Arizona football coach fired amid sexual harassment claims

The University of Arizona fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.


A former administrative assistant to the coach filed a claim of $7.5 million against Rodriguez with the state attorney general, alleging that Rodriquez fostered a hostile work environment, according to the newspaper.

While Rodriguez has denied the harassment allegations by his former assistant as "baseless and false," he admitted in a Tuesday statement on Twitter that he was involved in an extramarital affair with a woman outside the university. 

"Regrettably, the complaint included a single truth — in the past, I had a consensual extramarital affair with a woman who is not affiliated with the University," Rodriguez said in the statement. "It was wrong, and I have apologized to my wife and family. I am still working incredibly hard to repair the bonds I've broken and regain the trust of my wife and children, whom I love dearly."

Rodriguez claimed he "fully cooperated" during the investigation, and took and passed a lie detector test in response to the claims against him. 

University President Robert Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke said in a Tuesday statement that the university had hired a law firm to investigate the claims, but that the former assistant was uncooperative and provided no concrete evidence or communications she had with Rodriguez.

But the athletic department "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." 

"I am not a perfect man, but the claims by my former assistant are simply not true and her demands for a financial settlement are simply outrageous," the coach said. "I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress."