Matt Heath, who was fired as the head baseball coach at the College of Charleston late last month, has filed a wrongful termination suit against the school.
CofC President Glenn McConnell and athletic director Matt Roberts are also named in the suit, which was filed last week.
The lawsuit confirms that Heath, who spent two years as the Cougars head coach in addition to several years as the team's pitching coach, was under an internal investigation by the school into his verbal and physical behavior towards his team. Heath became aware of the investigation in June, according to the suit, and was suspended by Roberts without pay.
On June 14, the suit claims Heath received a "notice of Initiation of Recommendation for Termination Action for Just Cause" which was written by Roberts. This notified Heath that Roberts was recommending McConnell fire Heath for "just cause."
Allegations made against Heath in the investigation, according to the lawsuit, include claims Heath pulled a pitcher sitting on the bench "up by his neck from the bench and yelled at him that he had been 'F---ed up' by opposing hitters;" that after a game against Elon, Heath screamed at the pitchers on the bus and kicked a cooler; and that he made players run excessively, made fun of players' health issues in front of other players and created a "toxic program" players did not want to be a part of.
The lawsuit claims that the allegations from the investigation were not witness statements, were not signed, and were not taken under oath.
"The investigation by instituted by Defendant Roberts was designed for one purpose only: to end the tenure of Plaintiff (Heath) as head coach in bad faith, no matter the cost, not to uncover the veracity of the allegations of misconduct," the suit states.
Heath also claims that he was not given a chance to speak with McConnell about the allegations or to confront the alleged witnesses to the incidents.
On June 30, McConnell submitted his decision to terminate Heath's contract for "just cause," meaning the coach wouldn't be owed any of the money from the three years left on his deal, which totaled more than $400,000.
Heath is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, a declaratory judgment that the school has violated his due process rights, all reasonable attorney's fees and other relief deemed proper.
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