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Mike Anderson to Sue St. John’s Over Firing

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
St. John’s fired Mike Anderson for cause earlier this month. Anderson is reportedly suing the university with hopes of recouping the $11 million he believes he’s owed.

Former St. John’s men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson plans to file a lawsuit against the university for wrongful termination, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and Pete Thamel.

St. John’s cut ties with Anderson after the Red Storm’s season ended earlier this month. In four seasons, Anderson went 68-56 overall, but just 30-46 in conference play without reaching the NCAA Tournament.

ESPN reports that Anderson’s termination letter cited three reasons for his firing:

  • A failure to create and support an environment that encourages his players to meet university academic requirements
  • A failure to do the job in a way that reflected positively on the university and actions [that] brought serious discredit to the school
  • A “failure to appropriately supervise and communicate with [his] assistant coaches.”
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By firing Anderson “for cause,” as the university is trying to do, it could avoid paying Anderson the $11 million it would owe him otherwise. That money could, conceivably, be used to hire a bigger-name basketball coach…perhaps one already in the Hall of Fame with two national championships to his name.

Yes, Rick Pitino is the favorite to land the St. John’s job.

As for Anderson, it’s no surprise that he plans to sue to get the eight-figure check he feels he’s owed. He denied the allegations, telling ESPN: “I vehemently disagree with the university’s decision to terminate my contract for cause. The for cause accusation is wholly without merit and I will be aggressively defending my contractual rights through an arbitration process.”

St. John’s isn’t the first Big East school to go down this road with a fired coach. UConn had to pay former coach Kevin Ollie more than $11 million when it fired him for cause after consecutive losing seasons. The Huskies then hired Dan Hurley, who has the team in their first Sweet 16 since 2014.

We’ll see if Pitino (or someone else) can do the same at St. John’s and if the Red Storm administration can get out of cutting a similar check to Anderson.

More College Basketball:

About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.