Former West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez.
Jan. 29, 2008
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Former West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez filed a $1.5 million letter of credit Tuesday, claiming that's the amount he owes the university after leaving for Michigan.
The amount was spelled out in a "maximum liquidated damages provision" in the contract that was in effect when Rodriguez resigned Dec. 18, the court filing claims. West Virginia is suing Rodriguez over a $4 million buyout clause in his contract.
The letter of credit, good for 90 days, was filed with the U.S. District Court in Clarksburg "in the spirit of compromise and as an act of good faith" to assure WVU he will pay up if the court orders an award, the filing said.
"Coach Rodriguez is a responsible person," his agent Mike Brown said in a statement. "This is a good faith effort to move the process and communication lines forward so all parties can concentrate on their future endeavors."
Rodriguez claimed WVU failed to honor verbal promises, including that his buyout might be eliminated. WVU denied such a promise was made, and sued Rodriguez for breach of contract Dec. 27.
"The amount owed by Mr. Rodriguez, under the terms of the contract in effect at the time of his resignation, is $4 million," WVU attorney Jeff Wakefield said Tuesday.
The resignation, which came a year after Rodriguez pledged to remain in West Virginia for as long as the state would have him, touched off a bitter and ongoing public dispute in which each side has accused the other of breaching terms of the contract.
The gradual disintegration of the relationship between Rodriguez and the WVU Athletic Department was documented in a series of e-mails written over a five-month period and released to The Associated Press under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
They show Brown fighting to get his client more operational and marketing control over the football program. They also show Brown threatening to take his client elsewhere as early as mid-November.
His official response to the lawsuit is due by Monday.