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Former St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson is expected to file an arbitration lawsuit against the university following his firing "for cause," reports ESPN.
Anderson believes that he was wrongfully terminated by the school, and his contract states that he would be owed $11 million if he wasn’t fired for cause.
However, St. John’s said in Anderson’s termination letter, via ESPN, that the head coach had a "failure to create and support an environment that strongly encourages student-athletes who are in the men’s basketball program to meet all university academic requirements." There was also the "failure to perform your duties and responsibilities in a manner that reflected positively on St. John’s University.… in actions [that] brought serious discredit" to the university.
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St. John's Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson signals to his players during the Seton Hall Pirates game on Jan. 18, 2020, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Anderson is denying all those accusations by the university. He told ESPN, "I vehemently disagree with the university’s decision to terminate my contract for cause."
"The for cause accusation is wholly without merit and I will be aggressively defending my contractual rights through an arbitration process," he added.
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St. John’s has since hired Rick Pitino as Anderson’s successor, as the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer left Iona just days after losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to join the Red Storm.
"One of my great coaching memories was having the distinct privilege of coaching against Lou Carnesecca and St. John's, a Hall of Fame coach and historic program that I have always respected," said Pitino in an official statement by St. John’s on the hire. "It is surreal to now have this opportunity to bring St. John's back to prominence. I'm honored, humbled and grateful to Fr. Shanley, Bill Janetschek and Mike Cragg for making me feel so special."
St. John's Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson speaks to his players on the court during the West Virginia Mountaineers game on Dec. 7, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Anderson was fired after going 68-56 in his 124 games with the university. He was also 30-46 in Big East play, while never getting his squad to reach the NCAA Tournament.
St. John’s has not made it to the NCAA Tournament since the 2018-2019 season, when they lost in the First Four.
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Anderson’s arbitration lawsuit isn’t the first in college basketball, as former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie filed one after being fired for cause prior to Dan Hurley’s hire with the Huskies. The school was ordered to pay Ollie $11 million.
Head coach Mike Anderson of the St. John's Red Storm reacts against the Creighton Bluejays at Carnesecca Arena on March 01, 2020, in New York City. (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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In Anderson’s case, he has retained John Singer of Singer Deutsch as his attorney, per ESPN. Singer Deutsch is also working with University of Nebraska head football coach Matt Rhule, who is in an arbitration case with the Carolina Panthers after he was fired last season.
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