Former CofC baseball coach settles lawsuit against college

VIDEO: Former CofC baseball coach settles lawsuit against college

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Matt Heath, who was fired as the head baseball coach at the College of Charleston in June 2017, settled a wrongful termination suit against the school, according to sources close to the case.

In the settlement, Heath is receiving a settlement of $350,000, the source said.

The suit also named athletic director Matt Roberts.

The lawsuit stated 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 2017, according to the suit, and was suspended by Roberts without pay.

The suit claimed 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 then-CofC President Glenn 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 claimed 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 stated.

Heath also claimed 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, 2017, 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.

Former South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook was soon hired.

Heath asked 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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