This week brought word that Penn State had filed suit against one of its former defensive coordinators. Thursday brings word that the legal shoe is on the other foot as it pertains to another FBS program and a couple of its former assistants.
According to USA Today‘s Dan Wolken, David Dean and Rance Gillespie filed separate lawsuits last month against Georgia Southern, its athletic association, its head football coach, Tyson Summers, athletic director Tom Kleinlein as well as what were described as multiple GSU administrators. In early December, both Dean and Gillespie were fired from their positions as co-offensive coordinators.
“The lawsuits allege breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference after the school failed to execute the 18-month contracts the coaches signed initially, then pressured them to sign shorter deals two days before their dismissal,” Wolken wrote.
More from Wolken’s report:
After being offered the job by Summers and receiving formal offer sheets, both David Dean and Rance Gillespie signed 18-month contracts on Jan. 27, 2016, that established June 30, 2017, as the end of their term.
Both coaches claim that more than nine months later, they learned the school’s Board of Regents and the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation never signed the contracts. According to the lawsuits, Summers notified the coaching staff on Nov. 3, 2016, that new contracts were being prepared.
The second contract, which was given to the coaches following the 10th game of the season on Nov. 16, had changed the end of the agreement to Feb. 28, 2017.
The lawsuit alleges that Summers, Kleinlein, senior associate athletics director for business operations Jeff Blythe and director of football operations Cymone George “conspired to change the terms of the January Contract and specifically the employment end date” in order to save money, knowing they would be making coaching changes on the offensive staff.
In the civil action, the former coordinators are suing for loss of compensation and accrued interest as well as attorney fees.
Last season under Dean and Gillespie, the Eagles dropped from 24th to 79th in scoring offense, 24th to 104th in yards per play and from first to 29th in rushing as their 363 yards per game average in 2015 plummeted precipitously to 224. Southern’s record fell accordingly to 5-7 after going a combined 17-7 the previous two seasons.
That subpar record led to speculation Summers could be one-and-done at the Sun Belt school prior to the head coach firing both of his coordinators.