South Florida's Jim Leavitt fired for allegedly mistreating player
South Florida Coach Jim Leavitt, the only coach in the program's 13-year history, was fired today after the university concluded he abused one of his players.
Leavitt is accused of grabbing one of his players by the throat and slapping him in the face during halftime of the Bulls' Nov. 21 game against Louisville. Leavitt reportedly was seen with cuts on his face after the game.
Leavitt told the Associated Press that the allegations are "absolutely false" and that's he's "disappointed" by the university's decision.
In a letter to Leavitt, the university said it decided to fire him after a three-week investigation "independently corroborated statements of persons found to be in the best position to observe your conduct."
Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach was fired last week after allegations surfaced that he mistreated a player who had suffered a concussion. Leach has denied the accusations.
Leavitt posted a 95-57 record with the Bulls and led the team to a 27-3 International Bowl victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
-- Austin Knoblauch
Photo: Jim Leavitt gestures during a game against Florida State on Sept. 26. Credit: Reinhold Matay / Associated Press