Sources: Wyoming Wants Kent, BCG Talks To TTU

On Feb. 7, I broke the news that Wyoming had fired head basketball coach Heath Schroyer.

Billy Gillispie and Ernie Kent: Kent to Wyoming, Gillispie to Texas Tech

(Gillispie and Kent: Two guys who could use a hug)

At the time I suggested that the job was perhaps the worst in college coaching because of Schroyer’s salary, a paltry $160,000, and Wyoming’s somewhat lacking hoops facilities.

Since that time things have apparently changed in Laramie.

I was told yesterday that Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman is attempting to make as splashy a hire as possible under the circumstances. (A hire that may go a long way to saving his job.) Facilitating Burman in that endeavor has been Univ. of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan, who has stepped up the school’s financial backing to allow Burman to pursue more recognizable names.

Until recently, rumored candidates throughout the process have been former Wyoming head coach and current Florida assistant Larry Shyatt, BYU assistant Dave Rice, USF assistant Jeremy Cox, St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap and Kansas assistant Joe Dooley.

I’ve also been told that there was a major push by Wyoming boosters to try to get Billy Gillispie some consideration for the job. Despite the search firm involved in the process signing off on BCG and school president Buchanan also approving of Gillispie consideration, Burman nixed an interview for the former Kentucky coach. That despite Bill Self personally calling the school to recommend his former assistant at Tulsa after Gillispie made it known he had interest in the job. (Regardless of what you may hear, he did.) Read more…

Craig James: ‘Most Lubbock People Support Me’

Last Friday Craig James assessed the status of Mike Leach’s termination lawsuit against the ESPN announcer and Texas Tech.

Craig James Claims Spiritual War Against Mike Leach

“I feel very confident about our position. Most people in Lubbock support my position. We did what any responsible parent would do. We did the right thing.”

For all I know, James may be right about the overall support he enjoys in Lubbock, but from their public actions, I do know at least one group of people who do not share James’ optimism.

The lawyers representing Texas Tech. Read more…

Leach Sues James-Hired Swift Boat PR Firm, ESPN

Today Mike Leach filed a lawsuit in Lubbock District Court that accused ESPN and James-hired public relations firm Spaeth Communications of defamation.

Mike Leach ESPN lawsuit

Case introduction:

Mike Leach ESPN Lawsuit

Lawsuit excerpt:

Mike Leach lawsuit

Here is the letter Leach attorney Liggett sent to ESPN:

ESPN James Lawsuit

 Lawsuit excerpt covering Spaeth Communications:

Mike Leach ESPN lawsuit

What Leach wants: Read more…

TTU Massively Exaggerates Tuberville Fundraising

During the September 5 ESPN football broadcast between SMU and Texas Tech, ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe reported on-air that new Red Raider football coach Tommy Tuberville had already made an enormous impact in his fundraising for the school.

Holly Rowe Reports Tuberville Raised $25 Million For Texas Tech

(*Judge Smails Voice* “IT WAS AN HONEST MISTAKE!”)

With information reportedly obtained from Texas Tech, Rowe claimed that the coach who most recently replaced Mike Leach had already raked in tens of millions in donations for the school.

Rowe’s report seemed to indicate that Texas Tech fans were finally getting over the wildly unpopular departure of Leach which TTU’s own attorneys have stated in public documents was necessary because of legal threats against the school by ESPN college football announcer Craig James.

If only ESPN’s report of Tuberville’s fundraising efforts were true. Or even close.

Here’s the entire exchange on the ESPN telecast on September 5 between Rowe and ESPN announcers Mark Jones and Bob Davie: Read more…

Texas Tech Won’t Pay Leach’s $1.7M 2009 Salary

Dwain Price of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS reports that Texas Tech has not paid Mike Leach $1.7 million he is owed for “work he performed for the school during the 2009 season.

Mike Leach Adam James

(Stiff?)

Like most football factories, Texas Tech compensated Leach with a small base salary supplemented by “outside income” sources. Those sources include radio and TV appearances and an apparel endorsement - a controlled by Tech officials.

According to Leach’s contract, Tech is supposed to pay him $1.6 million in guaranteed outside athletics-related personal income. He also was slated to collect an additional $25,000 because Tech played in a bowl, $25,000 because the Raiders finished the season ranked No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll, $25,000 because Tech won five Big 12 games, and $25,000 because its football program’s graduation rate was above 65 percent. 

When contacted by Price, Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers confirmed that Leach hadn’t been paid most of his 2009 salary. Read more…

ESPN: Craig James Can Call Big 12 Football In ‘10

If you’re wondering what ESPN is planning to do with Craig James this college football season, it appears we have our answer.

Craig James: ESPN clears him to work Big 12 games in '10

Richard Deitsch of SI.com has a Q & A this week with ESPN’s vice president of production Norby Williamson that illuminates the cable network’s stand on the college football analyst standing accused of unduly influencing the termination of Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach.

Deitsch:

Last month James called the Alabama spring game and remains part of the regular rotation for ESPN’s College Football Live. Williamson told SI.com that he anticipates James will have a “similar schedule” to last year.

I’ve snipped some additional excerpts below from the the interview but I suggest you check out Deitsch’s entire story on the subject. 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…

Is Tx Tech Throwing Craig James Under The Bus?

The evidence continues to mount that Texas Tech school administrators, faced with a wrongful termination lawsuit from former football coach Mike Leach, are in the process of intimating that ESPN’s Craig James played a major role in the dismissal of the school’s most successful coach of all-time.

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

Saturday Matthew McGowan of the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL reports that yesterday Leach attorney Paul Dobrowski told a “room full of reporters” that Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance stated under oath in his Thursday deposition that James, an ESPN national college football analyst, “personally wanted Leach fired.

Hance’s statement about James comes after Texas Tech attorneys, in a written request to the Texas Attorney General on Jan. 26 to keep public school documents about the firing secret, reported, “Craig James threatened on Dec. 20 to sue the university if it did not investigate the actions of then-head football coach Mike Leach.

I wrote at the time of that revelation:

Tech attorneys are trying to keep all records sealed within the university as it pertains to the Leach investigation, but in the process of trying to keep those secrets, university lawyers tipped off just how much influence Craig James was trying to exert over the Texas Tech football program - and Leach himself.

The reason Tech lawyers released the statement about James’ threatened lawsuit was an attempt to prove to the state’s attorney general that the school had no choice but to go forward with its subsequent actions against Leach. And that behind-the-scenes details of those actions needed to be sealed forever.

Sounds a lot like Tech school officials are doing what they can to place the blame for the Leach investigation and subsequent dismissal of the coach on James. That would perhaps take the heat off themselves for what was an extremely unpopular decision with fans and, more importantly, donors. (Donations to the school have reportedly plummeted since Leach was fired, causing cuts in Tech academic programs.)

Though from Craig James’ perspective, the worst may be yet to come. Read more…

Tech Leaks Leach Lawsuit ‘Settlement’ To ESPN?

ESPN.com reported today:

Former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach and the school are headed to mediation Friday in Lubbock, Texas, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

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

(ESPN’s James should just cut a check w/ Tech to Leach now)

On Jan. 21, State District Judge William Sowder ordered Leach, Texas Tech and their attorneys to complete mediation by Feb. 5. Lubbock attorney Frank E. “Dirk” Murchison III, a graduate of the Texas Tech School of Law, will try to mediate a resolution between the sides, according to the sources.

The source said neither side wants the case to go to trial and said the dispute might be resolved in mediation at a later date.

Interesting news from ESPN, if only it were true.

The LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL reports that Leach has absolutely no intention of settling with the school.

Read more…

Tx Tech: Craig James “Threatened” To Sue School

An open request record filed by the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL unearthed a bombshell involving Craig James and Texas Tech attorneys.

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

(Tech lawyers blaming investigation on James to keep Leach records seal)

A-J reporter Matthew McGowan notes this week that as part of an appeal to thwart the newspaper’s request for records involving the Leach investigation, Tech attorneys stated, “Craig James threatened on Dec. 20 to sue the university if it did not investigate the actions of then-head football coach Mike Leach.

More of the plea from Tech to the Texas Attorney General: “The threat did not appear to be an idle threat as the parent expressed genuine concern for the health and well-being of his injured child, as well as other student-athletes.

Tech attorneys are trying to keep all records sealed within the university as it pertains to the Leach investigation, but in the process of trying to keep those secrets, university lawyers tipped off just how much influence Craig James was trying to exert over the Texas Tech football program - and Leach himself.

Read more…