Rodriguez wants WVU booster to retract comments

Updated: April 26, 2008, 6:11 PM ET
Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's Rich Rodriguez is firing back at a former West Virginia University colleague, who claimed the former Mountaineers coach would get the fundraiser a job with the Wolverines.

An attorney for Rodriguez plans to deliver a letter on Monday to Larry Aschebrook's attorney, asking the former WVU fundraiser to retract statements he made in a sworn affidavit last month.

Aschebrook claimed in the affidavit Rodriguez said he would find him a job at Michigan. Aschebrook was concerned allegations he made a racist remark would ruin his career.

Former West Virginia coach Calvin Magee, who is now a Wolverines assistant and is black, has said Aschebrook told him he wouldn't have a chance to succeed Rodriguez at West Virginia because of his skin color. Aschebrook has denied he said that.

"Normally, you wouldn't want to respond to such ridiculous statements and lies," Rodriguez said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press. "But I'm not going to let someone attack my reputation and those of my assistant coaches.

"There were over 20 statements in Larry's affidavit that were lies, and he knows it. I did tell him I would try to help him get a job somewhere, but I did not guarantee him a job anywhere. I'm not an athletic director."

West Virginia University president Mike Garrison asked the school's Office of Social Justice in January to look into the allegations.

Aschebrook has left West Virginia to work as a fundraiser at Arizona State.

A message seeking comment was left with Aschebrook on Saturday.

Aschebrook's attorney, Dean Hartley of West Virginia, said his client stands by his affidavit. "He signed it under oath," Hartley said.

Magee also said he stands by everything he has said about the matter.

"I hope the truth comes out," Magee said.

WVU and Rodriguez are mired in a bitter public feud and a lawsuit over a $4 million buyout clause that Rodriguez claims he was pressured to sign -- but was assured would never be enforced.

Rodriguez gave a deposition in the case Monday.

Aschebrook claimed in his affidavit that Magee made the allegations against him to divert attention from the battle over the buyout, hoping to taint WVU in hopes that litigation could be resolved.

Jennifer McIntosh, executive director of the WVU Office of Social Justice, was out of the office Friday, according to her secretary. A message asking McIntosh for an update on the investigation was sent Friday via e-mail.

University officials have not said when or whether her report will be released.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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