George Washington University severed ties with men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan on Saturday following an investigation into claims of verbal and emotional abuse from former players. On Sunday afternoon, Lonergan’s lawyers issued a statement that the now former head coach would seek “appropriate relief” for his alleged wrongful termination.
Lonergan had five years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2014 after leading the Colonials to the NCAA tournament.
“He cooperated fully with the Title IX review,” the lawyers said in the statement. “The University never identified to the Coach his accuser, much less the details and the substance of the anonymous accusations. He was denied administrative due process in the form of a hearing as required by his contract and the policies of the University.
“The University failed and refused to give Coach Lonergan written notice of the outcome of the Title IX review, which is required by the University’s own policy, and the University violated the confidentiality provisions of the policy by issuing a press release about the review. He will seek appropriate relief from the University for this wrongful termination and treatment.”
The university first received and investigated complaints regarding Lonergan following the 2014-2015 season, but cleared the coach of any wrongdoing at the time. The school continued to monitor him during the 2015-2016 season as well.
Over the summer, the Washington Post published a detailed look into the allegations against Lonergan, which led to the school launching an independent investigation into the matter. During the investigation, Lonergan was permitted to take the team on a summer trip to Japan. Ultimately, the investigation led to the team’s termination of the coach.
George Washington plans to appoint an interim coach for the upcoming season.