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Leach speaks out in his defense

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

College Football

Fired Leach speaks out in his own defense

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach says he did not mistreat a player after a concussion.

Leach spoke to the New York Times and ESPN about his firing. He was dismissed Wednesday, two days after his suspension.

The school was investigating his treatment of Adam James. The sophomore wide receiver said Leach twice confined him to a small, dark place after his concussion diagnosis. Leach told the Times on Thursday night and ESPN on Friday that James was lazy and acted as if entitled to special treatment.

James's father is ESPN analyst Craig James. Leach contends Craig James tried to leverage his position as a way to get more playing time for his son.

Leach told the Times he ordered that Adam James be taken "out of the light" and did not know specifically where he went. He also said James "was never locked anywhere. At no point was he locked anywhere."

The school fired Leach shortly before the two sides were to appear in court for a hearing on the coach's suspension.

Texas Tech (8-4) plays Michigan State (6-6) in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday.

In interviews with the Times and ESPN, Leach described a divisive and tense relationship with Craig James, whom he said he had to deal with more than every other parent on the team combined. He said James frequently attended practices and called assistant coaches.

"I think he used his position at ESPN to try to coerce me into allowing Adam to play more," Leach told the Times. "I don't feel like it's fair to the other players and I don't think it's the right way to do business to allow influence and position to dictate when you play a young man."

When Craig James was asked about those claims, he called them "absurd," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.


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