Arizona Abruptly Fires Rich Rodriguez

Former employee says he ran 'hostile workplace'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 3, 2018 12:31 AM CST
Updated Jan 3, 2018 2:46 AM CST
Arizona Fires Head Coach After Harassment Claim
In this Oct. 21, 2017 photo, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez yells from the sideline during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against California in Berkeley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Arizona has fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez after a notice of claim was filed with the state attorney general's office alleging he ran a hostile workplace. The Arizona Daily Star revealed the $7.5 million notice of claim on Tuesday after making a public-records request. The paper said the claim was filed last Thursday by a former employee. A notice of claim is a legal document that signals a lawsuit will be filed. The Daily Star reports that the notice was filed after the University's Office of Institutional Equity retained outside counsel to investigate allegations of sexual harassment from a former employee. The investigation, which concluded last week, did not find enough to fire Rodriguez, but the university became concerned with the "climate and direction" of the program.

Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke announced Rodriguez's firing in a statement issued by the school and said the separation terms of his contract will be honored, the AP reports. Rodriguez arrived in Tucson after an ugly split with Michigan, where he coached for three seasons. He had an immediate impact on the Wildcats, leading them to four straight bowl games, but they took a step back last season, losing eight straight games while finishing 3-9. Rodriguez tweeted late Tuesday that he will fight the "fabricated and groundless" claims. "I am not a perfect man, but the claims by my former assistant are simply not true and her demands for a financial settlement are outrageous," he said.

(More Rich Rodriguez stories.)

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