Locksley resolves 'all legal claims'

Updated: October 12, 2009, 9:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico coach Mike Locksley has resolved "all legal claims" involving a former football administrative assistant, although details were scarce in a statement issued Monday by the university.

According to a plaintiff's attorney, Locksley told Sylvia Lopez she was too old to be attractive to recruits, prompting the 25-year university employee to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the coach in April.

It alleged age discrimination, retaliation and, according to comments attributed to Lopez's attorney, Whitney Warner, sexual harassment.

The university's statement indicated it was "unfortunate the label of sexual harassment was used in this case because it never fit" Lopez's circumstances.

A New Mexico spokesman said Locksley wasn't available for comment but the first-year coach told Albuquerque television station KRQE he was focused on helping his team win.

"I mean, I look at it as part of the process of being a head coach," Locksley said. "You will go through some rough times, and I think that is where leadership shows."

Warner declined comment.

The statement included a quote jointly attributed to athletic director Paul Krebs and university president David Schmidly: "We stand behind Coach Locksley and know that he has performed and continues to perform his job in a professional and respectable manner and will do so in the future."

The development removes one major off-field problem facing Locksley. He still faces an internal university investigation after he punched an assistant coach during a heated coaches meeting, splitting his lip.

Receivers coach J.B. Gerald hasn't been with the Lobos (0-6) since the Sept. 20 dispute, which occurred a day after a loss to Air Force. Gerald has turned in his keys and university-issued cell phone but remains on paid administrative leave.

After the fight, Krebs issued verbal and written reprimands to Locksley. A day later, university administrators decided to investigate whether Locksley's actions violated policies against campus violence.

New Mexico officials planned a news conference for Tuesday to announce whether Locksley will be suspended or fired for allegedly striking Gerald, a person familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, New Mexico is struggling on the field.

After last weekend's 37-13 loss at Wyoming, the Lobos are winless through six games for the first time since 1987 when they went 0-11. New Mexico has lost 10 straight overall, the longest skid since dropping 10 in a row over the 1990 and 1991 seasons.

But the EEOC complaint has gone away, with the parties indicating they "have worked together to resolve any misunderstanding."

"All legal claims, including the EEOC charges, have been withdrawn," the statement said.

That wording implies Locksley has dropped his countersuit alleging defamation by Lopez and Warner.

"There will be no additional comment from anyone regarding this matter," athletic department spokesman Greg Remington wrote in an e-mail.

The statement suggested Lopez has been reinstated as a university employee but gave no details and offered no hint of earlier bitterness. Warner claimed Lopez was fired but Krebs maintained Lopez was reassigned from the football office and later retired.

"I truly wish the best for Coach Locksley and hope he has a great season and career with UNM. I regret that this misunderstanding may have created a negative perception of coach Locksley," said Lopez, who added she will be a season ticket-holder "of all Lobo athletic programs."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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