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Leavitt speaks, sees big things for Bulls in 2011
Posted Jun 1, 2011 by Adam Adkins
Updated Jun 2, 2011 at 07:04 AM
Former University of South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt spoke Wednesday morning with local radio station WDAE 620 AM, taking questions for roughly 20 minutes on the Ron and Ian Show.
Leavitt, who was hired as linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers shortly after reaching a $2.75 million settlement in his wrongful termination suit with USF, declined to go into any details of the situation surrounding his firing, citing the terms of the settlement, though again maintained that he did nothing wrong.
Leavitt, speaking by phone from San Francisco, did talk about his time at USF, and what he thinks the Bulls are capable of in 2011, including offering a prediction for USF’s season-opener at Notre Dame: “I really think they’ll put it on Notre Dame.”
Here are some excerpts from the interview with Leavitt. You can listed to the entire interview HERE.
On how tough the situation surrounding his termination was for him:
“It hurts because I’m like anybody else. It breaks your heart. There’s no question that was there. What hurt more than anything else probably was my staff. In 14, 15 years I never fired anybody. When you see seven guys on the following Monday get fired, I was on my knees at that point. That was hard. And then my mom and dad. You know, they’re in their 80s and they love their son, and to see them go through some hurt, those were the hardest things. For me, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. I‘ve done a lot of wrong things in my life, believe me, but that wasn’t one of them.
USF is a great school, great people, and I’m not saying this politically because it sounds good and all this, I’m being honest. There’s so many people in the faculty and throughout the students and the players and a lot of great memories and it’s all good. Obviously I didn’t agree with some things and don’t see eye to eye on some things, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some great memories and I didn’t have a great time.
More on USF:
In the end, they’re moving forward. It’s a great program. They’ll do well. I’m very proud of that. We built the program right, we built it on rock and a great foundation. All I want for them to do is win the Big East and go to a BCS bowl. And I think they’ll have a great shot this year coming up. They’re loaded with talent. I really think they’ll put it on Notre Dame and I think they’ll run through it. I think they’ll do well. Those players, every one of those starters and probably every one of those backups our staff recruited, so I know them very well and they’re great guys, they’re very talented. I just hope for the best for them, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love those guys, and players mean a great deal to me, and I know that they’ll do very well.
On what he’s getting accomplished with the current NFL lockout in place:
You always turn everything into a positive anyway you can because we have no control over anything that’s going on. The good thing for me is I’m able to learn a new defense here. I haven’t run the 3-4 before, was always a 4-3 guy, and to be able to watch so much tape. It’s all great for me. Can you imagine Jim Leavitt, and people who know me and how much I love football, I’m sitting there from morning to night and be able to watch (film). You have 32 teams in the NFL, I can sit there and watch the Super Bowl and break down Pittsburgh and Green Bay. I can watch any college team in the country, we have every tape. That part has been great. And then learning the verbage with a new defense, and (defensive coordinator) Vic Fangio has done a great job. He’s just so knowledgeable and been in the NFL for so many years, did a great job at Stanford last year in running that 3-4, and what coach (Jim) Harbaugh and that staff did was a lot of fun. I’m enjoying that part quite a bit.
On whether he’ll change his technique of coaching at all in his first NFL job:
No. Are you kidding me? I’m too naïve to know. I haven’t been in the NFL. I’m going to love these guys like there’s no tomorrow. I’m just going to smile every day and enjoy life. I don’t know any other way to do it. That’s the way I’ve done it all my life. I’ve been so fortunate with so many opportunities I’ve had in life and I count this as one of those. Man, these guys are going to teach me a whole bunch, and I told them that – I’m excited to learn from you. All I told them is I can give you everything I’ve got. I’m going to lay it out on the line, I’m going to try to help in any way of helping you be better. I have great respect for these guys. I won’t be any different. I don’t know how you do that. These guys are professionals, are you kidding me. I don’t think I have to worry about motivating them (laughing). I don’t worry about that stuff. But I never did before.