Former USF coach Jim Leavitt, who has spent the last two years as the Oregon defensive coordinator, is apparently out of that job on Wednesday night. Now the questions become: why is he gone, where might he land next and could that be FSU?
24/7 Sports broke the story on their website Wednesday evening, and the Portland Oregonian newspaper had more details that Leavitt is gone:
— Oregonian Sports (@OregonianSports) February 14, 2019
As 24/7 Sports wrote, head coach Mario Cristobal, who is a former head coach at FIU and just completed his first season in Eugene, is replacing Leavitt with Keith Heyward off of his staff. Heyward was the safeties coach last season making just under a half million dollars.
Meanwhile as The Oregonian pointed out, Leavitt is one of the highest paid assistants in all of college football and made $1.7 Million last year. The most intriguing question about his contract and remaining money is: did Leavitt initiate this and buy his own way out of his deal for another coaching job somewhere else?
If he did, then Leavitt would owe the school $250,000.
If, however, this is Cristobal and the school firing Leavitt, then he’s owed the remainder of his contract which is $3.4 million for 2019 and 2020. And, then there is the third scenario that perhaps Oregon is alleging some kind of cause for termination and Leavitt would not entitled to anything.
Leavitt rose to prominence in college coaching, as the original architect and head coach of USF program in the late 1990s. The Bulls made NCAA FBS history becoming the first school ever to move to Division One after fewer than three seasons of existence.
Leavitt was fired in January of 2010 after controversy at USF over him allegedly striking a player at halftime of a game that 2009 season. The school led by athletic director Doug Woolard, attempted to claim that the firing was for cause and that Leavitt had attempted to cover up the incident and change witness and the accuser’s story. The school tried to not pay him any of his remaining salary.
Leavitt sued the school in the two sides eventually reached a settlement, where he was paid a reported $2.75 million dollars from his remaining contract.
From the Bulls, Leavitt coached in the NFL as a linebackers coach with the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh and then later coached a season at Colorado, as their defensive coordinator. Then, he came to Oregon to join Willie Taggart, when he took that job two years ago.
The connection of Taggart and Leavitt is an interesting one that goes back to Taggart’s playing days at Bradenton Manatee High School, when Leavitt recruited him.
Leavitt was rumored to be joining Taggart staff, when he got the Florida State job in December of 2017. However, Oregon “upped the ante” by what was believed to be at least $500,000 in raise to keep him with the Ducks for 2018.
So now, we wait for more details on Leavitt’s dismissal or decision to leave Oregon and whether he might end up now at Florida State with Taggart?
There can be no mistake that he would be a fantastic recruiting resource for Taggart, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Oregon had no comment as of Wednesday night, as to the reports of Leavitt’s ouster or not.
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