After getting fired for cause as St. John's men's basketball coach, Mike Anderson plans to file a lawsuit against the university that would help him recuperate some of the $11 million he was owed for the remainder of his contract, the former Red Storm coach told ESPN. Anderson, 63, was fired March 10 after the Red Storm were eliminated from the Big East Tournament with a quarterfinal loss to Marquette.
"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."
In a termination letter explaining Anderson's firing obtained by ESPN, the school asserted that Anderson failed to facilitate an environment of academic compliance within the program. It also claimed that Anderson failed to "appropriately supervise" his assistant coaches.
Anderson posted a 68-56 mark in four seasons after arriving following an eight-year stint at Arkansas. The Red Storm did not reach the NCAA Tournament or NIT during his tenure and finished above .500 in Big East play only once. Among the leading candidates to replace Anderson is Iona coach Rick Pitino, who is currently mulling an offer from the school to serve as the program's next coach, sources told CBS Sports' Matt Norlander.
"After fully evaluating the men's basketball program, our University has decided a change is needed in both the leadership and direction of St. John's Basketball," athletic director Mike Cragg said in a statement when Anderson was fired. "We wish Coach Mike Anderson and his family the best in their future."