Former Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the university and is seeking in excess of $7 million in damages stemming from his dismissal last year.
Dawkins is owed approximately $2.3 million in direct damages and is seeking “punitive and exemplary damages of not less than $5 million for the tortious ingredients of its wrongdoing,” according to the complaint filed Monday in Santa Clara Superior Court.
Dawkins was fired without cause in March 2016 after failing to reach the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons. Soon after, he was hired by Central Florida.
The mitigation clause in his Stanford contract — what the school would owe Dawkins (after termination) if he was hired elsewhere — is at the heart of his complaint.
According to court documents, Dawkins agreed to release any claims against Stanford upon his dismissal in exchange for the university dropping the mitigation provision in his contract. The school also agreed to pay Dawkins $2.3 million.
Subsequently, the documents state, Stanford said it was, in fact, entitled to withhold Dawkins’ compensation from UCF from the amount owed to him under the terms of the buyout agreement.
Dawkins’ attorney, Allen Ruby, who used to represent Barry Bonds, did not respond to a request for comment.
Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir was not immediately available for comment.