CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia University’s Board of Governors has sued former football coach Rich Rodriguez Thursday to collect a $4 million buyout of his contract with the school.
The lawsuit, filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court, says the university believes Rodriguez doesn’t intend to abide by the contract.
The buyout clause requires Rodriguez to pay $4 million to WVU over a two-year period, with one-third of the total due 30 days after his employment’s termination. His resignation was effective Dec. 19.
Rodriguez’s agent, Mike Brown, declined to comment Thursday night on the lawsuit.
Rodriguez went to Michigan after seven seasons in Morgantown, where he led West Virginia to four Big East championships and a 60-26 record.
West Virginia officials decided to ask a court to enforce the contract after supporters of Rodriguez questioned its validity and the coach did not disavow those statements, said Alex Macia, vice president of legal affairs and legal counsel for the university.
“There are very clear statements and factually incorrect statements by people who purportedly speak for the coach,” Macia said.
“There comes a time when you have to have a court pronounce as a matter of law what happened,” he said.
Rodriguez and the university agreed to a seven-year contract on Dec. 21, 2002, and it has been extended twice since then. The latest revision was agreed to on Dec. 8, 2006, when Rodriguez was considering an offer from Alabama. The revised contract was to run through the 2013 season.
In addition to increasing Rodriguez’s salary, the 2006 contract extension included a $100,000 supplemental payment to the assistant coaches’ salary pool and $6.2 million in improvements to the team’s athletic building, the Milan Puskar Center.
According to the lawsuit, the university fulfilled the contract’s terms and Rodriguez never gave it written notice, as required by the contract, that it had not followed the agreement, the lawsuit said.
“The university performed and upheld its end of the bargain,” Macia said.
University officials were not aware of and did not consent to Rodriguez’s discussions with Michigan officials about the Wolverines’ coaching job, the lawsuit said.
A summons issued to Rodriguez gave him 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.
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