Former St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said he will file an arbitration lawsuit against the school after he was terminated “for cause.”
Per his contract, Anderson would have been owed $11 million if he had not been fired for cause, and he believes he was wrongfully terminated. According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and Pete Thamel, the school has been in “serious” talks with Iona head coach Rick Pitino to replace Anderson.
According to the termination letter obtained by ESPN, Anderson was fired for “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,” “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 school and “failure to appropriately supervise and communicate with your assistant coaches.”
Anderson denies the allegations.
“I vehemently disagree with the university’s decision to terminate my contract for cause,” Anderson said in a statement to ESPN. “The for cause accusation is wholly without merit and I will be aggressively defending my contractual rights through an arbitration process.”
Jay Morakis, CEO of M Group Strategic Communications, confirmed that Anderson has retained attorney John Singer of Singer Deutsch, which is currently working with Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule in his $5 million arbitration case against the Carolina Panthers.
Anderson went 68-56 overall and 30-46 in the Big East in his four years at St. John’s. He did not reach the NCAA tournament during his tenure.
Another former Big East coach took similar actions when he believed he was wrongfully terminated. Last year, an arbitrator ordered UConn to pay former head coach Kevin Ollie $11 million after he was fired for cause in 2018 following allegations of NCAA violations.