December 28, 2009

Texas Tech suspends coach Mike Leach: Texas Tech suspended Mike Leach from all duties as head football coach today and named defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill as interim head coach for Saturday’s Alamo Bowl against Michigan State. The suspension is based on a player's complaint about how the coach treated the player after he suffered a concussion.

posted by irunfromclones to football at 08:41 PM - 20 comments

The player is Adam James, who is the son of ABC college football announcer Craig James. Adam James suffered a concussion at practice on Dec. 16.

Leach had James stand in a shed for two hours during practice and then repeat the same punishment two days later because Leach believed the player to be faking.

Aside from the obvious that this might have gotten more attention because the father works for a major media outlet, exactly how abusive was making him stand in a shed for two hours? Where does standing in a shed meet the criteria of "treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health". Boring as hell maybe, but abusive? Did the kid have a history of slacking off in practice? Did he provide proof to the coach from a physician that he had suffered a concussion in practice?

posted by irunfromclones at 09:57 PM on December 28, 2009

exactly how abusive was making him stand in a shed for two hours?

Perhaps you've missed the concussion-awareness PSAs running during NFL games in recent weeks.

posted by etagloh at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2009

Stand in a shed? Are they all 8 years old at Texas Tech? WTF?

posted by NoMich at 10:36 PM on December 28, 2009

Perhaps you've missed the concussion-awareness PSAs...

Quoting the linked article above, "players who exhibit any significant sign of a concussion be removed from practice or a game for the reminder of the day".

He wasn't made to stand in the shed the same day that he was injured. Were the coach and his staff notified by the player, a doctor, or a parent that the player had suffered a concussion? Did a doctor provide a clearance to the coach that the player could resume football activities? Does everyone present the same symptoms to the same degree?

posted by irunfromclones at 10:53 PM on December 28, 2009

The linked article doesn't say anything about a shed. Did they edit it?

posted by rumple at 11:15 PM on December 28, 2009

Stand in a shed? Are they all 8 years old at Texas Tech

You had to do this as an 8 year old?

Boring as hell maybe, but abusive?

absolutely. Held against your will for 3+ hours in a small, cold, dark room and instructed not to sit or lean and with a guard placed outside? Because the coach wants to punish you for not practicing? You don't consider that abusive? You wouldn't mind your son/daughter being subjected to that?

I was on this forum not to long ago semi-defending the Kansas State coach for allegations he abused his team thinking what he did didn't seem too different than what I had experienced in my football career. But I can't say I EVER heard of anything like this before. Sounds so over the top to even be possible.

posted by bdaddy at 11:52 PM on December 28, 2009

Held against your will? He had an option to leave the shed if he wanted to. There also seems to be a pretty wide discrepancy in the shed conditions depending upon which side you listen to. Leach has a rep for unusual but not cruel or abusive punishments.

But I still fail to see how spending time in a shed thats a little cooler and darker than the playing field is going to aggravate a mild concussion. Given Leach's history, I'm more inclined to believe that the allegations are the result of a disgruntled momma's boy and a father with an over-inflated sense of his position in the world of sports broadcasting.

But hey, if Texas tech is that stupid to fire the most successful coach in their history over an incident with a kid with a mild concussion, I am certain that a lot of their opponents will be more than happy to give him a job.

And I certainly hope that mummy and daddy have gotten Adam James out of the state. I'm equally certain that the kid who got their head coach sidelined for a bowl game and maybe fired for a bullshit punishment has a bigger bounty on his head than another outlaw with the last name of James.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:20 AM on December 29, 2009

Dose anyone have a link to Craig James' comments? youtube doesn't have it. Thanks.

posted by gfinsf at 05:54 AM on December 29, 2009

I don't think the facts are that much in dispute. Leach punished James because he thought he was missing practice by faking a concussion. The doctor apparently diagnosed James with a concussion, and said that this treatment didn't harm the player. Well, it will harm the next player who has a concussion and shouldn't practice, but fears the repercussions of sitting out. This was absolutely a punishment for being injured. I can't imagine how that is acceptable to anyone.

posted by bperk at 08:22 AM on December 29, 2009

Yeah, everyone is up-in-arms about NFL players coming back too soon from concussions, but some are fine with college coaches punishing a kid the doctors have diagnosed with a concussion? That's the part that bothers me the most, these pompous asshole coaches who think they can ignore the doctor's advice. The continued concussion problems will continue to negatively impact the health of young football players as long as these hard-ass coaches refuse to alter their way of doing things.

posted by dyams at 09:46 AM on December 29, 2009

No matter what the punishment is, it is highly inappropriate for a coach to punish a player because he thinks he's faking a concussion. As Bperk said, it encourages the next player with a concussion to play through the injury, which can have devastating consequences to his health. I've been a fan of Leach, but if he was fired for this I would not be surprised.

Leach's suspension suggests that he's already lost the internal power struggle with his AD at Tech and will be gone soon from the job. No AD would do this to a coach he wanted to keep around.

posted by rcade at 10:12 AM on December 29, 2009

He had an option to leave the shed if he wanted to.

ESPN said there was a "guard" posted outside. I suppose he was just there in case the kid wanted something catered in? Given Leach's second reason for his actions was that he likes to keep injured players "as close to the field as possible," I'd say he's all out of good excuses. Good work doing that to Craig James' kid.

posted by yerfatma at 10:24 AM on December 29, 2009

He had an option to leave the shed if he wanted to.

I suppose he could if he didn't want to play football anymore.

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

"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."

"put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside."

I can't imagine how that is acceptable to anyone.


posted by bdaddy at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2009

More and more cases of coach abuse coming to light, both at the high school and college level. It is way past time to get this addressed and put in some sort of basic guidelines.

Besides Leach, most recently there have also been the sagas of Mangino and Leavitt. Interesting that both of the latter coached under Snyder at K State. I wonder what the environment is like at that program.

Abusive coaches should be shown the door because behind the abuse lies a culture and mindset of power and control that is unhealthy for college athletic departments. It has been reported that USF would have a hard time dismissing Leavitt because of the power and control he's accrued that gives him sway over both the AD and the school administration.

posted by beaverboard at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2009

It's impressive that Leach would say those words, and not once but twice, without ever noticing he was describing a torture technique. To be applied to someone who was most likely concussed. That's Old School Hockey. Even Eddie Shore might have blanched at that.

posted by yerfatma at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2009

Leavitt is the only football coach that USF has ever had. In 14 years, he took a little-known school that had no team to top 25 status and a position in the Big East. It's one of the most amazing achievements in college football history. So yes, the school would have an extremely hard time dropping him.

posted by rcade at 11:31 AM on December 29, 2009

Bob Knight ran a clean program and won three NCAA men's hoops titles. Legendary achievements in the annals of collegiate sports. That doesn't justify the way he treated some of his players and held Myles Brand and the Indiana administration hostage.

I once had an e-mail correspondance with an IU professor that dared to speak out against Knight while he was still coaching at the university. That faculty member had to get protection and take a leave of absence from his duties as a result of his views. That is not healthy or acceptable by any balanced and sane person's measure.

Some of the things that Leavitt has reportedly said and some of the things that Knight is known to have said fall into the same bully mentality category.

posted by beaverboard at 02:14 PM on December 29, 2009

Abusive coaches is not a new topic, but one that needs to be dealt with.

I think that the abusive coach is a root cause of the athlete that struggles to adapt to society once their playing days are over. They've been told too many times that they're worthless outside of their role on the team. Their self-worth is lowered to the point that they don't think they can succeed outside of sports. Adding to that is the fact that kids that are bullied often become bullies themselves. Not a good scenario for a kid to be in.

posted by dviking at 03:32 PM on December 29, 2009

The moment the electrical closet was opened, everyone involved in this act should have been fired. PERIOD. Electrical closets are for authorized personnel only. They placed that student in an incredibly dangerous situation. And yes, standing in the dark with no water or restroom break is torture. The older you get the more you realize this.

posted by scuubie at 09:31 PM on December 29, 2009

Leach was just fired.

posted by bperk at 01:09 PM on December 30, 2009

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