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The Mike Leach Book Excerpt Makes Craig James Look Like An Even Bigger Jerk

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The highly predictable Mike Leach tell-all book is coming out this week as the former Texas Tech coach gets his own platform to talk about his controversial firing at Texas Tech in December 2009.  But, we're not as interested so much in Mike Leach's endless pursuit of justice as we are his juicy feud with the next US Senator from Texas, ESPN's Craig James.  (And Leach's budding career as a terrible analyst.)  The firing, feud, and lawsuits have been well documented, but Leach's new book pulls back the curtain even more on the specifics of Craig James and his involvement in the story.  All the quotes are from an excerpt published in Sports Illustrated

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Adam's daddy, Craig, came around and campaigned for his son. He talked about how good Adam was. It all started when we beat Cal in the Holiday Bowl. Craig, who was there to announce the game, came up to our hospitality room. He started talking about how great his kid was and how great the bloodlines of the James family were. I later found out that he tried giving the same sales pitch to the Nevada staff after calling their bowl game too.

Is it a surprise to see Craig James trying to sell multiple programs on his kid?  Of course not.  Now, using his position as an ESPN analyst to do so might make most people shudder.  What's laughable though is Craig James touting the bloodlines of the James family.  What, does the James family include someone that defended the Alamo?  Perhaps a member of the Grand Ducal of Luxembourg?  Are you kidding me?  The fun continues…

Craig James told Tech chancellor Kent Hance that Adam had spent three hours in that electrical closet based on instructions from Pincock. That night, Craig called Larry Anders (chairman of the Tech board of regents) and complained that Adam had been forced to practice with a concussion and had been locked in an electrical closet. We'd already held out the starting quarterback for a month that season because he had a concussion — the starting quarterback. Adam was forbidden to practice because he had a concussion. We wanted him away from the field.

I think we're all pretty well in agreement now that Adam James went into that closet on his own and the Texas Tech hierarchy used the Adam/Craig James controversy to get rid of someone they perceived to be as a loose cannon.  Still though, let it sink in that a top ESPN college football analyst was on the horn with a school chancellor to get a coach fired.  What would Fox do if Tim McCarver was trying to undermine Tony La Russa.  Or CBS if Phil Simms had it in for Sean Payton?  Was ESPN blissfully unaware that things like this were happening…

 

According to both his and Anders's depositions, Craig demanded that I be fired. Hance called me and said that Craig had phoned Anders to complain about his son being forced to play before his concussion was healed, which was simply not true. I explained the situation to Hance, and also told him how often Craig called up the Tech coaches to lobby for more playing time for his son. I told him that Adam had been a constant discipline problem and that I planned on cutting him from the team. Hance told me not to cut Adam.

A meddling, whiny, overbearing parent is about the most annoying phenomenon in sports.  What does Craig James thing this is, little league?  Pee Wee?  Not everyone gets to play, this is Division I football!!!  Go play intramurals brother.  And the fact that Craig James tried to use his influence and name power is even more disgusting.  In fact, it's probably the most un-Texan and un-American thing you can do.  But perhaps above all, the most damning revelations against James were the e-mails Yahoo published regarding Spaeth Communications, a PR group hired by Craig James, to run a cutthroat and underhanded campaign to bring down Leach.  In the process, it appears that Spaeth and James conspired to use ESPN as a platform to promote the Adam James abuse angle to get Leach fired.  Here's an e-mail from a Spaeth executive to James revealed through Yahoo Sports:

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So here we have an ESPN college football analyst discussing with his PR firm a devised plan to feed a now thought to believe false but exclusive story to ESPN's top college football reporter.  Now the focus has to turn to ESPN and Joe Schad specifically.  Were they just feasting on the hot garbage Craig James was feeding them?  Were they being protective of the James family and not doing their due diligence to find the truth?  The more you dig into this story, the uglier it is for Craig James and ESPN.  That's not all though, Spaeth Communications went to blogs and websites under pseudonyms to rile up anger and criticism of Mike Leach.  Seriously…

I realize there are always two sides to every story and that this is Mike Leach's perspective, but the deposition evidence and string of e-mails looks terrible for James.  How can ESPN still employ Craig James after these revelations?  Can't we all agree to just release him to his hopeless Senate campaign already?

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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