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Former Miami coach sues Pitt for canceling his contract in 2011

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 12:30 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt decided to fire then-football coach Michael Haywood in 2011 after he was arrested for an alleged assault.

An assistant football coach who left Miami (Ohio) University to follow Michael Haywood to the University of Pittsburgh claims Pitt owes him $275,000 for canceling his contract when it fired Haywood.

William Mottola, now an assistant coach for The Citadel, resigned his $65,000-a-year position at the Ohio university after Pitt confirmed it would hire him for $165,000 a year and throw in a $20,000 SUV, the lawsuit says.

Mottola is seeking the difference between what he would have been paid by Pitt and what he made in the last two years at The Citadel, where he makes $50,000 a year, said his attorney, Dennis Moskal.

“He would have been better off if Pitt had never made any offer,” he said. “Look at the consequences to him.”

Pitt spokesman Ken Service couldn't be reached for comment.

The university fired Haywood on Jan. 1, 2011, after he was arrested on domestic violence charges that were subsequently dismissed. At the same time, it canceled contracts with Mottola and other coaching staff that were coming from Miami to Pitt, the lawsuit says.

Because Miami had already hired a new head coach, and he had brought in his own staff, Mottola couldn't return to his former job and spent five months searching before he was hired by The Citadel, the lawsuit says.

Mottola is also seeking his attorney fees and a 25 percent penalty on the $275,000 fee under a state law that penalizes employers for failing to pay wages in a timely fashion.

“This is an employment law case, no different than any other one,” Moskal said.

Haywood has his own pending lawsuit against the university, claiming it violated his due process rights when it fired him without a chance to explain his side of the story.

Both sides have reached a tentative settlement in that case, but haven't filed a motion to dismiss the case, according to court records.

Haywood's attorneys couldn't be reached for comment.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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