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Players stunned, but booster says Jim Leavitt's actions left USF 'no alternative'

Reaction to the firing of USF coach Jim Leavitt:

"I have the utmost respect for Coach Leavitt. He's a passionate person. I believe he did it. I don't think he realizes he did it, but he did it, and it left (AD) Doug Woolard no alternative. I support their decision. I will miss Coach Leavitt because I like (him), but I support their decision."

Richard Gonzmart, president and CEO of Columbia Restaurant and member of the Iron Bulls boosters

"Everyone is talking about this being about Coach Leavitt, but it affects all the assistants, their kids, their families. I have friends over there. … And you know Coach Leavitt put his heart and soul into that program."

Earl Garcia, Hillsborough High football coach

"I don't know all the insides of what went on and whether there was justification. But I always hate to see a coach go like this, especially someone I know."

John Davis, Countryside football coach and childhood friend of Leavitt in St. Petersburg

"There was something very Nixonian to the end of Jim Leavitt. It wasn't the act itself of the South Florida coach allegedly grabbing the throat of a player and hitting him. It was the denials and interference with an investigation that got Leavitt fired. There was a hint of Watergate coverup. … Maybe this (along with the firing of Texas Tech's Mike Leach and Kansas' Mark Mangino resigning under pressure) will signal the end of the coach-as-bully syndrome."

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com

"I think there's a little monkey see, monkey do among (athletic departments). Public sentiment and university sentiment has begun to run against this, and presidents don't want that associated with their campus."

Ivan Maisel, ESPN

"There will probably be a lot of piling on Leavitt. But let's pause here to applaud the job he did of bringing the program from nothing to this point. Whatever you think of the guy, he worked tirelessly and pulled off some stunning wins."

Brian Bennett, ESPN.com

"This (was) not my intent from the start to get anyone fired by writing this story. … On a personal level, there was some relief that the investigator found out that what I reported was 100 percent accurate."

Brett McMurphy, Fanhouse.com reporter who broke the original story on the incident last month

What they're saying

Players stunned, but booster says Jim Leavitt's actions left USF 'no alternative' 01/08/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 12:07am]
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