Attorneys for former USF football coach Jim Leavitt will seek access to hundreds of additional university documents at a hearing next Tuesday relating to the investigation over his January firing.
The requested documents include investigation correspondences among USF officials that the University has already submitted to the judge in the case but claim are privileged and not required to be provided to Leavitt’s legal team.
Leavitt’s attorney, Wil Florin, filed a motion in Hillsborough County Circuit Court on Tuesday tying his client’s firing to a separate athletic investigation at the University involving Athletic Director Doug Woolard and a former member of the basketball program.
The motion contends that Woolard spoke to Leavitt twice in 2008 about hiring former basketball assistant Terrelle Woody, who was USF forward Gus Gilchrist’s trainer, as a “quid pro quo” to signing Gilchrist. Florin alleges that Woolard admitted to Leavitt that he knew doing so would be against NCAA rules.
Florin said he thinks Leavitt was fired to damage his credibility in the event that the NCAA implicated Woolard. He also said he finds it too coincidental that Woody resigned the same week Leavitt was fired, implying that Woody was forced out of the University at a time when it would attract the least attention.
University spokesman Michael Hoad said by phone Wednesday night that he doesn’t understand Leavitt’s attorneys’ legal strategy.
“Every step of discovery, they do a big media spiel about it, and that tells me they’re worried,” he said. “They’re continuing to push this idea that there were all of these conspiracies in 2008 to get rid of Jim Leavitt, and none of that is true.
“They’re running a media strategy, not a legal strategy. It feels as though they’re desperate.”
However, Hoad said the case is likely to go to trial and that if it is put in the hands of a jury, anything could happen, though he maintains the University committed no wrongdoing in its investigation.
Florin said he plans to pursue the lawsuit as long as it takes to recoup the money he feels USF owes Leavitt.
“We intend to make the University uphold the promise to Jim Leavitt that it broke,” he said.