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Leach can't get money from suit

LUBBOCK, Texas — A Texas appeals court threw out former coach Mike Leach's breach of contract claim against Texas Tech on Friday but said he can pursue nonmonetary claims over his firing.

"We won," Texas Tech attorney Dicky Grigg said.

The school argued Leach could not sue it because it is a state entity with sovereign immunity, meaning it can be sued only with permission from the state legislature or a waiver based on a defendant's conduct. A trial court judge ruled against the school.

Paul Dobrowski, Leach's attorney, said he will appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

"In essence, the doctrine permits state institutions such as Texas Tech to deny a man's written contractual rights and steal his hard-earned labor while paying nothing," he said. "That is not fair and not what Texas and its citizens stand for."

The school fired Leach on Dec. 30, 2009, amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion. Leach has denied the allegation and said he suspects an $800,000 bonus due Dec. 31 was why he was fired.

The appeals court ruling allows Leach to try to show Texas Tech's reasons for firing him were wrong but without monetary relief. Said Dobrowski: "Mike's going to be thrilled that he has a chance to clear his name."

Alabama: Curt Cignetti, the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the past four seasons, left to become coach at Indiana University of Pennsyl­vania. He said he was ready for a new challenge. Cignetti's father, Frank, coached the Division II school from 1986-2005.

Auburn: The school said quarterback Cam Newton's father did not violate an agreement not to attend the BCS title game. The NCAA found Cecil Newton solicited money from Mississippi State for his son to play there. His access to the Auburn program was limited, and he said he wouldn't attend the game. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Cecil Newton, seen hugging Cam after the game, watched it elsewhere before arriving.

Miami: Art Kehoe, a former player and assistant, has talked to new coach Al Golden about returning as offensive line coach, the Palm Beach Post reported. He currently is the offensive line coach for Sacramento of the United Football League. Also, tight end Blake Ayles, who transferred from Southern Cal, enrolled. Ayles, a senior in the fall, is eligible to play right away because of an NCAA waiver.

USC: Former running back Stafon Johnson will sue the school, the Los Angeles Times reported. He suffered extensive damage to his neck and larynx and needed seven hours of surgery after a bar slipped from his hands while weightlifting in September 2009. Details of the lawsuit were not available.

Washington: Coach Steve Sarkisian, who this season led the Huskies to their first bowl game since 2002, signed a five-year deal worth $12.75 million. It replaces the five-year deal worth $9.25 million Sarkisian, 12-13 in two seasons, signed when hired in December 2008.

Leach can't get money from suit 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 9:49pm]
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