The University of Arizona announced the firing of football coach Rich Rodriguez Tuesday night after an investigation into a sexual harassment claim against Rodriguez by a former administrative assistant.
Rodriguez, 54, had three years left on his five-year contract and had just led the Wildcats to a 7-7 season.
The claim by Rodriguez’s former administrative assistant accuses Rodriquez of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions including exposing himself to her in private, touching her breast and attempting to kiss her by force, according to USA Today’s Dan Wolken. The former employee also alleges the team and staff valued secrecy “above all else,” according to the Tucson Star.
UA President Robert C. Robbins and Athletic Director Dave Heeke said in a statement to the Arizona community that during the investigation, Arizona leadership discovered information before and during the investigation that concerned leadership with the “direction and climate of the football program.”
Robbins and Heeke also said the original sexual harassment allegations against Rodriguez were not substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses provided during the investigation. They said that the alleged victim declined several requests from the University “to participate in the investigation into her allegations,” and was not willing to provide evidence of communications with Rodriguez that were assumed to support the allegations.
While Rodriguez admitted to an extramarital affair in a statement on Twitter, he denied any wrongdoing against his former administrative assistant who filed the claim filed to the state’s attorney office.
“I fully cooperated with the investigation, including voluntarily taking and passing a polygraph,’ Rodriguez said. “The University determined that there was no truth to her accusations and found me innocent of any wrongdoing.”
Rodriguez went 46-37 in six seasons at Arizona and was thought to be in the hot seat prior to the investigation into the sexual harassment claims. Arizona started the season 6-2 before losing four of of its final five games and the Foster Farms Bowl to Purdue.