One year after South Florida fired Jim Leavitt for reportedly physically abusing a player, the university and former coach reached a $2.75 million settlement that will likely prevent Leavitt’s wrongful termination lawsuit to carry over into next fall.
According to a Leavitt’s attorney, Wil Florin, the settlement money was broken down into $2 million in salary and benefits and $750,000 for “acknowledging Coach Leavitt’s contributions to building USF’s nationally respected football program.”
In other words, USF gave Leavitt 2.75 million reasons to get off their back and move on. Apparently, the settlement amount was enough and the former coach obliged.
“I’m grateful for the love and support of my family and all of the great people of Tampa Bay,” Leavitt said in a statement. “I will always cherish my time at USF and what we built here together.”
Leavitt was South Florida’s first and only coach for 14 years before being canned in January, 2010, in the wake of a report that Leavitt preemptively channeled his inner Mike Haywood, grabbing walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and striking Miller in the face during halftime of a game against Louisville.
The fired coach quickly countered with a wrongful termination lawsuit that initially demanded USF to re-hire him. A week after USF fired Leavitt, though, the University hired former East Carolina head coach, Skip Holtz.
Leavitt also at one point sought the $7.1 million that remained on his contract.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, there is now thought that, with the lawsuit apparently over, Leavitt might return to Kansas State as an assistant coach and hold a possible “coach-in-waiting” gig for the 71-year-old Bill Snyder. Leavitt was an assistant at Kansas State prior to becoming South Florida’s first head coach.
However, no confirmation has been given by either party about a potential move back to K-State .