MORGANTOWN – Attorneys for West Virginia University plan to question former football coach Rich Rodriguez under oath about his resignation, and attorneys for Rodriguez plan to question WVU Athletic Director Ed Pastilong.
Sworn depositions of Rodriguez and Pastilong would represent the next step in a Monongalia County lawsuit over a $4 million buyout clause in the coach's contract.
The university wants Circuit Judge Robert Stone to enforce the buyout. Rodriguez claims Stone can't enforce it because the university breached the contract.
University attorney Thomas Flaherty said March 6 that he and Rodriguez's attorney, Sean McGinley, were working to find compatible dates for depositions.
Rodriguez had filed a deposition notice on Pastilong at the courthouse in Morgantown.
The university did not file a deposition notice on Rodriguez.
"We followed the normal course and requested it by letter," Flaherty said.
Rodriguez resigned Dec. 19 to coach the University of Michigan.
West Virginia University's board of governors sued him Dec. 27.
Rodriguez sent Pastilong a letter Jan. 10, "to put in writing my reasons that I felt that West Virginia University has material and substantial breaches in our agreement."
He wrote, "... several issues were promised and discussed and were oral agreements that I thought would be upheld."
He wrote that university president Mike Garrison "stated that he did not believe in buyouts and that if I wanted to leave that 'the buyout would be reduced to 2 million or eliminated altogether.'"
Rodriguez removed the suit to U.S. District Court at Clarksburg on Jan. 16, but on Feb. 11 District Judge John Bailey sent it back to Stone.
The university moved Feb. 22 to expedite the case, arguing that Rodriguez would have difficulty representing his interests after football practice starts this summer.
Flaherty said he awaits a setting from Stone on the motion to expedite.
Flaherty practices at Flaherty, Sensabaugh and Bonasso in Charleston. Jeffrey Wakefield and Jaclyn Bryk of the firm also represent the university.
So do Robert P. Fitzsimmons and Robert J. Fitzsimmons of Wheeling.
McGinley practices at DiTrapano Barrett and DiPiero of Charleston.
Marvin Robon and Ethan Davis of Maumee, Ohio, also represent Rodriguez.