Fowler 48 Hours Before Ouster: Leach ‘Clueless’

Two days before Mike Leach was fired, Dec. 29, 2009, Chris Fowler appeared on Colin Cowherd’s nationally syndicated ESPN Radio show.

(Leach’s life went up in flames thanks to claims by Fowler ‘close friend’ James )

Fowler appeared on the show to, in part, discuss complaints made about Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach by his ESPN colleague Craig James. The complaints to Texas Tech administrators about Leach were made by James on behalf of his son, Red Raider football player Adam James.Below is audio of the exchange and a transcription of the conversation.


Cowherd:

When you first read about the Mike Leach story, what do you think? What is your first broad thought when you read the accusations, the player, so forth.”

Fowler:

I read it from a different perspective than most people because I’ve known Craig James for 20 years. He’s been a close friend and I’ve worked with him on (ESPN College) GameDay since the early ’90s, so I definitely feel for him and his family and what they’ve gone through and how tough it would be for them to notify the administration in this case.

This is not a hot-headed guy who is going to fly off the handle at the first complaint from his son. He knows what football is, it’s a tough sport and you have to endure so I know for him to make the move that he did, and be aware of the repercussions that it would have for Leach, the program and his own son and he’s got a younger son Andy that also goes to Texas Tech and was thinking about playing football there next year so I feel for what he (Craig James) went through to make that decision.

Everybody that’s a parent who has kids that plays sports, you get confronted with these things at one some point or another, an overzealous coach that’s my perspective. It’s kind of tough for me to step back and comment with distance because I’ve known Craig and I’ve known Adam for a long time.”

Cowherd:

I would imagine there was some reluctance, and I said this earlier, when you’re a public figure, you know you’re going to get beat up on a story like this. Can you tell us how long Craig considered this? Obviously this is difficult but for a public figure it’s even more difficult.

Fowler:

Well they considered it for awhile but I don’t know if he’s being hammered about this. I don’t, I mean, the sense I have is, again, it’s a pretty fresh story with the identity of Adam only being revealed publicly yesterday though it’d been whispered around. 

I think that most people feel that when it’s a head injury, and I speaking just in general terms Colin, a head injury, if you’re a coach in football these days and you don’t understand the importance of that and the need to take it seriously and the need to treat each case individually, listen to the medical experts, listen to the player, understand the long term ramifications of dealing with a guy who has a head injury you’re out of touch. I mean, you’re clueless, if you don’t understand that.

This isn’t a sprained ankle where you’re made at the kid because he isn’t able to go, this is a head injury and I think that’s what has coaches shaking their heads. Guys you run into, and talk to the past 24 hours about this story. They don’t understand how a head injury, you can’t comprehend the seriousness of that.

Two days after Fowler’s comments on ESPN Radio, Leach was fired by Texas Tech and remained unemployed for two years.

Craig James, meanwhile, worked the 2010 and 2011 football seasons with ESPN and is currently running for political office in Texas.

On Dec. 31, 2009, two days after Fowler’s comments were made on a nationally-syndicated ESPN outlet, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS published the following statement from Texas Tech team physician Michael Phy, dated Dec. 25:

I saw Adam James as a patient on December 17th. At that visit I diagnosed him with a mild concussion. I made recommendations regarding level of activity and treatment. These were shared with Adam and the athletic training staff and are documented in Adam’s medical record.

I was not aware of any incident until I was contacted by (Texas Tech representative) Charlotte Bingham. She provided details of a complaint, and I completed a short phone interview and answered questions for her. According to the information given to me, no additional risks or harm were imposed on Adam by what he was asked to do.

Also on Dec. 31, 2009, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS published the following, excerpted statement from Red Raider football team head trainer Steve Pincock, dated Dec. 31:

“In regard to the Adam James situation, the first building was an athletic training storage garage, two of which were adjacent to the football field.– Adam was placed in the sports medicine garage, there is no lock on this building.

“On the second occasion, practice was in the stadium, and Coach wanted Adam to be in a dark location to help his concussion and wanted him out of public view because of his poor attitude and bad work ethic.– Zack Perry, our equipment manager, suggested using the visiting team media room.– I walked Adam to the room, which was at least as big as a two-car garage.

“Inside the room there is an electrical closet.– I looked in the closet and stated that there was ‘no way that Adam would be placed in there’. I shut the door to the electrical closet, and it was never opened again.

“At no time during this practice was Adam ever placed in the electrical closet. The door to the media room was never locked, and trainers attending to Adam stated that he was sitting at times during the practice.

“Adam was never locked in any facility, and was never placed in an electrical closet or tight space, or instructed to do so.

“I received calls about both incidents from Charlotte Bingham, and was asked and answered many questions on the subject, and pictures were taken of both locations. Adam exhibited no symptoms of a concussion after the first day: no memory loss, no confusion, and no dizziness.”

Texas Tech attorney Charlotte Bingham headed the school’s investigation of the James complaint. In her report, she noted that during her interview of Adam James he indicated to her that he “stayed in (electrical) closet (for) five minutes.

Of his punishment by Leach, Adam James stated in his own deposition that the coach’s treatment of his condition was “funny” and that, “being in the shed was not causing me any medical harm.

While in “the shed” on Dec. 19, 2009, Adam James admitted under sworn testimony on March 13, 2010, that he shot the cellphone video of the “electrical closet” in question which he subsequently provided to the public relations firm his father had hired to assist in his handling of the Leach complaint, Spaeth Communications.

Craig James, who also called Texas Tech coaches during games he worked for ESPN in 2009 to complain about his son’s lack of playing time, then authorized Spaeth Communications to release the video publicly on Youtube with the following description:

This video was taken by Adam James, a player on the Texas Tech Red Raider football team on Saturday, December 19th, after being confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet off the Press Room at Jones AT&T Stadium. James was suffering from a concussion received during an earlier scrimmage game. James was ordered to stand in the darkness until released several hours later. James momentarily turned on a light to record his surroundings with his cell phone.

Craig James later said in his own sworn deposition on March 13, 2010, that he authorized the public release of the video, which led to innumerable airings on various nationally-televised ESPN outlets, because it “was going to help support Adam’s claim.”

It was Spaeth, which also famously derailed John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential campaign with its “Swift Boat” attack ads, that posted the “electrical closet” video on Youtube under an anonymous pseudonym with a description that reported Adam James was “confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet” for “several hours.

The day after ESPN first aired the Adam James video uploaded by Spaeth Communications, Leach was fired.

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Herbstreit: ‘talked to Urban Meyer about coaching’

Friday I broke the news that Urban Meyer has agreed in principle to become the next head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer not calling the Ohio State Michigan football game with normal TV crew

(Ohio State: Meyer not calling OSU-Michigan game with normal TV crew)

With that agreement - which I reported Friday did not include a signed contract - I also reported that Meyer “aimed to addKirk Herbstreit to his coaching staff.


Monday Herbstreit confirmed to Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio that he had spoken to Meyer about coaching.

Excerpt from Herbstreit comments:

“I’ve talked to Urban Meyer just like I’ve talked to a lot of other coaches in the past about getting into coaching. It’s in my blood, I’d love to coach. But at this point, do you think I’m crazy? I’ve got the best job, for me, in television.”

After the Sports by Brooks report on Friday, Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com were first to report an on the record confirmation from Ohio State that the school had been in contact with Meyer about the job.

Meyer will also not be calling the Ohio State-Michigan football game on television despite his play-by-play and color analysts partners, Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman, being assigned to the game.

UPDATE: Onlygators.com reports that Meyer is not working the Ohio State-Michigan game with his normal crew in order to appear on ESPN’s College GameDay - with Kirk Herbstreit - from the Alabama-Auburn game.

UPDATE: Pat Dooley of the GAINESVILLE SUN reports, “Urban Meyer isn’t sure where he will be Saturday for ESPN but it won’t be Alabama-Auburn, he said.

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So You Had Good Seats For USC-Stanford Game?

No you didn’t.

Colin Cowherd seats for USC-Stanford football game at the L.A. Coliseum

Colin Cowherd did.

Colin Cowherd seats for USC-Stanford football game at the L.A. Coliseum

Can’t get much lower than that, eh?



Not to mention, those seats absolutely kill.

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McCoy’s Wife: Longhorns ‘Didn’t’ Tell Agents ‘No’

Rachel McCoy, wife of Colt McCoy, called in to ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd today to comment - in part - about the problems NFL agents presented at the University of Texas when her husband was a member of the squad.

“I know he was approached quite a bit (by agents), but you know how Colt is, he can brush it off, move on and not go down that road.

“But I saw so many of his teammates who didn’t have the self control (of her husband Colt) to be able to say no to somebody.”

Ominous comments from someone very close to the highest profile University of Texas football player in recent memory. Especially in lieu of the other major college football programs recently found to be fraught with NCAA violations involving players taking extra benefits.

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Cowherd Slams ‘Out Of Control’ Wall For Dancing

Wednesday nationally syndicated ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd harshly criticized Washington Wizard rookie John Wall’s pregame dance routine and “out of control” play Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Along with the audio of Cowherd’s comments, his remarks about Wall are transcribed below in italic. My response to his comments are in bold.

Cowherd: “I’m gonna call out John Wall….Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie. That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy. All about him. In that line last night, that 29-point line, when he was out of control, he had 8 turnovers. By the way, Rajon Rondo had 17 assists last night, 0 turnovers. Rajon’s got rings, Wall will never have one.”

Here’s the first thing Wall said after his 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals helped the Wizards defeat the 76ers 116-115 in overtime:

“Yeah, it was great, man, the one thing I want to really work on, though — great win for the team — but turnovers. I came back in and had nine or eight. That’s too many turnovers for this team.”

Wall’s Coach Flip Saunders addressed Cowherd’s criticism of his player to the media Thursday:

“John’s very professional, and so he wasn’t doing anything disrespectful to the game. I think the people probably enjoyed it.

“I’ll tell you what, if he has to dance to get 29 and 13 and 9 steals, and cut down on the turnovers, he can dance all he wants.”

Cowherd: “You all, go read the John Wall box score. Everybody’s fascinated. ESPN SportsCenter will probably do like 9 minutes on it. I’ll take the Rondo box score: 3 boards, 9 points, 17 assists, 4 steals, no turnovers….”

The game before Cowherd referenced, Rondo had seven turnovers against the Knicks on Oct. 29. In Wall’s first two NBA regular season games, he had a total of six turnovers.

Wall has played three games in his NBA career. Rondo has played over four seasons.

Cowherd: “Folks, when you rob a bank, it’s not just the act of it, it’s that you sat down for weeks and planned it. That tells me you’re an idiot. The act is just the final icing on the cake. The cake is you sat down for weeks and planned it.”

Did Ray Lewis plan this dance before the Super Bowl?

“Oh, I’m gonna get a lot of callers — Colin, he’s just having fun. What he did last night, Rondo never would, Isiah never would, J. Kidd never would, Stockton never would, Nash never would, Magic never would. Point guard is like the quarterback. it’s an IQ-judgment position. The great ones are not about themselves. They’re about the others. Leadership is IQ, it’s not skills.”

76ers head coach Doug Collins on Wall after the Wizards-Sixers game Tuesday night - the same game in which Wall danced during pregame introductions. Read more…

Opening Act For The Beadle Has Taken The Stage

Michelle Beadle on the campus of the Univ. of Wisconsin:

Michelle Beadle in Wisconsin

(Table for one, monsieur Cowherd?)

Beadle and Colin Cowherd will do their SportsNation show from Madtown later today.

Photo: Michelle Beadle’s Bull Riding Old Boyfriend

A recurring question from emailers is the dating status of ESPN’s Michelle Beadle. I confess to not caring, but a quick search did turn up this delightful photo of her and former pro bull rider Justin McBride in 2003:

Michelle Beadle Boyfriend Photo Justin McBride Photo

The pic, taken in early 2003, is from a post about McBride on a site called IndianRodeoNews.com. Excerpt:

Hes one of the nicest of the young guns of the PBR; but forget it girls. Justin, as you can see in this picture, is spoken for .His girlfriend is the vivacious Michelle Beadle, former PBR commentator; and they sure make a great looking couple.

Both have since moved on. McBride to a wife and country music singing career and Beadle to ESPN’s SportsNation.

Speaking of Beadle’s past, she once hosted a TV dating show which matched mates based on their packing habits. Read more…

Like I Want Antoine Walker On My Front Lawn?

The Big Lead and SbB named-checked on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN Radio show yesterday:


Re: Cowherd on SbB, let me translate:


As my friend will tell you, getting comped at the Four Queens ain’t no accident.

ESPN: USC Will Receive NCAA Findings Tomorrow

Citing an unnamed source, Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com reports today that the NCAA committee on infractions will release its findings from its four-year investigation of the USC football program and basketball programs on Friday.

Colin Cowherd

Interestingly though, another ESPN on-air personality today announced to a national audience that the school will be informed of the findings well before the public.

Read more…

Cowherd Loses Hour, SVP & Gottlieb Cleared In LA

UPDATE (2:40p ET): ESPN VP of PR Josh Krulewitz in response to my report on ESPN Radio changes: “An announcement with details on future ESPN radio plans is upcoming.

Los Angeles radio industry sources confirmed to me this week that the daily radio shows of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb will soon be heard on the Angels-owned KLAA-AM (830am). KLAA, which was purchased by Arte Moreno to serve as the flagship radio outlet for the Angels, has a powerful daytime signal into Los Angeles.

Colin Cowherd radio show to lose one hour. Scott Van Pelt Doug Gottlieb radio shows going live in L.A.

As of now the changes, which have been in the works for months, are set to take effect in early April. The move also comes despite there already being an ESPN-owned station in the L.A. marketplace, KSPN-AM (710am).

As part of the change on the national ESPN radio front, Colin Cowherd’s morning show is being cut by one hour, from 7-10a PT. Van Pelt’s show is likely to increase to three hours, with it airing live in L.A. from 10a-1p PT and Gottlieb’s show remaining from 1p-4p PT.

Cowherd’s full show will continue to be broadcast weekdays on KSPN from 7a-10a PT. KSPN currently airs local programming from 11a-3p PT (LA Sports Live with Mychal Thompson & Andrew Siciliano) and 3p-7p PT (Steve Mason & John Ireland).

So why is ESPN launching its national radio shows into a market where it already airs local L.A. ESPN radio programming via KSPN?

Read more…