Last fall, Seton Hall University’s head basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez celebrated an extension of his coaching contract with the New Jersey university. The contract extended his coaching position with the school through June, 2014. Celebration, however, has turned into confusion and disappointment. Gonzalez is in the midst of suing Seton Hall University for breach of contract after they fired him in March, 2010.
The university claims they had cause to terminate Gonzalez, a claim that Gonzalez and his attorney Gerald Krovatin refute. Gonzalez’s case states that Seton Hall did not have cause to fire him, and since his contract says that there must be cause for termination, the university has failed to live up to their end of the employment contract.
Gonzalez and his lawyer are suing Seton Hall for breach of contract and seek to win damages of 2 years’ worth of his base pay. This goal is based on the employment contract between Gonzalez and Seton Hall University that says if he were ever to be fired without cause, then the university would have to pay him that exact figure.
An interesting aspect of this case is that 2 days before terminating Gonzalez, the university urged him to resign. If he had given in to that suggestion, Gonzalez would have left with 2 years’ pay.
Two pertinent questions of this case remain to be answered:
- What was Seton Hall University’s reason for both urging Gonzalez to resign and then ultimately firing him?
- Is that reason a valid, legal cause for Seton Hall University’s action in firing Gonzalez?
Sources suggest that it was the bad behavior of some of the athletes on Gonzalez’s basketball team that led to his termination. One player was arrested on multiple charges, including burglary, kidnapping and robbery, while another player became violent on the basketball court during a game. Gonzalez’s arguing with game officials has also been noted as a possible reason behind the loss of his job.
It is now up to the court to determine whether Seton Hall’s reasons for termination, whatever they might have been, were reasonable grounds for firing Gonzalez. Either way, the former Seton Hall basketball coach looks forward to moving on to a new opportunity.
Bobby Gonzalez Sues Seton Hall