ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fired for Behavior Unbecoming of a Pirate?!?

As reported in the Setonian here, Bobby Gonzalez, former head coach of the Seton Hall University men's basketball team, the Pirates, filed suit last week, alleging that he was terminated in violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  Gonzalez was fired following a Seton Hall loss in the post-season NIT.  During that loss, a Seton Hall player was ejected after having twice punched an opposing player in the groin.  Usually such behavior just leads to the Pirate in question being told to swab the decks.  But that was not the only incident during the game. Gonzalez was assessed his seventh technical foul of the season, which is kind of a lot for a college basketball coach, and so they made him walk the plank.

Announcing the decision to fire Coach Gonzalez, University President Msgr. Robert Sheeran remarked that the NIT loss was "the crystallization of all that was really wrong with the coaching and leadership."  According to the Setonian, two former members of the team were arrested after the game and charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and weapons violations.  These events may have been the last straw.  However, as reported on Wikipedia, there may have been grounds for Seton Hall administrators' discomfort with Gonzalez already.  There was concern that he was filling his roster with transfer students who, while gifted on the court, struggled academically and may have appeared too many times in courts without hoops or hardwood.  

Apparently, Gonzalez's suit turns on the suspicious timing of his for-cause termination, which deprived him of entitlement to two years of base salary.

[Jeremy Telman]

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