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Top UConn Donor Asks for $3 Million Back

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(STORRS, Conn.) -- A longtime donor to the University of Connecticut has demanded back $3 million and will halt future donations in a public spat over the school's hiring of a new football coach.

The donor, Robert G. Burton, president of Burton Capital Management, accused the school's athletic director of mismanaging the program and not communicating properly with him.

Burton addressed a five-page letter, dated Jan. 19, to the university's athletic director, Jeff Hathaway. Burton said Hathaway, who succeeded former director Lew Perkins in July 2003, did not comply with his request to be "involved in the hiring process for the new coach." Burton said Hathaway only informed him of the new pick, Paul Pasqualoni, after he was hired on Jan. 13.

UConn Athletics spokesperson Mike Enright released a statement describing the hiring process for the new coach: "The UConn Division of Athletics followed a very thoughtful and thorough process in its search for the University's next football coach, which was the subject of great interest on the part of the UConn community, including our fans, donors and alumni. Many people, including Mr. Burton, shared their ideas about potential candidates with us."

In his letter, Burton wrote that he was qualified to assess coaches based on his experience as a former college football player and scout for the Minnesota Vikings.

Burton described himself as the football team's "largest donor" who gave over $7 million to the university. He asked that Hathaway return the $3 million he donated for the Burton Family Football Complex and that he plans to "donate these funds to another university that supports our objectives and goals."

Though Burton did not attend UConn he did receive an honorary Ph.D. from the state-run university. His wife was a graduate and his son, Michael, was captain of the football team in 1999, according to a university press release.

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