Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No resolution for Jim Leavitt, USF after lawyers meet

TAMPA — Attorneys for USF and former Bulls football coach Jim Leavitt met for nearly six hours in mediation Saturday, though no resolution has been reached between the university and its coach of 14 years, his attorney said Monday.

Leavitt was fired by USF on Jan. 8, after the university concluded that "serious violations" of its conduct code had occurred when an investigation ruled that Leavitt grabbed walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapped him twice in the face during halftime of USF's Nov. 21 game against Louisville, then lied to investigators and interfered with USF's investigation into the incident.

USF has moved on, with new coach Skip Holtz now on the job more than a month, but Leavitt's attorneys argue that the three-week investigation, which included interviews with 29 people, was not thorough enough.

"USF represented to the entire nation that their investigation was 'fair and thorough,' " attorney Wil Florin said Monday. "Suppressing the full eyewitness account of an on-duty law enforcement officer favorable to Coach Leavitt is not fair. Not interviewing and then ignoring the eyewitness account of another eyewitness only a few feet away (Mike Durakovic) is not thorough."

Florin has a sworn statement from Florida Highway Patrol officer Benny Perez, who was in the locker room and saw the incident while working security for USF.

"I witnessed Coach Leavitt grab Miller's shoulder pads and attempt to motivate him. Coach Leavitt did not grab Miller's neck nor did he choke or strike Miller," Perez says in his statement, which is a stronger defense of the coach than what was summarized from him in the report from USF's investigation.

Leavitt's attorneys cite that as contrary to what USF athletic director Doug Woolard said in announcing Leavitt's firing, that the coach's account was "uncorroborated by credible witnesses." Durakovic, the parent of a USF player and volunteer with the team, also said he was there and defended Leavitt but was not interviewed by the university's investigation.

Will the continuing legal discussions between the two sides result in any settlement? Leavitt's attorneys are seeking more than the $66,667 contractually obligated to him for being fired "with cause." Had Leavitt been fired "without cause," he would have been paid more than $7.1 million, or 75 percent of what he would have made in the remaining five years on his contract.

USF spokeswoman Lara Wade declined to comment, citing Florida's statutory rules regarding mediation.

Fast facts

Bulls staff settled

USF coach Skip Holtz officially announced his coaching staff Monday, moving former running backs coach Carl Franks into an administrative role. The staff:

• Defensive coordinator/linebackers: Mark Snyder

• Assistant head coach/defensive backs: Rick Smith

• Special teams coordinator/defensive ends: Vernon Hargreaves

• Defensive tackles: Kevin Patrick

• Defensive graduate assistant: J.R. Reed

• Offensive coordinator/running backs: Todd Fitch

• Quarterbacks: Peter Vaas

• Offensive line: Steve Shankweiler

• Tight ends: Larry Scott

• Wide receivers: Phil McGeoghan

• Offensive graduate assistant: Steve Bird

No resolution for Jim Leavitt, USF after lawyers meet 02/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2010 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.