After a bizarre few weeks where former head football coach Bill Stewart (“Coach”) allegedly requested that reporters “dig up dirt” on head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen and Dana Holgorsen was allegedly removed from a casino for drunken behavior, West Virginia University (“WVU”) and Coach agreed to a settlement valued at $1.65m. On June 10, 2011, the parties entered into the Confidential Settlement Agreement and Release of All Claims (“Agreement”) whereby Coach would resign as head football coach effective June 10, 2011, agreed not to disparage WVU or any agents, and agreed to release all known or unknown claims against WVU. In return, Coach received $1.65m as general and liquidated damages (the structure was undetermined) and other benefits in which Coach was entitled (i.e., accrued vacation time and sick leave).
The Agreement was straight forward and did not have any bells and whistles. In some of the recent separation agreements (i.e., Dennis Franchione and Texas A&M), coaches have been required to mitigate their damages, or the agreement will have a set off provision that requires the coach to return money if he accepts similar employment, which may include employment in broadcasting, coaching, or athletic administration. Coach’s agreement did not contain any of these provisions and the $1.65m settlement amount is not contingent on any other terms short of a material breach of the terms of the Agreement.