USF Player: Allegations Against Coach Jim Leavitt Untrue

University of South Florida player Joel Miller said Wednesday night that allegations that Coach Jim Leavitt inappropriately harmed him are not true.

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Joel Miller: Allegations Against Coach Leavitt Untrue

ESPN’s Joe Schad spoke with USF player Joel Miller, who had apparently been struck by Coach Jim Leavitt during halftime of a game this past season, who denied the accusations and said his story had been misrepresented.

“I told this to the school when they interviewed me for a half-hour or hour on Tuesday. Basically, I wasn’t having a good game on special teams and he tried to motivate me. He [Leavitt] never did any of those things and he never has that I’ve seen. I had some things on my mind because my Grandfather had died the day before. Coach Leavitt cares about me. We talk all the time.”

So I guess we can consider the matter closed? The hit that Leavitt’s reputation took might take a little longer to go away however.


Leavitt Denies Allegations, So Does The Accuser

As expected, South Florida coach Jim Leavitt denies the accusations from McMurphy’s article alleging that he struck a USF player.

“I’m just very disappointed in what was written,” Leavitt told the Tampa Tribune. “It’s untrue. It’s false. I want to get the truth out there. …The only damage I did in there was when I head-butted and cut my face.”

What wasn’t expected was that the accuser, Paul Miller, is also denying that the incident took place as described.

“I’ve known Coach Leavitt for 15 years,” Paul Miller told the Tampa Tribune. “He’s just not that kid of guy. I know at times he gets a little excited, but not to that point.”

So, uh…that’s weird. Furthermore, the Tampa Tribune’s Greg Auman spoke with Miller later, whom was even more specific in his new stance backing up Leavitt:

“I stand behind the university and Coach Leavitt 100 percent,” Paul Miller said. “I truly believe there was no malicious intent to hit anyone. He grabbed his shoulder pad, but it was like a motivational thing. After talking with Joel, he was satisfied there was not a slap, not at all.”

The good news for Leavitt? Sounds like he’s going to come out of this with his job. The bad news, his reputation is officially on notice. Don’t expect McMurphy to get any special consideration in Tampa any time soon.

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