Photo Courtesy/Sara Kiernan
Former St. John’s University Men’s Basketball coach Mike Anderson said he will file an arbitration lawsuit against St. Johns University just 10 days after his termination. Anderson's lawsuit claims the termination “for cause”
His contract stated he would be owed $10 million dollars if not fired for cause. Anderson believes he has been wrongfully terminated.
In the termination letter obtained by ESPN from the University, Anderson was fired due to a “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 matter that reflected positively on St. John’s University… in actions [that] brought serious discredit [to the University] and “failure to appropriately supervise and communicate with your assistant coaches.”
Anderson denied the letter’s allegations. “I vehemently agree with the University’s decision to terminate my contract for cause,” the former head coach 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.”
Anderson is familiar with dealing with lawsuits and controversy. His old assistant coach Steve DeMeo filed a lawsuit against the school in 2021 after he claimed Anderson fired him due to a heart problem which required heart surgery. Over the season, the coach suspended Andre Curbelo for four games and Rafael Pinzon was indefinitely suspended in the last 6 games of the season.
Anderson will be paid the rest of his $10 million contract that was extended after he won Big East Coach of the Year in 2021.
The University reached a six-year deal with former Iona coach Rick Pitino on Monday. Pitino who is a 70-year-old New York native, recently just brought Iona to an MCAA championship and the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pitino use to be in the Big East as head coach of Providence back in 1985.
Anderson was with the Johnnies for four seasons with a record of 68-56 and 30-46 in the Big East. Anderson could not bring the team to the NCAA or NIT tournament. No men’s basketball players have entered the transfer portal.