LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The University of Kentucky countersued fired men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie Thursday, claiming it doesn't owe him pay because he never signed a contract.
The employment dispute escalated when the university filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky, one day after Gillispie filed his own claim in Dallas, asking for $6 million in back pay, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs.
Gillispie, who was fired March 27, was working under a seven-year memorandum of understanding but hadn't signed a formal contract during the two years he coached the Wildcats.
A call to Gillispie's attorney, Demetrios Anaipakos, was not immediately returned.
UK's lawyers are asking the court to rule that the two-page memorandum of understanding Gillispie signed after his hiring in 2007 was not the equivalent of a full contract. Gillispie says it is and that he is entitled to $1.5 million a year for four of the five years left on the deal.
"UK contends that the (memorandum of understanding) is not an
enforceable long-term contract of employment, and that it owes no
damages to Gillispie, having paid him for each basketball season in which he coached," the lawsuit says.
University attorneys also argue that Kentucky, not Texas, is the proper place for any litigation between the two sides.
Gillispie's claim accuses the school of fraud and breach of contract, saying it never intended to sign him long-term.
However, the school claims the coach turned town six versions of a full employment contract, quibbling over the language involving what actions would constitute dismissal without pay.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)