South Florida Coach Allegedly Slapped PlayerS

According to a report on Fanhouse, South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt decided to pepper a recent halftime speech with a little choking and a few well placed shots to the face. Hey, they did win the game.

The story goes like this: Sophomore walk-on Joel Miller had a costly penalty on special teams during the first half of the November 21 game against Louisville. According to multiple sources, including Miller's father, his high school coach, Bulls players and staff members, during his halftime tirade Leavitt "walked about 10 feet to the locker where Miller was sitting without his helmet. Leavitt then grabbed Miller by the throat and hit him twice in the face with his hand." If you've got a better way to come back against Louisville, I'd like to hear it.

Miller's father says his son didn't speak out to the athletic director or the media—he is not quoted in the Fanhouse story—because he feared being kicked off the team. (The other USF players would also only speak anonymously.) Levitt was on the recruiting trail and refused to comment on the claims for the story, although he didn't really deny it.

Also, two weeks after the incident, Leavitt allegedly called Miller into his office and apologized—a development which just coincidentally happened one day after Mark Mangino resigned from Kansas amid allegations that he threatened and assaulted his own players. Leavitt and Mangino were assistants together at Kansas State in the early 1990s. That's probably not related, though.

South Florida is scheduled to play in the International Bowl (conveniently located in Toronto, outside our jurisdiction) on January 2, but we'll have to wait and see if Leavitt survives that long. They did beat Florida State this year, but lost three of their last four and finished 7-5, which hardly makes him indispensable.

Sources: South Florida Coach Jim Leavitt Struck Player [Fanhouse]