In an excerpt from his new tell-all memoir Swing Your Sword, former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach levels some incendiary accusations at ESPN analyst Craig James and his son, Adam — detailing the role the duo played in getting him fired from the university.
Leach’s description paints the elder James as an overbearing, little-league-father-type who would use his opportunity announcing bowl games to pitch his son to college coaches — boasting of the James family’s great bloodlines.
According to Leach, Adam had potential as a tight end, save for his attitude and uninspired work ethic. In Leach’s words:
We could never get him to move out from behind his father’s coattails. Together, they believed that playing time was determined by politics and influence rather than hard work.
He goes on to cite several examples of Adam’s insubordination, eventually arriving at that fateful December day in 2009 when the younger James showed up late to practice wearing street cloths and sunglasses because he had a concussion.
As Leach tells it, he instructed the team’s trainer Steve Pincock to put Adam somewhere dark and have him do something. He claims that at no point did he say to lock him in a room.
Months later, when Adam James was deposed under oath, he said he found the incident “funny” and that he did not believe that I should have been fired. In fact, he texted his father about the incident while in the equipment garage because he thought he would “like” it, since they both have the same sense of humor.
Two days later, a still-concussed Adam went into an electrical closet after being told specifically not to, and shot a video. It was then that Craig James told Tech chancellor Kent Hance that Adam had spent three hours in the electrical closet per instructions from Pincock. He later telephoned Larry Anders, chairman of the Tech board of regents, alleging that Adam had been made to practice with a concussion and locked in a closet.
Elsewhere in the excerpt, Leach accuses Craig James of using both a communications firm and his connections at ESPN — namely with reporter Joe Schad — to manipulate how the incident was portrayed in the media.
At this point, we’d just like to hear Texas Tech’s response to all these allegations. Leach is understandably bitter about being fired, and naturally would write a book targeting those he perceives as responsible for his termination. At the same time, it’s not much of a stretch to insinuate that Craig James’ standing at ESPN had a lot to do with catapulting this story to the media forefront in the first place.