Ex-Kentucky Coach, University Settle Firing Case for $2.9 Million

October 15, 2009

Former men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie and the University of Kentucky have settled their cases over his firing for nearly $3 million, the school said.

Gillispie was dismissed earlier this year and sued for breach of contract and fraud in May, seeking at least $6 million. The university countersued.

He had not signed a contract during his two years coaching the Wildcats to a 40-27 record but was working under a memorandum of understanding. He charged that he should have been paid $1.5 million per year for four of the five years left on the deal.

In a statement, the university said the lawsuits were settled through mediation. The agreement, signed Tuesday, said Gillispie would receive a little more than $2.98 million. About $260,000 will be paid by the university for attorney’s fees, as well as about $5,600 in mediation fees.

Gillispie’s attorney, Demetrios Anaipakos of Houston, said Gillispie was glad to have the case settled.

“He looks forward to coaching basketball again soon,” Anaipakos, who was in Houston, said in a telephone call to The Associated Press.

Anaipakos said Gillispie would have rather worked things out with the university amicably than file a lawsuit. The agreement, however, was “significantly” more than the university’s best offer previously, which “vindicated” his decision to sue, Anaipakos said.

The university’s statement said it would have no further comment, but the agreement said the settlement was not an admission of liability and was made only to avoid further expense, controversy and litigation.

The lawsuit, which Gillispie filed in federal court in Dallas, also contended the school’s athletics association was in breach of contract and committed fraud because Kentucky never intended to honor the agreement.

The dispute was not Gillispie’s only remaining legal matter in Kentucky. Last week, a judge set a February trial date in a drunken-driving case against Gillispie. His lawyer has said Gillispie is considering a plea deal.

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