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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Leach's failure to apologize to James family led to his suspension

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Mike Leach's reluctance to apologize to Adam James and his family led to his school-mandated suspension for the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported Tuesday that the Tech coach did not dispute the facts after ESPN analyst Craig James had complained to school officials about Leach's treatment of his son, Adam, after he suffered a mild concussion last month.

The Avalanche-Journal reported that the school completed an initial investigation before suspending Leach. Leach did not dispute the facts, but also did not believe he had done anything wrong. The Tech coach also told officials that Adam James was "a slacker" and that Craig James was too involved in his son's football career.

Leach had until Monday to write a letter of apology to James and his family. When he didn't, Tech officials took action.

It led to Leach's suspension, with pay, from his job as head coach.

Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, told the Avalanche-Journal that he hasn't given up hope that Leach will coach the Red Raiders in Saturday night's Valero Alamo Bowl against Michigan State in San Antonio. Liggett said he could consider legal action to get him back on the sideline.

"We're going to do everything we can to see that our client is duly served justice and that he's reunited with his boys as soon as possible,'' Liggett said.

When asked how he planned to go about it, Liggett said, "Through the court system, don't ya?''

If Leach can't coach, it will lead to a unique coaching situation for the Red Raiders in the bowl game. Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will serve as Tech's interim coach.

McNeill told reporters Monday in San Antonio it will be the first time he has served as a head coach since he coached a high school team in Lumberton, N.C., in the mid-1980s.

Wide receivers coach Lincoln Riley will take over Leach's play-calling duties for Saturday's game, with staff assistant Sonny Cumbie signaling plays from the sideline.

The Alamo Bowl already had been marked by who wasn't going to be at the Alamodome. Michigan State suspended 11 players and dismissed two others in connection with a Nov. 22 dorm fight. Among the players who will be missing are wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell and starting cornerback Chris L. Rucker, who have all been charged with misdemeanors in connection with the incident.