Football coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired by the University of Arizona after a notice of claim was filed with the state attorney general’s office alleging he ran a hostile workplace, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The notice was filed after the university began investigating allegations that Rodriguez sexually harassed a former employee. The investigation, which concluded last week, did not find enough to fire Rodriguez, but the university reportedly fired him amid concerns with the “climate and direction” of the program. They used email to deliver the bad news.
Rodriguez, 54, just finished his sixth season as the Wildcats’ coach following stops at Michigan and West Virginia. He shot back at the university, vowing that he will “vigorously fight these fabricated and groundless claims” made by his former administrative assistant. The coach said he was fired by email.
“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 wrote.
— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) January 3, 2018
The former administrative assistant threatened a $7.5 million lawsuit alleging harassment. Rodriguez said he cooperated with the investigation and passed a voluntary polygraph test, noting the complainant did not cooperate with the investigation.
Rodriguez also acknowledged an extramarital affair with a woman not affiliated with the university, saying he apologized to his wife and family and is working to regain their trust.
Rodriguez said, “I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress.”
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.
“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” Heeke said. “We’ll move through the coaching search in an effort to identify a head coach that will build a solid foundation for our program and create an identity of Arizona football that the university, Tucson and southern Arizona communities can be proud of. We’re excited about the future of our football program and we look forward to introducing our new head coach at the completion of the search process.”
— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) January 3, 2018