LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech fired Mike Leach on Wednesday after the football coach took the school to court to try to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player.
"I'm very sad to say there's only one person to blame for this and it's Mike Leach," Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance said.
Jerry Turner, vice chairman of the university system's board of regents, said "other things" came to light during an investigation of Leach's treatment of receiver Adam James. James' family alleged the coach twice confined him to a small, dark place after the player was diagnosed with a concussion.
Turner declined to elaborate about the other issues.
Leach was suspended Monday after he refused to agree to guidelines for dealing with players set forth by his bosses in a Dec. 23 letter.
When Leach decided to fight the university in court "in defiance" of his suspension, Turner said the school chose to fire him.
Leach was in San Antonio with the team, which is preparing for the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State on Saturday.
He left the team's hotel while his interim replacement, defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, was holding a news conference.
Approached by a reporter, Leach said "no comment" before being asked a question. Asked how he felt Texas Tech treated him throughout the last two weeks, Leach responded, "I think that's apparent."
Texas Tech's official statement said Leach's recent actions made it impossible for him to remain coach of the Red Raiders.
"In a defiant act of insubordination, Coach Leach continually refused to cooperate in a meaningful way to help resolve the complaint. He also refused to obey a suspension order and instead sued Texas Tech University," the statement said.
Leach later released a statement to some media outlets.
"Texas Tech's decision to deal in lies and fabricate a story which led to my firing includes, but is not limited by, the animosity remaining from last year's contract negotiations. I will not tolerate such retaliatory action. Additionally, we will pursue all available legal remedies," Leach said in the statement.
The school on Wednesday gave a termination letter to Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, minutes before the two sides were to appear in court for a hearing on the coach's request to be allowed to lead his team in the Alamo Bowl.
Wide receiver Tramain Swindall said he supported the decision to fire Leach.
"I do agree and I'm supporting Adam and what he's doing because it's the right thing to do," Swindall told the AP in a telephone interview.
Swindall said he believes Leach was at times out of line in how he treated players.
"And so do most of the players," he said.
"It wasn't just about Adam. It was always a negative vibe."
Texas Tech officials provided Leach a letter setting out guidelines for dealing with athletes. Leach refused to sign it. The letter was included in court papers filed in response to his motion for a restraining order.
Tech's termination letter said Leach was fired with cause, meaning the university believes it does not owe Leach any of the remaining money left on a five-year, $12.7 million contract he agreed to in February. According to terms of the deal, Leach was due a $800,000 bonus today if he were still the coach at Texas Tech.
Liggett said he planned to file a lawsuit on Leach's behalf against the school.
Several former and current Texas Tech players and coaches defended Leach and harshly criticized Adam James' work ethic in e-mails obtained by CBSSports.com.
Among those were former Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Morris, who wrote that James was "never known as a hard worker" and "seemed to have a negative attitude toward the football program the majority of the time."
Leach's dismissal comes a year after he was Big 12 coach of the year and led Tech to the best season in the history of the program. The Red Raiders went 11-2 last season.
A quirky, nonconformist with a pass-happy offense and penchant for pirates, Leach arrived in West Texas in 2000. Since then, he has become the winningest coach in school history.
Not unlike Bob Knight when he came to coach the Red Raiders basketball team for 6 1/2 years, Leach has raised the profile of the city and the school. He appeared on "60 Minutes" and was profiled in the New York Times Magazine.