Jim Leavitt’s Firing: Why He’s Out and What it Means

Jim Leavitt is out as USF’s coach today, fired after the results of an internal investigation into an incident at halftime of a Nov. 21 game against Louisville.
The key finding of the investigation’s 33-page report (PDF) is that Leavitt did indeed take sophomore walk-on Joel Miller (identified as “Student Athlete A” throughout the report, which does not identify players by name because of privacy rights) by the throat that day, striking him twice on the cheek.

Leavitt yelled at Student Athlete A. Leavitt then placed his hand on the player’s throat and slapped him twice in the cheek.
But the investigation also revealed that while Leavitt denied any sort of inappropriate conduct, players considered Leavitt’s actions the product of a coach renowned for his “passion” going beyond the pale.

The program Leavitt has built in Tampa is testament to his drive and acumen alone more than any other coach’s program in major college football today; he was the school’s first coach, and has ushered the Bulls from I-AA independence to a BCS conference in just 13 years.