Courtroom fans show Leach support, shocked to learn coach fired - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/30/09

Courtroom fans show Leach support, shocked to learn coach fired

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By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Red Raider fans waited for nearly two hours for an answer from a Lubbock County judge Wednesday morning, but a decision had already been made.

A termination letter, signed by Texas Tech University President Guy Bailey, fired Leach with cause moments before a hearing related to his suspension and alleged treatment of Adam James.

It was a tense two hours downtown Wednesday morning. Initially the hearing was scheduled to take place behind closed doors. Attorneys petitioned the judge to open the hearing to the public. With standing room only, nearly 100 fans crowded the hall vying for a seat inside the courtroom hoping to hear that Mike Leach would be on the field in San Antonio. Little did they know they would be the first to hear Leach had been fired.

"I think the way this was done is not the standard we should expect from Texas Tech University," said current TTU student Stephen White. Lubbock County Sheriff's Deputies implemented a one-in one-out policy to control the crowd. The hearing was re-scheduled twice Wednesday morning, delayed for almost two hours.

"Right before the hearing, general counsel for Texas Tech asked to make a statement and basically said ‘win, lose or draw Mike's fired'," says Ted Liggett who represents Mike Leach. Liggett says he wasn't surprised. "We believe they were going to do it all along. So, in order to keep certain things from the public they went ahead and fired him," adds Liggett. He received Leach's termination letter signed by Texas Tech University President Mike Leach. Liggett walked into the courtroom and read Leach's termination letter to fans informing them that he had been fired.

It was information fans in the courtroom feared. "I'm shaking. I feel like I could be sick any minute now. I've been a Tech fan since I was born," says life-long fan Ches Turnbow.

Liggett says he and his client will pursue legal action. "The fight has just begun. We're far from over on this. I'm not prepared to tell you our legal strategy at this point about what will be filed where," adds Liggett.

Texas Tech released this statement regarding termination of Football Coach Mike Leach

"After reviewing all the information available, Texas Tech University has decided that the best course of action for the university and its football program is to terminate its relationship with Head Football Coach Mike Leach for cause.

Texas Tech was prepared to participate in the legal proceeding today on coach Leach's motion for a temporary restraining order. His attorney, however, chose to not participate when he was informed that the termination of coach Leach was inevitable.

The coach's termination was precipitated by his treatment of a player after the player was diagnosed with a concussion. The player was put at risk for additional injury. After the university was apprised of the treatment, Coach Leach was contacted by the administration of the university in an attempt to resolve the problem. In a defiant act of insubordination, Coach Leach continually refused to cooperate in a meaningful way to help resolve the complaint. He also refused to obey a suspension order and instead sued Texas Tech University. Further, his contemporaneous statements make it clear that the coach's actions against the player were meant to demean, humiliate and punish the player rather than to serve the team's best interest. This action, along with his continuous acts of insubordination, resulted in irreconcilable differences that make it impossible for coach Leach to remain at Texas Tech.

"It is our number one priority to protect the welfare of our students and the reputation of the Texas Tech University. Parents have entrusted us with their children and we take this responsibility very seriously. We very much appreciate the leadership shown by the university's athletic director, Gerald Myers, and president, Guy Bailey, in dealing with this unfortunate situation. The board supports their decision," said Larry Anders, chairman and Jerry Turner, vice chairman of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents. 

In the near future, Texas Tech will undertake a search for a new coach. In the meantime, the focus of the athletic department is on the preparation for the Alamo Bowl."

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Coverage of Mike Leach Termination
Just days before the Alamo Bowl, Mike Leach was first suspended and then terminated as head coach of the Texas Tech football team. Click here for continuing coverage.
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