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Wednesday
Jan032018

Arizona fires football coach Rich Rodriguez amid sexual harassment allegation

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(PHOENIX) -- The University of Arizona fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday night, following a sexual harassment allegation that the school had been investigating and recent notice of a hostile-workplace lawsuit to be filed against the school.

"After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President [Robert] Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction," athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement.

In the statement, Heeke acknowledged an investigation had been launched after Rodriguez' former administrative assistant accused Rodriguez of sexual harassment. The investigation was concluded last month, unable to substantiate the claims.

Still, Heeke said, "Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program.

"As a result, we have been reviewing the finding and deliberating our course of action. While this is a difficult decision, it is the right decision. And it is a decision that lives up to the core values of the University of Arizona."

ESPN reports that Rodriguez issued a statement Tuesday night saying he learned of his firing by email. In the statement, Rodriguez also admitted to an extramarital affair with a person not affiliated with the university, but denied allegations of harassment.

ESPN obtained a copy of the notice of claim, which indicates that the former employee accused Rodriguez of forcing her to keep his affair a secret, while also groping and attempting to kiss her.

Rodriguez led the Wildcats to 45 wins in 78 games at Arizona, including five bowl game appearances.

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