Son’s Allowance Bought Craig James’ Conscience

While sitting in an unlocked media room adjacent to a Texas Tech practice field on December 19, 2009, Adam James sent his father, ESPN announcer Craig James, a series of text messages.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

The text messages, sent while practice was underway on a 66-degree day in Lubbock, included the following:

Hey, you’re going to like this.

Leach thinks it’s impossible for me to have a concussion and that I’m just being a pussy.

So for punishment he had me locked in a pitch black shed for the whole practice.

And they won’t let me out.

And if they catch me even so much as leaning against the wall they’re going to kick me off the team

After receiving the text messages, Craig James replied via text, “can you call me?

Adam James, who had been directed to the media room by head TTU trainer Steve Pincock, replied to his father, “no, just text.

The ESPN announcer then text his son the message, “call me when you can and think about what you will allow me to do.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

On March 13, 2010, during his sworn deposition, Adam James recalled his thoughts when he first text his father:

We have the same sense of humor and personality, and I thought — we thought it was funny. So I said ‘you’re going to like this.‘”

Adam James also said on March 13, 2010, that he had never spoken to Leach about the concussion he referenced in his texts to his father, nor did Leach or anyone else ever tell him he would be punished for “so much as leaning against the wall.”

On Dec. 19, 2009, after spending 90 minutes in the media room, Adam James eventually let himself out of the building as no one was outside to open the unlocked door.

After Craig James received the texts from his son on Dec. 19, 2009, he contacted then-Chairman of the Texas Tech Board of Regents, Larry Anders. Anders later recalled during a sworn deposition on March 23, 2010, how he was first introduced to the situation by the ESPN announcer:

.. there was a message on my wife’s cellphone from his (Craig James) wife Marilyn. That I needed to talk to Craig and it was a matter of life and death.

Anders, who had been set to attend a wedding event, contacted the ESPN announcer who told him his son had been “shut in an electrical closetwhile “humiliated” with “extreme profanity” by Leach. Also during the call, which came on the same day Craig James had received the Dec. 19 texts from his son, Anders said the ESPN announcer demanded Leach apologize and “recommended” the coach be fired.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

During his sworn depositon on April 13, 2010, current Texas Tech Board of Regents Chairman Jerry Turner, who was Vice Chairman at the time, reported what Anders told him of his exchange with Craig James on the same day the ESPN announcer received text messages from his son at TTU practice:

Larry said that based on his conversation with Craig James, Craig James wanted Mike Leach fired. I said to Larry, ‘I don’t believe that.’

Obviously I was wrong, Craig James did want Mike Leach fired.

Craig James also called Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance to report what his son had told him. Later, Hance recalled the conversation with the ESPN announcer during his March 11, 2010, sworn deposition:

He (Craig James) wanted an apology and he wanted him (Mike Leach) fired and I said, “‘Craig, if you fire him do you think he will apologize? Both things are not going to happen.’”

When asked at the same deposition if he thought a Leach apology to James could’ve saved the coach’s job, the Chancellor of Texas Tech said, “no.

On the same day Adam James sent text messages to Craig James while Texas Tech practice was underway the son of the ESPN announcer also shot cellphone video of an “electrical closet.”

The space, which appeared well-lit in the video and included footage in which two chairs were visible, was located next to the media room where TTU Trainer Steve Pincock had ordered Adam James to stay for the remaining moments of practice.

Public relations firm Spaeth Communications founder Merrie Spaeth later indicated to SbB that, “immediately after the second (cellphone) video was shot (on Dec. 19), Craig James contacted Spaeth to advise him.

The next day, Dec. 20, 2009, Texas Tech investigator Charlotte Bingham interviewed Adam James in response to the complaint from the James family about Leach to Texas Tech administrators.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

On Dec. 23, 2009, Bingham provided a report of her fact finding to Hance, Anders, Turner, TTU President Guy Bailey and Athletic Director Gerald Myers. During her March 5, 2010, deposition, Bingham noted of her report about the James family complaint:

I informed President Bailey, Chancellor Hance, Larry Anders, Jerry Turner and Gerald Myers that Mike Leach had not required Adam James to stand in an electrical closet.

Adam James told me that he went into the electrical closet and that he stood in the electrical closet for approximately five minutes.

Bingham noted in her investigation that the son of the ESPN announcer had stayed in the media room for “one and a half hours“, with the door to the building “opened every 15 or 20 minutes” so TTU trainers could check on Adam James.

Bingham later said that TTU President Bailey’s Chief of Staff, Grace Hernandez, reported during the same Dec. 23, 2009, meeting that her own investigation had determined that Adam “never had to stand in an electrical closet.”

When asked during a deposition if he had heard that Adam James had “napped” during his 90-minute stay in the media room on Dec. 19, 2009, Texas Tech Chancellor Hance replied, “I’d heard that.

Bingham also reported of Adam James during the same interview:

He stated that Coach Leach was verbally abusive to players, hated by the entire team and had made it living hell on the receivers.

Bingham also interviewed Craig James on Dec. 20, 2009 as part of the official internal Texas Tech investiation and later said that the ESPN announcer had made a”threat of litigation” against the school to her “and that (litigation against Texas Tech by the James family) would be a can of worms and it would not be pretty.”

The same day Bingham and Hernandez presented their findings of fact to Texas Tech officials, Craig James sent an email to TTU Chancellor Hance reporting that the claims of his son had now been “verified” and that, “if any organization or person did what Mike Leach did, they would be fired. Which is exactly what we expect to happen to Mike (Leach).

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

Current Texas Tech Board of Regents Chairman Turner also received the email from the ESPN announcer and supplied this reaction to Hance:

I interpret his (Craig James) email as a threat he will go public if we don’t take the action he requested.

The next communication Turner received from James - via Hance - confirmed exactly that.

On Dec. 26, 2009, Hance received an email from Craig James that he forwarded to Turner, then-Board of Regents Chairman Anders and Texas Tech President Guy Bailey that included the following:

Bottom line: Tech is absolutely exposed as a university with each hour that passes. The team, the staff, and increasingly others at the school know that a substantial charge has been made, and we understand it has been verified by your own investigative team.

Kent, I ask you and the board members this: Have each of you seen the shed and electrical closet Adam was confined to? I’d recommend each of you visit the Places … walk in them and turn the lights off. NOW, imagine standing there for three hours in the cold without being allowed to sit down or lean against.

This story will become public at some point and you can count on the fact that some television cameras will show this picture.

During his March 13, 2010, deposition, Craig James was asked, “When you wrote this email of 12/26 you did not believe Adam had been confined to the electrical closet for a total of three hours, fair?”

Craig James replied, “Yes.

On Dec. 27, 2009, TTU President Guy Bailey drafted a letter addressed to Mike Leach that included a private reprimand and $60,000 fine. The final line of the letter read:

This concludes the inquiry into allegations made by Adam James and his parents. If other information about other incidents emerges, we will investigate them and take appropriate action as warranted.

Instead of the letter being delivered, on the same day TTU investigator Bingham left a voicemail with Leach’s attorney that stated, “if there’s not just some incredible objection, Mike needs to sign the letter — that he sign the letter that he was presented with (earlier) — and return it to (TTU attorney’s office) or return it to the president (Guy Bailey) and then he needs to work on some sort of apology.

No deadline of when the coach was required to fulfill the request was given by Bingham - or anyone at TTU - to Leach or his attorney.

In the same voicemail to Leach’s attorney, Bingham referenced “outside pressure” from Craig James as a reason Texas Tech was looking to resolve the James family complaint as soon as possible.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

The next day Texas Tech announced that Leach had been suspended.

90 minutes after Texas Tech released a statement reporting that Leach’s suspension was in response to a complaint by the family of an unnamed Texas Tech football player, ESPN reporter Joe Schad broke the news that Adam James was the player in question.

Schad next provided the following details of the treatment of Adam James at the hands of the newly-suspended Texas Tech football coach:

A source close to the James family said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”

A source told The Associated Press that James said Leach told him if he came out, he would be kicked off the team.

According to the source, Leach told the trainer, two days later, to “put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”

The claims by the anonymous “source close to the James family” were not noted in the ESPN report as being alleged, though the same claims had already been debunked by Texas Tech’s own internal investigation as part of the aformentioned report by Charlotte Bingham and Grace Hernandez to Texas Tech administrators seven days earlier.

Three months later, on March 13, 2010, deposition testimony by Adam James revealed that the claims that had previously - and repeatedly - been presented by ESPN as the primary facts that led to Leach’s Texas Tech ouster were actually completely incorrect.

After ESPN broke the news that Adam James was the player who had initiated the complaint - via his ESPN announcer father’s public relations firm - Spaeth Communications released a statement to the media that included, “The entire James family is supportive of the University and looks forward to a resolution of the matter.

Less than 48 hours later, Mike Leach was fired.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

After Leach’s firing, Craig James said of the media publicity that immediately preceded the coach’s ouster:

Anyone who thinks we were asked to go through this, think again. We had to do it.

This (Leach firing) is all a result of what happened to Adam a couple weeks ago.

There’s not a mom and dad in this country who wouldn’t have done what we did if they knew what we knew about our son.

This isn’t something that we asked for. We continue to be a victim of something.

Less than a week after Leach was fired, ESPN’s highest-rated daily TV talkshow, PARDON THE INTERRUPTION with co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, addressed the subject of Leach’s firing and his future job prospects. As part of the debate, Tony Kornheiser said:

I think he will have to convince a college president he won’t lock a kid up in a tool shed or put him in a cage.

It was arrogance and stupidity and behaving like you are above the law at all times.

He didn’t get fired for coaching.

Five months later while speaking to a church gathering in Dallas, ESPN’s Craig James stated:

My son was being treated in an unfair, unimaginable, and unthinkable manner. We filed a complaint with the university; private, hoping to quietly protect Adam to stop the insanity that was being done to him. Not once, but twice.

The lies, the accusations, the death threats, police sitting outside our home. The bounty on our lives. The insanity that comes from someone’s actions, are crazy.

Adam and my footprints, and what we’ve done in life when we hit the wall we can look around and our character, our honesty and our integrity are in place.

Now the other side of the equation, the party (Mike Leach) that’s accusing, I wonder what their beach looks like?

I have felt strongly that we have been in a spirtual war for the past four months. Our faith, our christian family has sustained us.

It’s important to lead a godly life.

Adam James suited up for his final home game as a Texas Tech Red Raider on Nov. 12, 2011, against Oklahoma State.

Before the game, James participated in Senior Day festivities with family members.

Texas Tech later lost the game 66-6 after trailing 49-0 at halftime.

His father skipped the game.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates

Tx Tech Rep: SbB’s Use Of School Logo Is Illegal

In 10 1/2 years of operating SbB, I’ve never been sued or been faced with any serious legal action. None.

IMG complaint to SbB on behalf of Texas Tech regarding SbB's illegal use of Texas Tech logo

(Texas Tech rep IMG fired legal guns 72 hours after SbB’s BCG revelations)

Over the years I’ve reported on Texas Tech quite a bit - especially as it pertains to Mike Leach, and more recently, Tommy Tuberville and Billy Gillispie. The accuracy of those numerous reports has never been specifically disputed on the record by anyone associated with Texas Tech.

Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville reacts to SbB Facebook Posts About Him

(SbB post on TT football coach Tuberville caused Lubbock media uproar)

If you’ve read my exhaustive coverage of the unfortunate circumstances of Leach’s departure from the school, you’re well aware of the varying forms of documentation I’ve posted that portray Texas Tech officials - and others associated with the school - in an unflattering manner throughout the former football coach’s legally-challenged ouster.

In addition to Leach and Tuberville, on August 23 I reported details of the regrettable early tenure of newly-hired Texas Tech basketball coach Billy Gillispie. None of the facts of that story have been challenged on the record by anyone associated with Texas Tech.

Mike Leach New Book: Swing Your Sword

(TT rep IMG included “Truth” image linked to Leach book in SbB complaint)

On August 26, yesterday, I received an email from the company Texas Tech uses to oversee its licensing: IMG. The email, originated from IMG’s “enforcement” department, claimed that SbB’s use of the Texas Tech logo was, in fact, illegal.

The text of the email is below. [Note: IMG owns and operates ‘Collegiate Licensing Company’, ‘CLC’]

Please find attached a letter from the Collegiate Licensing Company Legal Department. Thanks.

Judy Martin | Enforcement & Compliance Assistant

IMG College and The Collegiate Licensing Company - an IMG Company

VIA CERTIFIED OR ELECTRONIC MAIL

August 26, 2011
Sports by Brooks

Re:  Unauthorized Use of Texas Tech University Trademarks

Mr. Brooks:

This letter serves to put you on notice of the proprietary interests of Texas Tech University. Read more…

Exclusive: Bully Gillispie Already Wrecking Tech

Last we left Billy Gillispie here at SbB, he had signed away as much as $3 million of his own money as part of “loan” agreement - at up to 65% annual interest! - with now-outed Ponzi schemer Jim Donnan.

Donnan, Franchione and Gillispie part of alleged Ponzi scheme

(Gillispie may have lost millions in two separate Ponzi schemes this summer)

The extent of Gillispie’s astonishing losses in the Donnan Ponzi, unreported in the media, came after Pablo Torre of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reported last month that Gillispie monetary loss in an alleged Ponzi involving a Houston businessman may have also reached well into seven figures.

It isn’t unreasonable to think that had those revelations surfaced before Gillispie was hired by Texas Tech in March to take over its basketball program, he may not have gotten the job. Though Gillispie’s lacking business acumen is most likely the last concern Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and TT Chancellor Kent Hance has about Gillispie at the moment.

Since Gillispie was named Texas Tech coach four months ago, several basketball staffers have left the program. Included in those defections is well-respected Red Raider trainer Jon Murray, whose 13-year Tech tenure included the Bob and Pat Knight years.

Longtime Tech basketball secretary Leslie Hartline, whose TT athletic dept. career traversed the entire Knight era at Tech, also recently walked out on Gillispie. Though Texas Tech officials have since prevailed upon Hartline to stay on as an administrative assistant with the school’s fundraising Red Raider Club.

Gillispie is now on his third secretary since taking the Tech job four months ago.

While some may write off those defections, among others, as typical turnover due to a coaching change, the situation involving former Tech basketball assistant Chris Beard cannot be similarly ascribed.

Beard recently left the program after serving as a Tech basketball assistant for nine years under Bob and Pat Knight - and being retained by Gillispie. But two months after Gillispie officially announced that Beard would stay on, the assistant coach’s departure was suddenly, and quietly, announced by the school and Gillispie.

From David Just of the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL:

Chris Beard’s tenure on Billy Gillispie’s staff was a short one.

The Texas Tech men’s basketball assistant coach announced Thursday that he’s leaving his post to pursue other opportunities less than three months after being hired.

Beard was the associate head coach under former head coach Pat Knight, who was fired in March after three seasons. Billy Gillispie reinstated Beard on April 7, making him the first member of his staff.

Gillispie would only comment through a statement released by Texas Tech on Thursday evening.

“We hate to lose Chris,” Gillispie said in the statement. “He did a fantastic job and we appreciate the effort. He has been an important part of the program for several years and in the time we were together, it was obvious he has a great love for this university and this community.”

Beard could not be reached for comment.

“I’ve enjoyed and appreciate the opportunity to coach at Texas Tech University,” Beard said in a statement. “My family and I have equally enjoyed living in Lubbock. I wish Texas Tech nothing but the best.”

The Beard quote? He never said it. Tech made it up.

Beard left the program after multiple, heated altercations with the irascible and intractable Gillispie, the final of which was physically broken up by Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt.

That final conflict was a mediation of sorts after Beard had previously decided to leave the program because of Gillispie’s poor treatment of Tech employees, a former player and concern over Gillispie’s fast-and-loose recruiting tactics.

Remember, Beard was a guy who got along famously with Bob Knight throughout the notorious coach’s tenure and was a close confidante of Pat Knight as his top assistant. Gillispie was also a previous admirer of Beard, having tried to hire Beard at one of his previous coaching stops.

But the throwdown in front of Tech AD Hocutt was the final straw for Beard, who was cursed by Gillispie on multiple occasions in front of Hocutt before responding to the Tech coach in kind.

In exchange for Beard’s silence about Gillispie’s ill-advised stewardship of the program, Texas Tech has since paid Beard a hefty sum in an exit agreement that included a confidentiality clause. (Beard was not a source for this story, nor did he initiate or have any role whatsoever in its production or publication.)

Billy Clyde Gillispie

(Someone needs a wakeup call. Literally)

Beyond rampant, voluntary staff defections and the alarming circumstances surrounding Beard’s departure, Tech officials also have current concerns about Gillispie’s increasingly erratic behavior and well-chronicled fondness for, shall we say, a spirited off-court lifestyle.

Check back here for followups to this story - and at my Twitter and Facebook account.

‘Craig James gave Joe Schad Adam’s cell number’

The new Mike Leach book, Swing Your Sword, is out.

Mike Leach New Book: Swing Your Sword

In the book, Leach retells the events of his legally-challenged ouster at Texas Tech in late 2009 - and provides stunning new documents and details that verify a professional public relations campaign paid for and orchestrated by ESPN’s Craig James against the all-time winningest coach in Tech football history.

If you followed the story as it initially unfolded, you may be aware of at least some of the actions of Texas Tech officials during the regrettable episode. Actions that left Leach no choice but to seek legal remedy soon to culminate at the Texas Supreme Court.

If you were reading SbB at the time, it wasn’t unreasonable to suspect that Craig James and his professional public relations representative, Spaeth Communications founder Merrie Spaeth, may have had a role in shaping ESPN’s coverage of the story.

But now, thanks to Texas Tech’s status as a state-funded institution, emails obtained through open records requests by Leach and his attorneys show a concerted effort by Craig James and paid agents of the ESPN analyst to materially impact ESPN’s editorial approach to Leach’s untimely departure from Texas Tech.

Leach reports in his new book that even before a complaint against Leach was lodged by Craig James regarding the coach’s alleged mistreatment of his son - former Texas Tech football player Adam James - Craig James had hired Spaeth. (It was Spaeth who hatched the infamous Swift Boat public relations campaign that helped turn public opinion against John Kerry’s during the 2004 presidential election campaign.)

Here is one such email included in Swing Your Sword in which Spaeth Communications employee Rebecca Shaw asks Craig James in an emailif we want to forward the players’ names and numbers exclusively to [ESPN reporter] Joe [Schad].”:

From: Rebecca Shaw
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 11:30 PM
To: James, Craig Subject: RE: ESPN 6:29 PM

Craig - Merrie’s position - and I agree - is that the story has been put to bed tonight. Let’s take a look at the coverage first thing in the morning and make a decision then if we want to forward the players’ names and numbers exclusively to [ESPN’s] Joe [Schad], whether we want to include the AP reporter, or if we want to hold off a day to see if the university makes a statement. I’ll be up early checking the coverage. Merrie’s good with the statement that I drafted for you for ESPN. Would you like it circulated to Kevin and Jim or do you want to noodle on it awhile?

Rebecca Shaw Executive Vice President Spaeth Communications, Inc.

In addition to the emails, Leach reports in the following Swing Your Sword excerpt that Craig James went so far as to personally provide the cellphone number of his son, Adam James, to ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad: Read more…

Video: Tech’s Tuberville Reacts To SbB Facebook

Yesterday morning I posted three entries to my Facebook page that provided some insight into how Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville is adjusting to life as the Red Raiders head football coach.

Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville reacts to SbB Facebook Posts About Him

The entries were entirely based on conversations with three different sources, two of whom are current football coaches at major college football programs and an athletic department staffer also at a major football school. All three know Tuberville personally and have talked to him about the Texas Tech situation.

From those conversations, it was made clear to me that Tuberville was not entirely pleased with how things were going at Tech. In fact, as I said yesterday, Tuberville was downright “miserable.”

SbB Facebook entry #1:

Tuberville is absolutely miserable at Texas Tech. Wishes he hadn’t heeded advice of Under Armour folks and taken TTU job. One of his complaints is ADs Myers/Hocutt are powerless to keep admins and boosters in check. Leach refused to kiss their rings, and you see what that got him. #tubs has told multiple sources he wishes he’d taken USF job over TTU.

SbB Facebook entry #2:

As time goes by, Mike Leach is only going to look more and more like the genius he really was at Texas Tech. He didn’t need great players to win, which is why he was such a great fit there. BCG will be similar. Recruits to his system, which works. Don’t need blue chips to win. #tubs another story.

SbB Facebook Entry #3:

How’s this for awkward: #tubs backchanneled interest to Miami after Shannon was fired. The Miami Athletic Director at that time? Kirby Hocutt, who was just hired as new Texas Tech AD.

After practice yesterday, Tuberville talked about my Facebook posts to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, DAILY TOREADOR, and NBC Texas affiliate KCBD.

Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville reacts to SbB Facebook Posts About Him

Tuberville told KCBD-TV’s Pete Christy:

“I don’t know where that came from. How about this weather here? Whoever wrote that blog needs to come down here. He probably doesn’t have weather this nice.

“But no, this is a great place. We’re gonna build something here that people can be proud of, but I think that comes from a lot of people who probably would hope we would pack up and leave.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a tough challenge the next couple of years getting it to where we want to get it to, but I would imagine that’s coming from across the river somewhere that they would hope I would go somewhere else.”

Two things stand out from those comments. Read more…

Gillispie Formally Meets With TTU, Hiring Imminent

Former Kentucky and Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie met with new Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, school president Guy Bailey and TTU chancellor Kent Hance - along with other representatives of the school -  this morning in Boca Raton, Florida.

Billy Gillispie

(BCG met with AD Hocutt in Florida & Texas Tech officials in Dallas last week)

The meeting, which took place in south Florida because Hocutt’s last official day as Univ. of Miami Athletic Director isn’t until Friday, was to allow for a formal interview of Gillispie for the vacant Texas Tech basketball coaching job. Read more…

Conflicted Court’s Tech Loyalty Trumped Leach

After digesting the 24-page opinion made Thursday by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling against Mike Leach’s wrongful termination lawsuit against Texas Tech, it’s clear the conflicted court didn’t have the stomach to rule against its beloved Texas Tech.

Tech-friendly court trumped Leach's claim

(Court that ruled against Leach schooled at Texas Tech)

All four 7th Circuit judges matriculated at Texas Tech, with one justice, Mackey Hancock, a registered donor (pdf) to the Red Raider Club. (The primary fundraising arm for Tech athletics.)

Then there’s 7th Circuit Chief Justice Brian Quinn, who authored the court’s opinion that threw out Leach’s appeal. Quinn, an adjunct Texas Tech faculty member (pdf), is a former longtime partner at the prominent Lubbock law firm, McWhorter, Cobb & Johnson. That same law firm made multiple contributions to current Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance’s past run for a Senate (pdf).

It is a widely held belief that Leach’s personality conflict with Chancellor Hance contributed to the coach’s firing.

But if the court was indeed in the bag for Tech, why was Thursday’s judgment against Leach conflicted? One only read the rhetoric employed by Chief Justice Quinn in his written opinion to recognize the acute ambiguity of the decision.

Texas Tech’s argument in its appeal was that Leach’s breach of contract claim was invalid because of the State of Texas’ “sovereign immunity” law.

In short, contractual sovereign immunity protects the state of Texas from breach of contract claims between a private party and the state. The law asserts that state institutions, like Texas Tech, cannot be sued in such cases regardless of the circumstances of an employee’s dismissal.

Yes, you read that correctly.

So in its argument to the 7th Circuit, Texas Tech claimed that a contract written and executed by Texas Tech was unenforceable. (In its ruling against Leach, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.)

Yes, you read that correctly.

Not surprisingly, in his written opinion, 7th Circuit Chief Justice Quinn was pained in the explanation of the court’s decision. Read more…

realtalk: Why Is Mike Leach Really Suing ESPN?

Today Mike Leach filed a libel lawsuit against ESPN and Spaeth Communications. The premise of the legal action, filed in Lubbock District Court today, is essentially to allow Leach to clear his name.

Mike Leach accused Craig James of making inappropriate calls to his coaching staff

But if you’ve followed the Leach vs. Texas Tech saga like I have, you know the real reason Leach is going after ESPN and Spaeth in this instance.

Last night, before Leach made his claim against ESPN and Spaeth, he executed another legal manuever that has gone largely unreported. That manuever though went a long way to revealing the real motivation behind today’s lawsuit.

From KCBD in Lubbock yesterday:

“Officials say former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach has dropped all legal action against the individuals named in his suit against the University.

“That included Chancellor Kent Hance, President Guy Bailey and Athletic Director Gerald Myers, plus two members of the Board of Regents Larry Anders and Jerry Turner.

“This does not mean he dropped his case against the university, just the individuals named in the lawsuit. ”This is not a new development,” says Leach’s Attorney Ted Liggett.  “The parties entered into a ‘Rule 11′ agreement finalizing the judge’s decision of several months ago that no action will be taken against the individuals. 

“However, Texas Tech and Craig James are still defendants.” 

So Leach has dropped legal action against all persons in the Texas Tech lawsuit except James, while continuing to press his multi-million dollar claim against the school in the same case.

Think that might have something to do with the fact that it was Craig James who first set Leach’s professional life ablaze by going public with charges of abuse by Leach against James’ son?

The same Craig James who …

  • browbeat Leach - against the wishes of his assistants - into giving his son Adam a scholarship when no other prominent football school was offering a full ride
  • secretly hired Spaeth Communications, the company best-known for discrediting John Kerry’s military career with its “swift boat” campaign in 2004
  • called his dispute with Leach “a spiritual war” - implying you-know-what about the coach

In Texas Tech administrators, James did have accomplices in Leach’s firing. Though more James puppeteers than equal participants to the demise of the winningest coach - any sport - in school history. (A coach who, in his final year at the helm of the Red Raiders, led his team to the highest graduation rate for football players of any public institution in the country.)

No, this new Leach lawsuit isn’t about ESPN. Or Spaeth. Read more…

Video: Craig James In “Spiritual War” With Leach

Craig James spoke at a church in Dallas recently, and talked about the wrongful termination lawsuit Mike Leach filed against Texas Tech after the football coach was fired following text messages and emails from James demanding Leach’s ouster to Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance and members of the Texas Tech Board of Regents.

Craig James Claims Spiritual War Against Mike Leach

(Video Below: Scroll to 14:00 mark)

Excerpt of James remarks:

“My son was being treated in an unfair, unimaginable, and unthinkable manner. We filed a complaint with the university; private, hoping to quietly protect Adam to stop the insanity that was being done to him. Not once, but twice.

“The lies, the accusations, the death threats, police sitting outside our home. The bounty on our lives. The insanity that comes from someone’s actions, are crazy.

“(Craig’s son) Adam (James) and my footprints, and what we’ve done in life when we hit the wall we can look around and our character, our honesty and our integrity are in place.

“Now the other side of the equation, the party that’s accusing, I wonder what their beach looks like?

“I have felt strongly that we have been in a spirtual war for the past four months. Our faith, our christian family has sustained us. … It’s important to lead a godly life.”

Regarding those “quiet” and “private” complaints from James, news reporter Ann Wyatt Little of ABC-TV affiliate KCBD in Lubbock noted three days after the James speech:

“According to official documents, On December 23, 2009, Craig James wrote to Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance demanding that Mike Leach be terminated.”

Five months before James asked the Texas Tech administration for Leach to be fired for the alleged mishandling of his son Adam’s concussion, despite the Texas Tech team trainer and doctor claiming the contrary in sworn affidavits, the ESPN analyst left voicemails with two Red Raiders coaching staff members demanding that his son be given more playing time by Leach. Read more…

Memo: Tech President Didn’t Want To Fire Leach

Betsy Blaney of the ASSOCIATED PRESS has details on a memo that Texas Tech university President Guy Bailey sent to Tech Chancellor Kent Hance three days before Mike Leach’s firing that recommended the “James case be closed” and Leach keep his job.

Texas Tech President Guy Bailey Didn't Want To Fire Mike Leach

Testimony from Hance and the attorney also confirmed that university President Guy Bailey penned a memo Dec. 27 to Hance recommending that Leach “be issued a letter of reprimand” and that the James case be closed.

So why was Leach fired? Read more…