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Miller’s attorney wants apology from Leavitt, threatens to sue



USF walk-on Joel Miller’s attorney, Barry Cohen, said Thursday that former USF coach Jim Leavitt, who was fired Friday, to “man up” and admit he struck Miller twice in the face, threatening to sue if a public apology did not come in the next 10 days.

Cohen said he does not want to take legal action, though Cohen even threatened that Leavitt, who again denied the allegations against him Wednesday, could face assault and battery charges for the incident that happened on Nov. 21 at halftime of a game against Louisville.

Miller, sitting near his family next to Cohen at his offices, admitted that he made the wrong choice in lying to defend Leavitt, saying that a coach is like a father figure. He said he didn’t want to hurt his team and coaches, whom could likely lose their jobs once a new coach is appointed.

“When he came over to me and hit me that day, I was more stunned than anything,” Miller said. “I wasn’t going to lash out at my head football coach. You just don’t do that. Everyone knows the truth inside that locker room.”

Miller said he did not leak the original story to the media, which was first reported by in December. He said he wants Leavitt to stop making him look like a liar and for this to be over.

“It got to be too big for me to handle, and all I want is for the truth to come out,” Miller said. “I want coach Leavitt to admit that he did grab me and hit me twice.”

Leavitt was fired with cause by the University after an investigation found he hit Miller, lied about it and tried to cover it up. Investigators interviewed 29 people who were around the situation.
Cohen, who called Leavitt a coward for lying, said if Leavitt admits he hit Miller, the family will not file a law suit. He was far less understanding than Miller, saying this at the press conference directly into TV cameras: “Coach Leavitt, we don’t know a whole lot about football, but we sure as hell know a lot about hardball.”

On Wednesday, Leavitt met with USF officials for a post-termination meeting, a clause in his contract, and his attorneys said he should be reinstated as football coach because the University violated his “constitutional rights.”

The wait begins: Leavitt’s attorneys seek reinstatement, citing violation of “constitutional rights”

Leavitt: I will battle for my job