When 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh set up his new coaching staff in January, one of the more interesting hires was Jim Leavitt as linebackers coach. Leavitt had previously worked as head coach at the University of South Florida where he first set up the program. Leavitt had served as the program's first coach before being fired after the 2009 season. Leavitt was fired for allegedly striking a player in the face at halftime of a game against Louisville.
Leavitt sued the school for wrongful termination and eventually reached a settlement. Although Leavitt can not discuss a lot of the details of his departure from USF due to the settlement agreement, he did weigh in on some issues related to his time at USF.
On his players at USF standing up for him when he was fired for allegedly striking a player and for interfering with the investigation surrounding that incident:
"That makes you feel good, it really does, because loyalty is very big to me. And I wanted the truth, those are the things. ... 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, on rock, on a great foundation. All I want is for them to win the Big East and go to a BCS bowl."
He was also asked about how he is keeping busy during the lockout. The coaches don't have players to work with so they have to figure out some way to be productive in the meantime. For Leavitt, that means learning all about Vic Fangio's version of the 3-4 defense. Leavitt has never used the 3-4, and as linebackers coach that is obviously a pretty big obstacle to overcome. He is now able to check out film and really learn the defense he'll be coaching.
It remains to be seen what Jim Leavitt's long term goals are in light of this second chance. Whatever went down at USF, his road to career recovery begins in San Francisco with Jim Harbaugh.