USF ordered to turn over documents in Leavitt firing
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY (Bay News 9) — Fired University of South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt and his attorneys were in a Tampa courtroom Wednesday.
The former football coach said the university broke promises in his contract when they fired him in January.
Attorneys for Leavitt said the coach wants the millions he said the school owes him from his contract – as well as his reputation repaired.
During the hearing, a judge ordered USF to turn over emails, memos and other documents produced by those who took part in the decision to fire him. The school agreed.
Leavitt, who posted a 95-57 record during his 13 seasons at USF, was let go by USF president Judy Genshaft.
The school fired Leavitt as a result of the controversy surrounding the coach allegedly striking a player. Leavitt has staunchly denied any wrongdoing.
“We know from the witnesses we’ve talked to that the way this thing has been reported and represented by USF is not the way things are,” said Leavitt’s attorney Will Florin.
But USF administrators have said they have witnesses who claim Leavitt did abuse the player.
Meanwhile, Leavitt said after the hearing that his missed the football field.
“I want to coach,” he said. “There’s no question about that. I love the university, I love the players and I miss them. But I want to coach and unfortunately I’m not going to go out and coach right now because of this.”
The players said they showed up after the school sent them a letter notifying them of the hearing.
Demetris Murray said it’s tough to be in the middle of the lawsuit but he said he was glad to see his former coach.
“He still told us to go out and win the Big East,” Murray said. “So, he still has love for the game.”
Leavitt said the game of his life is now being played out in a court of law. He said he can’t wait to put it all behind him.
“I don’t care how long it takes,” he said. “I don’t know all the legal processes. This is a whole new world for me. I’m a football coach.”
A USF spokesman said Genshaft deliberately did not use emails during the decision making process that led to Leavitt’s firing.
He said the school did not want to create court records in the event the Leavitt sued the school, which he did.