Coach says U of M reneged on offer, plans to sue

Joel Maturi
Joel Maturi, University of Minnesota athletic director.
MPR Photo/Art Hughes

(AP) - A former Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach plans to file a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota, claiming the school reneged on an offer to work as an assistant to new Gophers coach Tubby Smith.

Jimmy Williams said he left Oklahoma State, moved to the Twin Cities and bought a home after Smith offered him the job. Williams' attorney, Dick Hunegs, alleged Thursday that Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi then reneged on the deal.

Williams sent a complaint to the school and asked to get the job, but Hunegs said he would likely file the lawsuit Monday.

University of Minnesota general counsel Mark Rotenberg issued a response Thursday, saying Smith interviewed Williams for a position but never reached an agreement to hire him.

Rotenberg said Williams wasn't offered the job because of "significant NCAA rules violations" stemming from his tenure as an assistant Gophers coach in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Athletics Director Maturi and Coach Smith could not overlook Williams' significant prior record of infractions on our campus," Rotenberg said.

Williams had one year left on his contract with Oklahoma State and had been there since 1999. He previously worked at Minnesota under Bill Musselman and Jim Dutcher from 1971-1986 and was the interim coach after Dutcher resigned in 1986.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.