The Mike Leach Firing: Testimonies and Videos that Show Leach Is Innocent

Corey WieseContributor IIDecember 11, 2010

The Mike Leach Firing: Testimonies and Videos that Show Leach Is Innocent

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    Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech football coach, is an offensive genius; though many see him as unorthodox, most geniuses are.

    But because of the events that led to his firing at Texas Tech, Mike Leach’s reputation has been greatly damaged and he is now unable to get a new coaching position elsewhere. In fact, he can’t even get an interview. 

    Mike Leach was accused of locking his former player, Adam James, in a “Shed” and an “Electrical Closet” for over three hours at a time while the player dealt with a concussion. 

    Anyone who hears that goes on to think, “He punished a player for having a concussion?” People than immediately label Mike Leach a scumbag and demand he never be allowed to coach again. 

    But what I find is that people do not check the facts; they read the same headlines over and over again until their mind convinces them the story is true.

    It's time to show people the facts and allow them to decide for themselves.

    Be sure to watch the attached videos as they show all of these events in a new light.

the Video that Will Change Your Opinion of Leach

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    First of all, let’s get this out of the way. 

    Leach was accused of putting Adam James in a “Shed” and an “Electrical Closet” for over three hours at a time.

    This is a video reported by a local news station. Mike Leach’s attorney gives reporters a tour of the alleged “Shed” and “Electrical Closet.”

    This video is very rare and is something that wasn’t shown on ESPN.

    The video completely changes the perspective for the average sports fan. I urge you to watch the video and ask yourself if you see anything that puts Adam James in danger.

    Next, I will list a few e-mails from Leach's former players and coaches talking about Adam James' attitude.

Leach’s Former Players and Coaches Talk About Adam James’ Attitude

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    Following Mike Leach’s firing, many of Leach’s former players and assistant coaches sent out E-mails supporting Mike Leach and shedding some light onto the kind of person Adam James is. A link to the full list of these e-mails is listed at the bottom of this page.

    It’s a very interesting read!

    Here are two e-mails from Leach’s former Receivers Coach Lincoln Riley:

    “To Who it May Concern:

    During the last two years of being the inside receivers coach, I have had the chance to learn a lot about Adam James.  He came to Tech because of one person: Coach Leach.   Although we adamantly doubted his talent, we as coaches came to see that Adam actually had enough talent to help us out.   The problem, though, is that Adam is unusually lazy and entitled.  Many other players on this team, specifically receivers, have a much larger role on this team with less talent.  I have always been worried about Adam's effect on my other players because of his weak and conceited attitude.  I recently found out that Adam deliberately undermined my authority on many occasions.  This is particularly disturbing because Coach Leach hired me to make our receivers the best group in the country, and Adam has damaged this group far more than I even realized.  He should be grateful for the opportunity that was given to him here that was not offered at any other Division 1 football program.  He has an unbelievable sense of entitlement because of who his father is; one that hurts himself and people around him.  Adam is the kind of person that makes excuses or blames people for things that go wrong in his life. Furthermore, I don't have children yet, but when I do I hope they are coached by someone like Coach Leach.  I have learned so many great things from him and am incredibly lucky to have him in my life.

    Lincoln Riley”

     

    “Two practices before Adam James claimed he had a concussion, Coach Leach and I were forced to discipline him for poor effort from the previous practice and poor effort during the early drills of that day.  This has been a common theme about Adam's work ethic and attitude during his entire career.  Adam, along with two other receivers that were also unsatisfactory, was sent to run stadium steps with Bennie Wylie.  After the practice, Bennie made it very clear to Coach Leach and I that Adam was a complete "jerk" while he was being punished.  After talking with Adam after the practice, it was very clear to me that Adam did not agree with the punishment and believed that we were just mis-asessing his effort.  He complained to me that we were not doing our jobs as coaches and that his effort was just fine, all of which is very typical of him to say.  By comparison, the other receiver that we punished agreed that his effort wasn't his best and had a good attitude with Bennie and also in meeting with me after practice.  It's just another example of Adam thinking that he knows more about coaching than people who have been coaching for their entire lives.  I have no doubt that anger from this led to where we are today with this situation and is his way of trying to "get back" at us coaches.
     
    Lincoln Riley”

    This is an excerpt from former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell’s e-mail about Adam James:

    “During the season [Adam] was often “injured” (it usually seemed like a very minor injury that could keep him out of practice but never out of any other activity, including games) so he would not participate in some drills in practice….. In the locker room and away from the facility, Adam used any opportunity he had to tell other players how he was being treated unfairly, how the coaches did not give him a fair chance and how we did not have to do everything the coaches told us because they had no option but to play some of us.  When I heard these kinds of things I usually tried to put an end to them but Adam pretty consistently talked bad about the coaches or down played the importance of working hard, when he was off the field.  When he talked to young players or players that were usually on the scout he would explain how the coaches were not fair to certain players and only played favorites.  When he talked to players that did get some playing time he would talk about how we didn’t really have to do what the coaches asked of us because the coaches had to play us anyway.  And it almost always tied back to how he was not getting a fair chance to play just because the coaches were unfair.  The coaches were always more than fair to Adam I felt, because he came in the game during certain formations and situations last football season, but because of his work ethic and attitude, many of the players on last year’s team had a hard time trusting him or relying on him because he was not always practicing and we had seen his laziness during the off-season.  Adam was a kid that seemed like he had been given everything he wanted his whole life and acted like if things did not go exactly how he wanted someone was treating him unfairly or someone needed to be blamed for his failures.  He was a selfish player on and off the field that was counter-productive for our team and would be for any other team.

    …Graham Harrell”

     

    I encourage all of you to read the full list of e-mails listed below.

    It’s fair to say that any coach forced to deal with Adam James’ attitude would have a difficult time. I hope now it is clear to you why Leach felt that Adam James was such a distraction for his team.  If it still hasn’t sunk in, read these emails; you will end up hating Adam James.

    http://dennis-dodd.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270202/19238949

    Also, I've attached a video that shows Leach's displeasure with Adam James effort in practice.

Depositions that Reveal the Truth

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    James said in the deposition that he was locked in the closet, but also said he meant that he felt locked in more than he was literally locked in. James also testified that Leach’s actions did not put him in medical harm.

    Adam James’s accounts in the deposition vary from describing Leach’s handling of his situation as “funny” and “humorous” to feeling like a “prisoner” and a “slave.”

    Leach testified that he did not specifically instruct James to go there, but said he had no problem with it as James needed to be in a dark place because of his sensitivity to light. (The space is big enough that the offensive linemen go there during special-teams drills to eat ice.)

    James said he was monitored by a trainer, went to the bathroom at one point and “thought the idea of it was funny.”

    James said he went into the electrical closet for part of the Dec. 19 practice.

    James said in his deposition that Texas Tech athletic trainer, Steve Pincock, took him to the media room and said, “I want you to stay here.” James testified that because Pincock was standing near the electrical closet when he said “stay here,” it was his “assumption” that he was supposed to enter the closet.

    I think we all know the saying about what happens when you make assumptions.

    “Nobody held my hand and put me in there, no,” James said of the electrical closet. He also added, “Nobody said, ‘Adam, stay in the media room.’”

    Paul Dobrowski, one of Leach’s lawyers, said: “Mike is no saint, but he never harmed Adam James. Under his contract, Mike is responsible for team discipline. Mike properly treated Adam as a concussed player who violated team rules, had been a discipline problem, and was a distraction to the team.”

    Dicky Grigg, a lawyer representing Texas Tech, said, “Although it didn’t harm the kid, what he’d done was certainly unorthodox.”

    Well that makes sense, Mike Leach is unorthodox; well that means he’s a scumbag and should be fired and never allowed to coach again. Do you see why that is ridiculous?

    If Mike Leach is guilty of anything, it’s trying to focus on coaching his players and didn’t want Adam James causing any distractions.

    It is important to note! The following link contains depositions from all of the parties involved in this situation. It is the most comprehensive collection of information you will find on this issue. The depositions are linked in red as "Exhibit A", "Exhibit B" etc. Be sure to visit this link.

    http://www.doubletnation.com/2010/5/6/1460333/leach-and-james-fire-back-world

Where Adam James’ Daddy, Craig James, Became Involved

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    Leach maintains that Adam James’ father, ESPN’s Craig James, was unhappy with his son’s lack of playing time and campaigned to get Leach fired.

    Mike Leach has been dealing with Craig James’ meddling since Adam James joined the football team.

    Leach said Craig James meddled "more than any parent I've dealt with my entire career."

    "I can understand a father being a fan of his son, rooting for his son, supporting his son. But at some point, coaches have to be allowed to coach. At some point the wisdom of all the people watching the film, going to all the practices has to be respected."

    Leach added, "Just because you have influence, power, and a microphone in front of you, doesn't mean that your son should have any more right to play than the other guys."

    When asked about claims that he meddled, Craig James called them "absurd," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.

    According to the Texas Tech’s own Attorney and Chancellor Kent Hance, not only did Craig James interfere, but he went around the Athletic Department by going directly to the Board of Regents when he was unable to convince the coaching staff that his son deserved more playing time.

    Adam James' position coach, Lincoln Riley—who previously characterized Adam James as ‘unusually lazy’ and having a ‘sense of entitlement’—brought James into Leach’s office to discuss the numerous abusive messages left on his phone by the Adam’s father Craig James.

    Apparently Adam James started throwing a fit and stormed out of the coach’s office and ‘slammed the door so hard’ that he split the door frame, which caused $1,100 in damage.

Craig James Concerned for Adam's Safety Enough to Make Him a Target

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    Originally a report came out that an unnamed Texas Tech player was being abused, etc. It was Craig James who came out and said that it was his son and that he was concerned for his son's safety.

    I can't imagine that a caring parent goes out of their way to make their own child a target.

    James was obviously trying to get Leach fired.

    What did he think thousands of die-hard Red Raider fans would do if Adam James got Mike Leach fired? Who would put their son in that position? To be the scapegoat for losing the winningest coach in Texas Tech history?

    After a terrible year for Texas Tech with their new coach Tommy Tuberville, i can't imagine how many Red Raider fans ask themselves, would I rather have Adam James or Mike Leach?

    If Craig James really cared about his son's safety, he would have left the report anonymous and had his son transfer to another school.

    I hope Craig James gets what's coming to him. Destroying a man's reputation so your son might get some more playing time is horrible.

Craig James Says He Hired a PR Firm to Better Manipulate the Media

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    Mike Leach’s attorney Ted Liggett, says Craig James admitted he has hired Spaeth Communications Group out of Dallas, and that Spaeth Communicated with Texas Tech in a manner to manipulate messages to the media regarding Adam James and Mike Leach;  including actually using pseudonyms (fictitious names) to go online and blog and try to shake the nature of the news.

    Though Spaeth Communications founder, Merrie Spaeth, confirmed that her firm was behind providing the unattributed Adam James video to WFAA.

    Spaeth also provided previously unreported details about the Adam James cellphone video. She said that James actually shot two videos during his separate confiments at Texas Tech practices and "showed them to his parents."

    Those videos were part of the impetus for Craig James taking the complaint against Leach public. Immediately after the second video was shot, Craig James contacted Spaeth to advise him.

    Spaeth said the public release of the Adam James cellphone video was based on prior statements by Leach: "We came to a consensus that the video should be released to the public after Leach said some things that were at odds with Adam’s story."

    Adam James also gave a sworn deposition Saturday in Lubbock. Alvarado of FOX 34 reports of his statements under oath:

    "Liggett also says they stand by sworn testimony from Trainer Steve Pincock and several others, that Adam James was never told to go into an electrical closet. Liggett says Adam admitted under oath, that while in the media room, he was told to stay there, and that he didn’t follow instructions and that he went into the electrical closet and he took the film."

What Leach’s Firing Was Really About

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    Leach maintains that Texas Tech administrators were upset about difficult contract negotiations with him and were looking for an opportunity to fire him.

    The alleged incidents occurred on December 17th and 19th, 2009. Leach was due a $800,000 bonus on December 30th, 2009. He was suspended on December 28th, and fired on December 29th; although Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance said that the $800,000 bonus due to Mike Leach was never even considered in the decision to fire Leach.

    Further emails between Hance and others involved in negotiating Leaches’ $12.5 million contract clearly outline the intent to fire Leach before he could earn the $800,000 bonus.

    The emails also discuss how this would allow them to get out of the following years of Leach’s contract. They took this small misunderstanding, allowed Craig James and his ESPN platform to spin it into a great big mess, and used it as an excuse to get out of Leach’s contract.

    So why is Leach a bad guy? He’s not.

    The most illuminating piece of evidence in Mike Leach’s case against Texas Tech is an e-mail from a Board of Regents member, Larry Anders, to Tech’s chancellor Kent Hance. The e-mail came after a letter drafted by the university’s president, Guy Bailey, and its athletic director, Gerald Myers, suggested that Tech should reprimand Leach privately and fine him $60,000 over the James incident.

    Anders e-mailed Hance that he “strongly urges” him not to come to that resolution. “I don’t want to eliminate our ability to use this to our advantage should we determine to use it to terminate Leach,” Anders wrote.

    Days later, Texas Tech did terminate Leach.

Texas Tech Was Determined to Destroy Leach’s Reputation

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    In one email, Regent Jim Sowell, said, "When we fire Leach we will have a better opportunity to get another coach than he will to get another job."  

    This is what I have a problem with. If you don’t like somebody, don’t resign him to a $12.5 million contract extension. They made the commitment to Leach, than destroyed his reputation so they could get out of their apparent financial mistake.

    This is what should have the Texas Tech Administration dismantled.

    Texas Tech tried to destroy Leach's reputation for money, but Craig and Adam James did it to get some kind of revenge on Leach for lack of playing time.

    They should suffer the humiliation that Leach has suffered.

    I've attached a link to a PDF displaying the photocopies of Texas Tech e-mails.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/img/12-09/1231leachblack.pdf

    If you have trouble viewing it, the link can be accessed through the following page, but you may still need to get a new version of Adobe Acrobat to view the file format.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/colleges/texastech/stories/123109dnspoleachletters.2d4b0ea8.html

What Is Great About Mike Leach

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    Mike Leach is a great man, and an even better coach. His former QB Graham Harrell had this to say about him:

    “He felt that hard work, dedication and doing things right was the only way we could be successful and compete in the Big XII conference.  He worked harder and longer than anyone else in program and was committed to winning at all cost.  He would never have been unfair to a player or not played the best players he had because he wanted to win more than anything else. Coach Leach also expected us to be tough but smart at the same time.  He would not pressure a kid to play with a serious injury or play when he did not feel ready to play.  Coach Leach is a man that cares about his player and puts his players, coaches and the well being of the Texas Tech football program above all else.”

    I’ve attached an old 60 Minutes Interview with Mike Leach that shows the kind of quirky person Mike Leach is. It shows how Leach can take average athletes and use them to beat schools with great athletes. It leaves you wondering what Leach could do if he was given the chance to coach great athletes.

Repairing Mike Leach's Reputation

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    My hope with all of this is that people will realize Mike Leach didn't do anything, and yet his reputation has been destroyed.

    He can't even get an interview for any potential coaching jobs. Mike Leach deserves as much of a chance as anyone else. All of the apparent baggage attached to Mike Leach is not his doing.

    Mike Leach had this to say about his current predicament:

    "Now it's like, well, it's difficult to hire him because he's in litigation," Leach said of his year-long absence from coaching. "They accuse me of something I didn't do, something that never happened because I never mistreated a student-athlete. If I ignore it and don't clear my name, then they assume I'm guilty and I can't get a job. If I take steps to clear my name, I can't get a job because I'm in litigation."

    When asked about the coach opening at the University of Miami, Leach had this to say:

    "It's a great job and I think it would be a great fit," Leach said. "We'd have an exciting brand of football. We'll fill the seats and we'll win games and we'll win ACC championships.

    "If you look at the guys on NFL rosters, in the Big 12 Texas has 32, Oklahoma has 29, Nebraska has 28 and Texas Tech has nine. Still, my record against Nebraska was something like 5-1 and we beat Oklahoma three out of the last five times.

    "There are lots of Hurricanes on NFL rosters. That gives you an idea of what you can draw there. If you base it on resources and production, the chances of my success along with my staff are remarkably high."

    Leach was up for a head coaching job in Miami at the end of the 2006 season, but the job was eventually given to Randy Shannon.

    Leach's recollection is that Miami didn't think he would take a salary cut to come. He was willing to work that out, he said, but couldn't agree to join the Hurricanes unless he could bring his own staff. Miami wanted several guys, Shannon included, to stay on with a new coach.

    "My experience is that nobody believes you will work for less than what you're getting," said Leach, "but I will because it's about quality of life and situations and challenges."

    Leach is a great man, and I hope he's given a platform to show how much more successful his brand of football can be with better quality athletes.

    Go Get 'Em Leach, You Pirate King!

    Note: I encourage everyone who is troubled with Mike Leach's predicament to join TEAM LEACH on Facebook. The link to the TEAM LEACH group page is listed below.

    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=147563455294885&id=233352393576&ref=notif¬if_t=like#!/group.php?gid=233352393576