike Leach have locked Colt McCoy in equipment shed after getting hurt in BCS title game?”

  21. Lady Gator

    You’re going off n a tangent here as sportschump’s piece is on the behavior of these coaches. Had he been talking about the behavior of the players , then I’d concur with you.

    Being a vet in the British military there’s a fine line that you don’t cross between discipline and abuse. In this case it was crossed by all three coaches.

    Furthermore you state about the behavior of the players ? Well if they weren’t given so much leeway to get away with so much to begin with. We wouldn’t be seeing many of the situations cropping up that we’ve seen. Some of that can be put down to the athlete’s stupidity or in some cases that of the coaches themselves allowing certain incidents to go unreported .

    Alan Parkins

  22. Al… not to speak for Ladysciplinarian Gator but I do believe her original comment implied that often the coach is forced to overstep the bounds of the acceptable to corral lesser talented or committed athletes.

    Personally my coaches never had such a problem with me when I was growing up, so I’m not so sure I can relate.

    As you might have guessed, I was without exception a model of discipline and dedication.

    Wait, we talkin’ about practice?

  23. Chris

    Be that the case but it still doesn’t excuse their behavior. What of the coaches who knowingly let their athletes get away with misdemeanors ? So let’s not try and differentiate, all parties have their part to play. Less we forget that to begin with. You can’t try and excuse the inexcusable.

    Whoa is me , I wonder what Selig will now be saying about McGwire ? This moron had the temerity to suggest that McGwire was ‘ a man of principle’ ? So what does that make Roger Maris ? Chopped liver ?


    Alan Parkins 🙂

  24. Chris

    Loves does mean having to say ‘ you’re sorry’ . So one can only surmise what Bucs’ safety Jermaine Phillips was trying to tell his wife while he was choking her ? What a douche-bag !

    Courtesy of AP and Yahoo Sports

    Bucs’ safety Phillips accused of choking wife

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips(notes) has been charged with trying to choke his wife during an argument.

    According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office press release, Phillips was charged with domestic battery by strangulation. Jail records indicated he is scheduled to be released on his own recognizance Monday.

    Authorities say Phillips’ wife called 911 Sunday and said her husband had grabbed her around the neck. She said the couple argued after she confronted him about a number in his cell phone.

    The Buccaneers said in a statement that the team was closely monitoring the situation.

    Public defender Julianne Holt said a lawyer from her office appeared in court Monday for Phillips, but he is expected to retain a private attorney for future proceedings.

    Click on link to read in its entirety.

    These were ‘ the solid characters’ that Gruden wanted on the team that Morris inherited.

    Anger management isn’t good enough any longer , these guys ought to be just thrown out of the NFL altogether ! That’s what is now befitting for them anything short of that is merely just a slap on the wrist !

    Alan Parkins

  25. Chris

    Lady Gator 🙂 seems intent on digging her heels in on this topic. How is it that she doesn’t touch on the troubles of the Gators’ players under Meyer’s watch ? Or is that an over simplification of things ?

    I mean c’mon man let’s have some justice here as well as give and take ! Or is it just about lambasting whomever one sees fit ?

    Dropped this as of today. I may well take a leave of absence from this for a short period dependent upon the workload. As I’ll be doing some volunteer work with some military vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Got to help these guys get the benefits that they’re rightfully due rather than have the VA shit all over them as they’ve often been doing.

    Sports’ Stories That Just Make You Want To Do A Double Take …


    Alan Parkins 🙂

  26. Chris

    What answers do we now need concerning McGwire or anyone else for that matter ? The MLB hierarchy knows the 104 plus names on the list but yet they’re not intent on letting the public know who they are. The chickens have already left hen-house to begin with . And all of this privacy bulls-it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on to begin with !

    So like I said what answers need to be known ? Are you really that interested in it all ? The fraud has already been perpetrated at the fans’ expense. So if anything you should be feeling angry by it all , rather than wanting answers.


    Alan Parkins 🙂

  27. Chris

    Kiffin leaves Tennessee for USC …

    Lane Kiffin will be the next USC coach, has confirmed.

    Kiffin will replace Pete Carroll, who left to take the Seattle Seahawks’ head coaching job. Kiffin coached Tennessee for one year, leading the Vols to a 7-6 record and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

    “We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett told The Associated Press. “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us, and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.”

    Part of transcript

  28. Well, Al, I wouldn’t take LG for a hypocrite. I think she understands that any program, particularly high-profile ones such as her alma mater, will have its issues.

    But I think we’re getting off topic. The question is how do we differentiate between right and wrong in how a coach disciplines his players?

    For example, Meyer had no choice to suspend Carlos Dunlap after the DUI. It might have cost him a national championship. I was actually surprised to see him playing against Cincinnati.

    But he didn’t strangle the kid.

  29. Al… I am absolutely stunned at the Kiffin announcement. I didn’t even know he was on USC’s radar.

    It’s a slap in the face, however, to a proud program like Tennessee.

    I’m mature enough (depending on who you ask) to understand there’s no loyalty in sports or business, but I think it’s safe to say Vol fans now hate Kiffin FAR worse than any Dolphins fans hate Nick Saban.

  30. Chris

    We all know that both sides have to be held accountable for the actions. But the thing is , it all comes down to common sense and knowing right from wrong.

    Hell I’ve seen pre-schoolers who’ve shown more sense than some of these athletes and coaches combined.

    As to Lane Kiffin, I doubt he’ll be returning to Knoxville anytime soon. There’ll be a lynch mob waiting for his a_s , if he does. He may well find success with the USC Trojans but the program had begun a falloff because of the departures of both Norm Chow and Steve Sarkisian.

    Alan Parkins

  31. Chris

    Both from the Lakeland Ledger

    Lakeland’s Maurkice Pouncey Heading to NFL, Mike Staying at UF

    The inseparable Pouncey twins are finally going to be apart, but both former Lakeland Dreadnaughts are fine with it because of the reason why.

    Center Maurkice Pouncey has decided to forego his senior season at Florida and declared himself eligible for April’s NFL Draft. Mike Pouncey will stay at UF and make a switch from guard to center to drive up his pro stock in his senior season.

    “We always knew that one day it would come, but it’s here now,” Maurkice Pouncey said Monday “….He’s gonna be there for me, I’m going to be here for him.”

    The Pounceys waited for their NFL paperwork to come back before they made decisions to go pro or not. They chose their future paths this past weekend in Lakeland with a strong support group on hand.

    Click on link to read the piece in its entirety.

    Alan Parkins

  32. Chris

    In no way would I have the temerity to suggest that Lady G is being a hypocrite, far from it as a matter of fact !

    But I don’t believe that you can generalize about the athletes as she’s suggesting. There’s good and bad on both sides of the equation and she’s not gone out of her way to even suggest that.

    This Leavitt situation is going to get real nasty when it’s all said and done.

    What with him now hiring one of the most prominent employment discrimination law practices in the Tampa Bay area. The gloves are about to come off and the allegations are going to go back and forth between the two parties.

    Former USF Coach Leavitt Hires Lawyer to Get His Job Back

    Jim Leavitt wants his job back, and he’s hired a lawyer to help him fight for it.

    Leavitt, who was fired Friday after a university investigation concluded he grabbed a player by the neck and struck him, said at a news conference Monday in Palm Harbor that he will do whatever it takes to remain the head football coach at South Florida.

    “I want to coach this football team,” Leavitt said. “… I’m going to battle for my players in any way I can.”

    Leavitt hired the Florin Roebig law firm to represent him.

    Thomas D. Roebig Jr., one of Leavitt’s lawyers, called USF’s actions “unwarranted” and “unreasonable.”

    He said Leavitt was denied a pretermination meeting, which is included in his contract and grants him the right to confront the allegations.

    Click on link to read piece from the Lakeland Ledger

    Alan Parkins

  33. One final post regarding this topic…my comments were general and meant to apply to all colleges and universities with sports programs. I’m painfully aware of the recent issues the Gator football team experienced..Carlos Dunlap’s DUI and Brandon Spikes’ attempted eye gouging of an opponents’player. Both inexcusable, both incidents an embarrassment to the university, the team and the Gator Nation.

    OK, topic officially closed on my end.

    On a lighter note…..

    To Lane Kiffin…don’t let the SEC door hit you in the A$$.

    To USC and the PAC-10…good luck with the boy and his dad.

  34. Al… today’s Outside the Lines absolutely trashed Lane Kiffin.

    I would imagine there’s not too many happy people in Knoxville right now, or maybe they are just happy to be rid of him.

  35. Al… I was kind of surprised that one Pouncey brother left while the other stayed but I guess they’ll have to learn to play apart from one another eventually.

    It’ll be an interesting year for Gator football.

  36. Al… I think most people in the area think that Leavitt a) will not get his job back and b) is just doing this to get some money and protect his reputation.

    We’ll see if it works.

  37. Lady G


    I hear that they’re now burning effigies of Kiffin in Knoxville ? But in all likelihood the Vols’ </a?fans would like to get their hands on Lane Kiffin for real. Do you think that him being hung ,drawn , tarred , feathered and then having his testicles would be taking it too far ? LOL,LOL,LOL, !!!

    Now he goes to USC hecause in their case ‘he’ doesn’t have to really worry about fracturing the NCAA rules. As that’s part and parcel of the Trojans’ credo to begin with !

    Here was Kiffin’s passing words for the Vols’ fans. What’s up bi_ches ? He essence spat on the university by simply taking flight like a thief in the night. His statement about it being the one job that he wanted was a joke. What does that indicate as to how he felt about the university’s program to begin with ? All this talk about ‘Rocky Top’ fight anthem and putting the spirit and pride back into the program. Well screw that I’m beginning to look at Bobby Petrino in a new light. At least when he’s blowing smoke up your a_s you can literally see the puffs of smoke emanating from his lips.



    Lane’s real problem is that he craves the spotlight far too much and his credentials aren’t that great to begin with.

    Like Usher and Gucci Mane say ‘Spotlight’


    Alan Parkins

  38. If Kiffin had testicles, he would have stayed with the TN VOLS to face another year of SEC football!

  39. I saw that the good people of Knoxville were rioting.

    I have a feeling they’ll be having the last laugh though.

    USC has high expectations. Carroll left BIG shoes to fill and I’m not sure Laney will be able to fill them.

  40. It’s pretty obvious to me by watching him speak publicly that Jim Leavitt is an emotionally unstable man. He should be focusing on making himself “well” instead of crying about how badly he wants to hug his players and coach this team.

    This guy has the same pathology exhibited in serial killers. I’m not saying he’s going to slit someones throat, but the irrational reflection of self is evident. Can you imagine being entrusted to mold the minds and hearts of young men, to build their character, and then stand up there and lie your ass off in front of the entire team. What a monumental hypocrite. Everyone in that locker room knows that Leavitt is holding himself up higher than any other individual. “He’s the most powerful man in the room”. I’m enjoying watching this ego-maniac get knocked off his proverbial pedestal. Modern day college athletics has no room for this kind of neanderthal approach to coaching and motivation.

    I don’t think Jim Leavitt is an intelligent man. If you ever watched USF games closely, over the past few year, you could see he didn’t have the respect of his top players. Rewind the tapes and watch when Matt Grothe used to go to the sidelines and be approached by Leavitt. It looked like Grothe having no option but to have to deal with his petulant nine year old little brother. It was often laughable.

    Their performances and monumental collapses on the field speak to this issue as well. It will be nice to see a team loaded with talent not get out coached by the likes of the Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut.

    3-4 in the Big East sucks! I’m looking forward to the Skip Holtz era and being able to stomach sitting through an entire game.

  41. I’m glad you commented on this, Mike. You’ve been in tune with Tampa sports for decades now.

    I have to admit, I was curious to see how Leavitt was going to be remembered after all this.

    It wasn’t very long ago that he was being praised for building the program. Now he’s an outcast.

    In NO way do I condone his behavior. He was a loose cannon and I agree with you. His press conference where he attempted to fight to get his job back did see a little off.

    But listening to WDAE the other day, basically nobody came to this guy’s defense.

    I think people need to remember what Leavitt did here. This program was NOTHING, Mike. 15 years later, they’re a contender.

    They beat Louisville with Brian Brohm when they were a top notch program. They got to #2 in the nation and lost to Ray Rice who’s now one of the best backs in the NFL. They went in and exposed FSU as a debilitated program this year. And he stole Daniels from right under Bowden’s nose.

    I’m still not one to believe that USF can compete with the Florida’s, Florida State’s and Miami’s. I think they’re always going to be also-rans when it comes to the three major schools.

    But they started building their program around the same time UCF did and USF has made considerably more progress.

    It may have been time for Leavitt to go. Holtz was a good choice. But let’s not cast Leavitt out as a total loser. He did some pretty good things as well.

  42. Very good points Chris. My comments are colored by the fact that I just don’t like this guy. He represents everything that disgusts me….obviousness, unoriginal macho energy (ala barfly circa 1980’s).

    He did a nice job building the program. I’m not so sure he performed a miracle though. Tampa is a fantastic place to be. You have the beaches, a real downtown, plenty of culture, a state-of-the-art practice facility, national exposure, your in a BCS bowl conference, and you have an NFL stadium to play in. Plenty of carrots to lure talent here…In the last few years, I think the program had to overcome Leavitt. He had a lot of help from the university and the community, not to mention the retired NFL players and coaches that reside here. He just had too many demons. I think he felt he had enemies all around him. He seemed to be an incredibly paranoid individual. I think lots of coaches could have built a program with the same measured success that Leavitt had given the talent pool, especially in his own back yard….Hillsborough County.

    Leavitt never embraced the community and was a sour face for USF football. If he wasn’t such a control freak and borderline paranoid schizophrenic, he mave have achieved even greater heights. I think his mantra as the man who built the program ran over years ago.

    I also think that the comparison to UCF is unfair at best. USF has far greater resources than UCF has an a much bigger national presence. Leavitt obviously deserves some credit for this. But he also deserves the credit for having the national exposure as being a team that can’t get “over the hump”.

    Do you think Urban Meyer could have built a program at USF, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Skip Holtz?

    I guess only time will tell! I am, however, looking forward to putting in the fan time.

  43. I want to be very clear that I don’t condone Leavitt’s behavior. It probably was time for a change.

    And you don’t have to sell me on Tampa’s good points. That’s why I moved back… he he.

    But college athletes look for more than just beaches and Ybor City when deciding upon where to play football. They look at the bigger programs as jumping grounds to the next level. When you look at the players that the big three have put into the NFL, that’s just tough to compete with.

    When USF and UCF begin to put big time players (other than Daunte Culpeper) into the league, that’ll help.

    The bigger programs have a leg up on the newer ones because of the history and tradition. That’s tough to match.

    You’re right. In time, that may happen. But it’ll still take a while.

    USF’s trip to Gainesville next year will be a huge game for them and for potential recruits.

  44. That’s cool I wrote a blog poston that too!! If you have time check out my BLOG , I’m trying to direct traffic to my landing page and I could use some help.

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