Leach wants to coach bowl game

Suspended Texas Tech coach seeks court’s help

December 30, 2009


— Lubbock, Texas — The lawyer for Mike Leach says the suspended Texas Tech coach did nothing wrong in how he treated a player with a “mild” concussion, and Leach wants a court’s help to allow him to coach the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.

The motion for a temporary restraining order was filed Tuesday in Lubbock. An in-chambers hearing was set for this morning in the 99th District Court. University officials suspended Leach on Monday while the school investigates a complaint from receiver Adam James and his family. James is the son of former NFL player Craig James, now a television sports analyst for ESPN.

A person close to James with direct knowledge of the situation contends the player was twice forced to stand in a small, dark place while the team practiced. The person spoke to The AP on the condition on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the complaint.

And a person close to the inquiry said Leach was “begged to work something out to avoid a confrontation.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

That person also said Leach late last week postponed a meeting related to the inquiry and refused to sign a letter saying “no one injured would be returned to work out without doctors’ permission.”

The school’s attorney left a voice mail message with Leach’s attorney late last week that the university needed a letter of apology by noon Monday, the person said.

It did not arrive.

“That’s when they made the decision to suspend (Leach), thinking that would bring him to his senses,” the person said.

In an affidavit included in the filing, Leach said he “would never intentionally harm or endanger a player” and that he has been “forced into this situation without being afforded any process.”

He wrote “absolutely” no evidence had been given to him that showed he had violated any university rules or standards.

“I have never and would never intentionally harm or endanger a player. I am committed to Texas Tech University and the well-being of my football players. I have been forced into this situation without being afforded any process,” he said. “Not being allowed to coach immediately will cause irreparable harm because preparation for the game is ongoing, and it will be over on January 2, 2010. Every minute of preparation is critical to be ready for the game.”

College football

Poll: Fans favor playoff

Hamden, Conn. — A majority of college football fans wants to scrap the current Bowl Championship Series and replace it with a playoff system that’s similar to college basketball, according to a new national poll released Tuesday.

The Quinnipiac University survey shows 63 percent favor getting rid of the current system, while 26 percent want to keep it. When asked how much they liked the bowl-game process, the poll showed fans are mixed.


Rockets seeking trade

Houston — The Houston Rockets acknowledge they are trying to trade Tracy McGrady, after the two-time scoring champion’s representatives asked the team to deal him.

General manager Daryl Morey says the two sides have had “multiple conversations” and that the Rockets “have agreed to look into trade opportunities and have granted him an indefinite leave from team activities.”

Bulls GM mum

Chicago — Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman says he won’t discuss reports that coach Vinny Del Negro’s job is in jeopardy or go into detail about internal evaluations of staff, players or coaches.

Forman made his comments Tuesday night, two days after an ESPN report said the Bulls had decided eventually to fire Del Negro, who is in his second season.

Suns reassign Griffin

Phoenix — The Phoenix Suns on Tuesday reassigned rookie forward Taylor Griffin to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League.

D.C. police investigating

Washington — D.C. Police say they are investigating a report that weapons were found inside a locker room at the Verizon Center, where the Washington Wizards play.

Last week, the Wizards said that guard Gilbert Arenas stored unloaded firearms in a container in his locker there and that the NBA is looking into the situation.


No Chiefs in Pro Bowl

Kansas City Mo. — For the first time since 1978, the Kansas City Chiefs have failed to get anyone named to the Pro Bowl.

The Chiefs (3-12), who end their third straight miserable season in Denver on Sunday, were shut out entirely in voting by fans, coaches and NFL players. It is possible K.C. still could get someone named as an alternate.

First-year coach Todd Haley, perhaps expecting his team to be passed by, indicated Monday he was not concerned.

Asked if anyone has performed at Pro Bowl level, Haley said the “Pro Bowl thing is for the players” and that he is “about trying to win games.”

He pointed out that the team had three wins and that what he’d like would be a “chance to knock (Denver) out of the playoffs” — calling such a result “Pro Bowl material.”

Eight Vikings in Pro Bowl

New York — Brett Favre was among eight Minnesota Vikings selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, while Peyton Manning is one of six Indianapolis Colts on the AFC squad.

It will be Favre’s 11th Pro Bowl and the 10th for Manning. No other quarterbacks have been to 10 all-star games.

Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, the league’s leading rusher, also is on the AFC team, along with NFL receptions leader Wes Welker of New England.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, the league’s top scorer among non-kickers, will be in the NFC backfield, where New Orleans’ Drew Brees, the NFL’s top-rated passer, is the starting quarterback.

Saints DE charged with DWI

New Orleans — New Orleans Saints defensive end Bobby McCray was arrested early Tuesday and charged with driving while intoxicated and other counts, police said.

Police spokesman Gary Flot said McCray, 28, was stopped by an officer who saw him speeding about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was booked into Orleans Parish Prison on charges of driving while intoxicated, speeding, careless operation of a motor vehicle and not having his vehicle registration with him.

Bears’ Tillman breaks ribs

Lake Forest, Ill. — Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman could miss the season finale against Detroit after breaking his ribs during the 36-30 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Tillman also suffered a lung contusion Monday night on an inadvertent helmet hit by teammate Craig Steltz as they tackled Minnesota’s Visanthe Shiancoe. Tillman stayed on the ground for several minutes and then was taken off the field on a stretcher.


Source: Mets, Bay agree

New York — The New York Mets and free agent slugger Jason Bay have reached a deal.

A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the sides have a preliminary agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Bay must pass a physical for the contract to be complete.

The three-time All-Star is expected to sign a four-year contract for about $65 million. The 31-year-old outfielder hit 36 home runs with 119 RBIs last season for Boston.

College basketball

Illini guard transferring

Champaign, Ill. — Illinois junior guard Alex Legion is leaving the team.

Sports information spokesman Derrick Burson said Tuesday that Legion is transferring to another school. He didn’t say which one.

Women’s college hoops

MU players return

Columbia, Mo. — Two Missouri women’s basketball players suspended after an off-campus fight with a male cheerleader are playing again.

Seniors Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson came off the bench Monday night in the Tigers’ 71-44 victory over North Texas. The two were leading the team in scoring before their suspensions, but coach Cindy Stein told the players they had to earn playing time.

“What’s important is that it’s forgiveness. That’s the biggest thing,” Stein said. “We’ve punished them. ... It doesn’t mean we forget, but we do forgive. You’ve got to let certain things go and got to get them back in because they are your team. And you can’t exile them.”


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