Helps settle dispute with Northeastern

BOSTON -- The University of Massachusetts agreed to suspend
football coach Don Brown for this season's first three games and
issued a public apology to Northeastern for recruiting and hiring him away, all part of a settlement ending a lawsuit.

Northeastern said Friday it will receive $150,000 from UMass for the cost of recruiting a replacement for Brown, who was under contract to Northeastern when he agreed in February to take over at its Atlantic 10 rival. A UMass spokesman would not confirm the

"In retrospect, I realize that what we at UMass did was wrong,
and certainly could have been handled in a much more constructive
and less confrontational manner," Chancellor John V. Lombardi said
in a statement.

In February, the Minutemen hired Brown to replace Mark Whipple,
who was hired as quarterbacks coach by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown was Whipple's defensive coordinator at Massachusetts for two
seasons before taking the head job at Northeastern in 2000.

Northeastern obtained an injunction preventing Brown from
coaching, claiming a breach of contract. Superior Court Judge
Thomas E. Connolly found that Brown "willfully and intentionally
breached his contract" and that UMass-Amherst "actively induced
the breach."

Brown was under contract to coach Northeastern through 2008. He
was required to obtain approval from the school before negotiating
or accepting other jobs.

The injunction was later lifted after the sides agreed to work
out a compromise.

"All along we have believed that a contract is a two-way street
and should be viewed that way," Northeastern athletic director
Dave O'Brien said. "The court's decision and the settlement are
reflective of that principle."

Northeastern has since hired former Temple assistant R.E.
"Rocky" Hager, who won two Division II championships at North
Dakota State.

Lombardi's statement, which UMass spokesmen said was vetted
through school lawyers, said the school "will undertake to
suspend" Brown from coaching the first three games. UMass opens
its season Sept. 4 at Delaware State, then returns home to Amherst
for games Sept. 11 against Colgate and Sept. 18 against Richmond.

Northeastern and UMass meet in November.