After watching the events at Texas Tech unfold, I was compelled to bring to people's attention not only to the relationship between coaches and their staffs, but also to their players (whether it be NFL or NCAA).
It is true that we do not know the full story about the allegations brought upon Mike Leach and his alleged mistreatment of Adam James, but I think we need to examine the issue of conduct between coaching staffs and players to its fullest.
This year there have been multiple instances of unconstituted harrassment of coaches and football players, both in the NCAA Division I and in the National Football League. Here is a review of my findings.
Mark Mangino, University of Kansas (Fired)
In early November, the University of Kansas began probing for evidence of an alleged charge of verbal and physical abuse of current and former Jayhawk players. By the closing of November, Kansas fired head coach Mike Mangino and called for a formal apology to those victimized.
As the probe unfolded, many former players came out to tell their stories in support of his firing. There is no word on if Mangino will ever hold another coaching position in the NCAA.
Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders (current coach)
Randy Hansen, a defensive assistant for the Oakland Raiders accused Tom Cable of an altercation at the training camp in Napa Valley, CA. It has been said that Coach Cable punched Hansen in the jaw on August 5th, 2009.
Cable has been under intense scrutiny for his outburst and is currently under investigation for other instances. In an updated version of the story, Cable told police investigators that "nothing happened" while players said "Hansen never saw it coming."
Hansen has refused to name the attacker, and the case has been left open. Randy Hansen was also was on former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin's staff.
Mike Leach, Texas Tech University (Fired)
Coach Leach captivated the attention of college football fans across the country as he was at the center of allegations referring to his treatment of Adam James, son of former Patriots player and ESPN analyst Craig James.
The accusations against Leach were confirmed in an interview with Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, in which he said that Mike Leach hastily acknowledged the fact that he did lock Adam James in an equipment shed after James had sustained a mild concussion.
This latest coverage was released December 30, 2009 at 9:45 EST on ESPN. Although this current story of mistreatment treads in murky water, it is said that former and current players under Mike Leach's coaching have come forward in support of the head coach, some have even expressed their feelings about Adam James as being "lazy" and have said "he just wanted more playing time."
Coach Leach was fired in the early morning hours of December 30th. Some people suspect that the growing tensions between Coach Leach and the Texas Tech Administration overflowed over the years. There is still much that needs to be solved before this case can be put to rest...From both parties.
Mistreatment of coaches, staff, and players is unacceptable and should not be endorsed by any coaching administration or school (whether it be verbal or physical). Lou Holtz commented today on the Texas Tech coaching issue and I think he brought to light a few good points, which are especially valid since he is a legendary former coach.
He mentioned that coaches can be loud and yell, but to an extent that fires up the players, not to harrass them. In his words he said "this can only go so far." No player deserves to be the victim of abuse by a coach, both the players and the coaches need to act professionally.
Unfortunately, the instances this year has very well likely awakened a sleeping giant (as much as I would like to think this stuff doesn't happen often...) the witch hunt will begin.