South Florida Fires Coach Over Slapping of Athlete

January 11, 2010

The University of South Florida on Friday fired Jim Leavitt, the football coach who created the program 14 years ago, after finding evidence backing claims that he had grabbed a player by the throat and slapped him twice, and that he didn't admit the incident during an investigation that found credible evidence that it had taken place, The St. Petersburg Times reported. The decision was based on an investigation that found, according to a university letter to the coach, that "your description … was consistently uncorroborated by credible witnesses, and in fact contradicted." Leavitt denies that he mistreated the athlete. The firing at South Florida is the second recent dismissal of a big-time football head coach over allegations of mistreating an athlete. Texas Tech University last month dismissed its coach, Mike Leach, amid allegations that he ordered a player to be locked in the dark after he suffered a concussion.

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