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Arizona fires Rodriguez amid hostile workplace claim

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017, file 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. Arizona has fired 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 notice of claim on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, after making a public-records request. Athletic director Dave Heeke issued a statement saying the athletics department decided to go in a new direction after evaluating the program. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The Associated Press

The football coach at the University of Arizona was fired after a notice of claim was filed with the state that he allegedly ran a hostile workplace.

Rich Rodriguez was fired and The Arizona Daily Star revealed the notice of claim Tuesday after making a public records reqeust. The notice is a legal document that signals a lawsuit will be filed.

A former employee filed it after the school's Office of Institutional Equity retained outside counsel to investigate allegations of sexual harassment from a former employee.

Rodriguez issued a statement after he was fired saying the investigation concerned a former administrative assistant who threated 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.

"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," 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.

ESPN reports the payout will be more than $5 million.

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.

Arizona took a step back last season, losing eight straight games while finishing 3-9. The Wildcats were one of college football's more surprising teams this season after opening 6-2. They fell flat after that, losing four of their final five, including a 38-35 setback against Purdue in the Holiday Bowl.

Rodriguez was 43-39 in six seasons at Arizona.


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