Former St. John’s coach Mike Anderson suing university over ‘for cause’ firing

Former St. John's head coach Mike Anderson
St. John’s coach Mike Anderson watch his team play against UConn during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in New York.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Firings are a part of life for any college basketball coach, but former St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson is taking issue with the way the university handled his. 

The former Red Storm coach will file an arbitration lawsuit against St. John’s over his termination “for cause,” according to ESPN. The designation denies Anderson the $11 million he would have been owed if he wasn’t fired for cause and he believed he was wrongfully let go. 

The termination letter, which ESPN had obtained, stated that Anderson had been fired for “failure to create and support an environment that strongly encourages student-athletes who are in the men’s basketball program to meet all university academic requirements.” It also went on to say that Anderson had failed to do his duties ” in a manner that reflected positively on St. John’s University” and that he had “brought serious discredit” to the school. 

They also said that Anderson had failed to supervise and communicate with his assistant coaches.

Attorney John Singer of Singer Deutsch has been retained by Anderson to represent him in the suit. Singer is also representing former Carolina Panthers coach Matt Ruhl in a $5 million arbitration case against the team. 

Andeson denied the allegations by St. John’s in a statement. 

“I vehemently disagree with the university’s decision to terminate my contract for cause,” Anderson said. “The for cause accusation is wholly without merit and I will be aggressively defending my contractual rights through an arbitration process.”

Anderson had been fired by St. John’s a day after they had been knocked out of the Big East Tournament. Under Aanderson’s watch, the Red Storm had a 68-56 record and went 30-46 in Big East play without making a single appearance in the NCAA Tournament in that time. 

Since he was fired, and even before then, St. John’s has been linked to Hall-of-Fame coach Rick Pitino. The school made an offer to Pitino on Sunday after he met with administrators, according to the New York Post

For more St. John’s basketball coverage, visit amNY.com