The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Fired basketball coach settles lawsuit against college

Mike Jordan was hired by the college in March 2022 and fired less than a year later. (Photo courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Mike Jordan, the former head coach of the men’s basketball team, has settled his federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and racial discrimination against Lafayette College. The terms of the settlement are currently not known.

The lawsuit over his removal last spring was filed in November. Jordan sought more than $5 million in damages, including payment of the nearly $1 million salary in his five-year contract and compensation for “damages to his reputation” and endured “pain and suffering.”

Jordan’s attorney, Riley H. Ross III of Philadelphia-based law firm Mincey Fitzpatrick Ross, could not discuss the settlement amount but described the outcome as “amicable.”

“My client is happy to close this chapter,” Ross said.

Jordan was hired by the college in March 2022 and placed on paid leave less than a year later while undergoing a workplace conduct investigation that ultimately led to his termination.

The investigation was triggered after a student-athlete filed a complaint about Jordan with the college.

In a filing to dismiss the lawsuit against it, the college cited this complaint and claimed that Jordan “verbally abused players including the use of terms that were sexist, racist and ableist; questioned the integrity of, and mocked, injured players who were following instructions of the medical staff.”

Jordan denied these accusations. The suit alleges that Jordan provided the college with contextual information and witnesses to refute the letter’s claims, including “the names and contact information of more than 45 individuals.”

The suit’s allegations of racial discrimination were founded upon the college’s promotion of associate head coach Mike McGarvey to Jordan’s previous head coach position. According to the suit, McGarvey, who is white, was mentored by Jordan and has “the same coaching mentality and philosophy” as him.

The suit also draws comparisons to Jordan’s predecessor, Fran O’Hanlon, claiming that O’Hanlon was “the subject of repeated and severe complaints to the College for many years” but was never suspended or terminated.

The college’s legal office did not respond to a request for comment, neither did its attorney and lead investigator, Christopher Moran.

Bryan Hay, a spokesperson for the college, declined to comment.

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Elisabeth Seidel, Managing Editor

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