Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach Fired After Claims of Abuse

Coach Mike Leach fired day before he was due an $800K bonus.

ByABC News
December 29, 2009, 1:11 PM

Dec. 30, 2009 — -- Texas Tech University football coach Mike Leach was fired today in the wake of allegations that he mistreated one of his players.

The dismissal came one day before Leach, who signed a five year, $12.7 million contract earlier this year, was scheduled to receive an $800,000 bonus, according to ESPN. Instead, Leach will receive a severance package of $400,000 annually for the next four years.

His firing also came just days before his Red Raiders team is scheduled to play Michigan State in the nationally televised Alama Bowl game.

The university initially suspended Leach, but the coach fought back by hiring an attorney and challenging the suspension.

The university gave Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, a termination letter just before the two sides were scheduled to meet in court for a hearing on the coach's suspension, according to the Associated Press.

Liggett told the AP that the letter says Leach is "terminated with cause effective immediately."

The university suspended Leach Monday after the family of receiver Adam James -- whose father is Craig James, a football analyst for ESPN -- complained to the university that the college sophomore had been mistreated.

But Liggett said the allegations are untrue and that his client keeps all injured players near the team so that players still feel like "part of the team."

"Right now, we're going through the court system to try to get this decision reversed and have him coach in the bowl game," Liggett told ABCNews.com, calling the effort to get Leach reinstated before the Alamo Bowl an "uphill climb."

While the university itself did not name James in its announcement of Leach's suspension, calling the incident a "personnel matter," the family itself released a statement Monday identifying the 21-year-old as the player in question.

In the statement, the family claimed that their son had "been subjected to actions and treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health."

The university has named defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill as the interim head coach who will lead the team in the Jan. 2 game.

Craig James, the player's father, will also no longer announce the game on Saturday, following the allegations, according to an ESPN spokeswoman.