LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech fired coach Mike Leach this morning, two days after he was suspended by the school as it investigated his treatment of a player with a concussion.
The school handed a termination letter to Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, just minutes before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock, Texas, courtroom for a hearing on the coach's suspension.
Liggett said that Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that win, lose or draw in the hearing, Leach was out, effective immediately.
When Liggett entered the courtroom he told the judge there was no need for the hearing on Leach's request that he be reinstated to coach the Alamo Bowl.
As for Leach's reaction, Liggett said, "Well, he's not thrilled."
Liggett said he planned to file a lawsuit on Leach's behalf against the school "soon."
"We can guarantee that the fight has just begun," he said.
Liggett said Leach's side has evidence that shows the decision to suspend the coach was without merit.
"So they pulled the trigger," Liggett said. "They don't want that coming out."
In February, Leach and the school agreed to a five-year, $12.7 million contract. According to terms of the deal, Leach was due a $800,000 bonus on Dec. 31 if he were still the head coach at Texas Tech.
Leach was suspended by the university on Monday after receiver Adam James alleged the coach twice confined him to small, dark spaces while the team practiced.
James is the son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.
"We appreciate that the university conducted a fair and thorough investigation," said a statement from the James family. "From the family's point of view this has always been about the safety and well being of our son and of all the players on the team."
Texas Tech plays Michigan State on Saturday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Tech is the second Big 12 school to launch an internal investigation into a coach's treatment of his players.
On Nov. 16, Kansas investigated Mark Mangino, who got a big raise after he was national coach of the year and went 12-1 in 2007. Some players said he was insensitive, though others defended him.
Mangino resigned Dec. 3 after reaching a settlement with the school that was later disclosed as a $3 million buyout.
In an affidavit included in Tuesday's court filing, Leach said he "would never intentionally harm or endanger a player" and that he has been "forced into this situation without being afforded any process." He also said "absolutely" no evidence had been given to him that showed he had violated any university rules or standards.
Several former and current Texas Tech players and coaches defended Leach and harshly criticized 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."
Morris told The Associated Press on Wednesday the letters were written as school administrators began looking into the incident, before Leach was suspended. Morris said they wanted to show their support for Leach and show James' possible motives.
Morris said he spoke with Leach as the incident began unfolding.
"He told me he would never do anything" to harm a player, Morris said. "He was trying to hold someone accountable."