Bulls feel nostalgia with Leavitt in Super Bowl
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01
The Super Bowl kicks off this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome, and while students won’t get a chance to see former Bulls such as Jason Pierre-Paul or Jacquian Williams storm the field on national television, older students and professors may have a chance to reminisce over USF’s younger football days.
Leading the charge in 1997 to create a football program for USF was Jim Leavitt, the current linebacker coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
Before his career as a Bull ended, Leavitt saw a USF program built from the ground up with high hopes. He coached 95 wins in his time at USF, while also helping the Bulls briefly become No.2 in the nation in 2007 when USF went to the Brut Sun Bowl—one of the oldest bowl games in college football.
Leavitt also helped sell out Raymond James stadium a few times; once fans rushed the field after a No. 18 USF beat a No. 5 West Virginia.
Times were good for Leavitt and USF, but few saw what was to come.
In January of 2010 Leavitt was accused of striking a player and grabbing the player by the throat at game during halftime, an
allegation that Leavitt denied then and still denies to this day.
After the firing of Leavitt and his assistant coaches, USF and Leavitt reached a $2.75 million settlement.
With bad times now behind him, Leavitt has taken his
football knowledge from coast to coast.
He accepted the coaching position with the 49ers in 2011, one year after his firing.
Now, Leavitt has helped the team to an 11-4-1 record as they prepare for the Super Bowl this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
His job, as the 49ers linebacker coach is one to envy in the NFL. As linebackers coach with players such as Aldon Smith, NaVarro Bowman and Patrick Willis, it’s probably hard not to smile on the sideline with that trio of athletes.
While there wasn’t much to smile about three years ago for Leavitt, fans of the man who started the Bulls football program from scratch can rest easy knowing his bad days are behind as he gets the opportunity that any coach would kill for — being on the
sidelines at the Super Bowl.
Leavitt will get the chance to solidify himself in NFL history, proving that maybe everything does really happen for a reason.