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Leavitt’s appointment to St. Petersburg Sports Alliance not a hit with everyone

Posted May 11, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated May 11, 2010 at 05:54 PM

Maybe St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster isn’t a big football fan. Maybe he was on a European vacation in January and missed a lot of the drama. Whatever the case, St. Petersburg resident Peter Schorsch asks the following question on his blog, cleverly titled St. Petersblog 2.0:

Why is disgraced ex-USF football coach Jim Leavitt part of Mayor Bill Foster’s newfangled sports alliance?

In case you missed the announcement, Foster named Leavitt and 41 other community and sports figures to the inaugural St. Petersburg Sports Alliance last week. The committee’s goal is to promote St. Petersburg as a top destination for major sporting events.

Leavitt is a native of St. Petersburg and made his name in the college football world by building USF’s football program from the ground up. However, Leavitt’s tenure at USF ended in January when the school fired him for misconduct related to an incident with running back Joel Miller during halftime of the Nov. 21 game against Louisville.

More than one person mentioned to me that they considered it strange timing to name Leavitt to the sports alliance by Foster. The blog by Schorsch, executive editor of St. Petersblog 2.0, landed in my e-mail box Tuesday afternoon.

I contacted him via e-mail to see why he opposed Foster’s addition of Leavitt to the committee along with other local sports celebrities such as Mike Alstott and Winky Wright.

Here is Schorsch’s reply:

“In a community as blessed as Tampa Bay is with success stories from the world of sports, the selection of fired USF football coach Jim Leavitt represents a poor choice by the City of St. Petersburg.  The Sports Alliance is touted to be a collection of “some of Tampa Bay’s greatest sports heroes.” The actions that led to Jim Leavitt’s firing fell entirely short of heroic.  Accordingly, he is a disappointing choice to represent our community.’‘

What do you think? Do you share the same view as Schorsch? Or do you think Leavitt is worthy of the appointment by Foster?