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Former Auburn baseball coach files civil suit against university for breach of contract, defamation

Former Auburn baseball coach Sunny Golloway discusses his dismissal from the university in November.
Former Auburn baseball coach Sunny Golloway discusses his dismissal from the university in November. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Former Auburn baseball coach Sunny Golloway filed a civil lawsuit in district court Tuesday against the school.

Golloway alleges breach of contract, defamation, fraud and tortuous interference in the 86-page complaint.

A search of online court records shows the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Alabama’s Middle District in Opelika.

The lawsuit names Auburn’s board of trustees, athletic director Jay Jacobs, former COO David Benedict, senior associate athletic director Rich McGlynn, director of baseball operations Scott Duval and baseball administrator Jeremy Roberts as defendants. Jacobs, Benedict, McGlynn, Duval and Roberts are listed in their official and individual capacities.

Auburn’s former baseball coach is seeking the $1 million buyout in his contract along with compensatory and punitive damages against the university for what he describes as “mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation.”

Auburn responded with multiple statements Wednesday night labeling the lawsuit as a diversionary tactic and shakedown attempt.

“Coach Golloway knowingly and repeatedly broke Auburn and NCAA rules, including an attempt to destroy evidence of his violations,” Auburn’s director of public affairs Brian C. Keetter said in a statement. “We appreciated his coaching skills, but his actions left us no choice but to dismiss him from his position. He now seems to be using legal action in an attempt to divert attention away from his own misconduct.”

Jacobs responded with his own strongly worded statement.

“This suit is an attempt to shakedown Auburn University,” Jacob said. “Instead of recognizing that he broke the rules, Sunny instead lashes out and attacks many members of the Auburn family. It’s sad that it has come to this but principle and decency require us not to give in.

“Sunny has still not come to terms with the seriousness of his violations and the reason he was terminated with cause in the first place. Instead of attacking others, it would be better if Sunny reflected on his own actions.”

Jacobs fired Golloway on Sept. 27 with cause based on the findings of an investigation into the program by the university’s compliance department.

Golloway’s attorney John Saxon was presented with a list of NCAA and school rule violations the athletic department used as the basis for the termination. Golloway responded to all 11 of Auburn’s allegations during a lengthy press conference from his attorney’s Birmingham offices in November.

Auburn’s allegations of misconduct and Golloway’s responses are all included in the complaint.

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