Rich Rodriguez responds to firing, harassment complaint’s ‘single truth’

Rodriguez spent six seasons at Arizona, posting a 43-35 record there.

Fired Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez offered a lengthy response late Tuessday to his dismissal after a sexual harassment investigation unveiled information that led university officials to become "concerned with the direction and climate of the football program."

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Rodriguez expressed disappointment over his firing. He claims he committed no harrassment but rather was involved in an extramarital affair with a woman not associated with 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. 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."

Although the university's official statement earlier Tuesday said the investigation did not substantiate a sexual harassment claim by a former female employee, officials found cause for concern.

"Today is a difficult day for the University of Arizona, but also a day on which we reaffirm our commitment to our values — and to ourselves," began the statement, which was co-signed by University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke.

The statement went on to say Rodriguez's employment had been terminated, "effective immediately," and separation terms of the contract will be honored.

The statement also noted that the university had begun an investigation into Rodriguez in October 2017 after the former employee alleged Rodriguez harassed her on "multiple occasions."

In an email to USA Today after his termination became public, Rodriguez confessed he had engaged in a "consensual extramarital affair." He also said his former administrative assistant had threatened to file a $7.5 million harassment lawsuit against him.

"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," Rodriguez said. "I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress."

The investigation, which concluded Dec. 28, could not substantiate those claims, and the university's statement noted the former employee refused to participate in the investigation, or turn over records of her communications.

The university's statement concluded that the "specific harassment allegations against Mr Rodriguez could not be substantiated … however, 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."

That investigation finished Dec. 28, the day after Arizona lost to Purdue, 38-35, in the Foster Farms Bowl to finish 7-6.

However, college football insider Brett McMurphy reported that the decision had been made to fire Rodriguez before the bowl, and "Even a win in bowl wouldn’t have saved Rodriguez’s job."

Rodriguez spent six seasons at Arizona, posting a 43-35 record there. Rodriguez, 54, has an overall coaching mark of 118-83 in 16 seasons, including previous stops at West Virginia and Michigan.