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Texas Tech fires football coach Mike Leach

By Associated Press
Thursday, December 31, 2009; D06

LUBBOCK, TEX. -- Texas Tech fired Mike Leach on Wednesday after the head football coach took the school to court to try to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player.

"I'm very sad to say there's only one person to blame for this and it's Mike Leach," Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance told the Associated Press.

Jerry Turner, vice chairman of the university system's board of regents, said "other things" came to light during an investigation of Leach's treatment of wide receiver Adam James. The sophomore alleged that the coach twice confined him to a small, dark place after the player had a concussion diagnosed.

Turner declined to elaborate about the other issues.

Leach was suspended Monday after he refused to agree to guidelines for dealing with players set forth by his bosses in a Dec. 23 letter.

Leach was in San Antonio with his team, which is preparing for the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State on Saturday. He left the team's hotel while his interim replacement, defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, was holding a news conference.

Approached by a reporter, Leach said he had no comment before he was asked a question. Asked how he felt Texas Tech treated him throughout the last two weeks, Leach responded, "I think that's apparent."

Wide receiver Tramain Swindall said he agreed with the decision to fire Leach.

"I'm supporting Adam and what he's doing because it's the right thing to do," Swindall told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And so do most of the players. It wasn't just about Adam. It was always a negative vibe."

James is the son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James. "We appreciate that the university conducted a fair and thorough investigation," the James family said in a statement.

Leach's dismissal comes a year after he was Big 12 coach of the year and led Tech to the best season, 11-2, in the history of the program.

A quirky, nonconformist with a pass-happy offense, Leach arrived in West Texas in 2000. Since then, he has become the winningest coach in school history.

He stopped acknowledging players' injuries to the media in 2003.

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