Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jeff Van Gundy ‘disappointed’ with how St. John’s handled Mike Anderson’s exit: School should ‘pay him what he’s owed’
By ADAM ZAGORIAJeff Van Gundy is “disappointed” with how St. John’s has handled Mike Anderson’s exit and believes the school should “pay him what he’s owed.”
“I do want to say that St. John’s disappointed me in how they treated Mike Anderson on the way out,” Van Gundy said Tuesday during a conference call to promote the NBA Finals in response to a question from this reporter about new St. John’s coach Rick Pitino.
“It’s one thing to let someone go, that’s your prerogative,” he added. “But to try to trump up some charges so you don’t have to pay him, I think is below them as an institution and I would urge them to rectify that. Pay him what he’s owed and do no denigrate what he accomplished there and the integrity with which he accomplished it with.
“So as happy as I am for Coach [Pitino] and know that he’s going to do great things, I was really disappointed in St. John’s for how they handled Mike Anderson’s exit and firing.”
Anderson was fired earlier this year after his fourth season at St. John’s. He had a winning record in all four seasons, but never made the NCAA Tournament.
Anderson was owed $11.4 million on his contract and sued St. John’s when it did not pay him that amount. Anderson is now seeking $45.6 million, which includes the amount remaining on his contract and an additional $34.2 million in “punitive” damages, per ESPN.
According to ESPN, Anderson was fired for “failure to create and support an environment that strongly encourages student-athletes who are in the men’s basketball program to meet all university academic requirements,” “failure to perform your duties and responsibilities in a manner that reflected positively on St. John’s University … in actions [that] brought serious discredit” to the school and “failure to appropriately supervise and communicate with your assistant coaches.”
Van Gundy was an assistant under Pitino at Providence from 1986-88 and believes he will turn the program around.
“There’s no doubt about his coaching greatness,” he said. “I think like Deion Sanders at Colorado, the complete roster overhaul is unique and these are certainly interesting times in college athletes, but coach Pitino has always figured it out and I have no doubts he’ll figure this out.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.