Explosive allegations in complaint against ex-UA coach Rich Rodriguez
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The University of Arizona fired football coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday, Jan. 2, a week after a notice of claim was filed with the state attorney general's office alleging he ran a hostile workplace.
According to the Associated Press, the claim was filed Dec. 28 by a former employee. A notice of claim is a legal document that signals a lawsuit will be filed.
In October, the University's Office of Institutional Equity retained outside counsel to investigate the allegations.
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That investigation, which concluded last week, did not find enough to fire Rodriguez, but the university said it became concerned with the "climate and direction" of the program.
"The University initiated a thorough outside investigation," Rodriguez said in a statement made on Twitter. "I full cooperated with the investigation, including voluntarily taking and passing a polygraph. The University determined that there was no truth to her accusations and found me innocent of any wrongdoing."
Tucson News Now received a copy of the notice of claim on Wednesday. You can read it HERE or at the bottom of this story.
The complaint was filed by Melissa Wilhelmsen, Rodriguez's former administrative assistant, and she is seeking a $7.5 million settlement.
On Tuesday night, after he had been fired, Rodriguez admitted in a tweet that one piece of the complaint is true -- he had an affair.
"I had a consensual extramarital affair with a woman who is not affiliated with the University," he said. "It was wrong, and I have apologized to my wife and family. I am still working incredibly hard to repair the bonds I've broken and regain the trust of my wife and children, whom I love dearly."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Below are some excerpts from the complaint. Some of it includes explicit content. We are naming the former employee because the documents are public record.
Wilhelmsen worked for former football coach Mike Stoops, who was fired in 2011.
Wilhelmsen said she will testify under Stoops "sexual harassment was not tolerated" and his attitude of zero tolerance "permeated through the football program."
Wilhelmsen claims Rodriguez wrote a secret book each year for coaches and football operations employees.
She said the purpose of the book "establish secrecy within Rodriguez's inner circle and establish complete control of the group."
In the complaint, Wilhelmsen claims former assistant coach Charlie Ragle, former staff analyst Miguel Reveles and herself were referred to as the "Triangle of Secrecy."
Wilhelmsen said the group was forced to lie for Rodriguez's wife to cover up for his indiscretions.
She also claimed the three were coerced to protect Rodriguez's image.
In the complaint, Wilhelmsen said she was "forced to walk on eggs shells at work" because of Rodriguez's volatility and power over the department.
Wilhelmsen claims football players sent her "screen shots of their genitalia and illicit overtures via text."
Wilhelmsen said she asked Rodriguez to do something about it, but claims he ignored her.
Wilhelmsen said Rodriguez's daughter saw her dad had received the text "I Love You" on his iPad.
Rodriguez's daughter then confronted her dad about the text.
Wilhelmsen claims the text was from Rodriguez girlfriend.
According to the complaint, Wilhelmsen was forced to lie to Rodriguez's daughter about the text.
Wilhelmsen said Rodriguez asked her to get a sideline pass for a game and the pass went to his girlfriend.
Wilhelmsen claims the problem was Rodriguez's wife was also on the sidelines for the game.
According to the complaint, Wilhelmsen was forced to keep the two apart to avoid a confrontation.
Wilhelmsen said when she told Rodriguez about "how upsetting it was to be placed in that situation," he just laughed it off.
Wilhelmsen said Rodriguez tried to kiss her once, attempted to start a relationship with her, drove a wedge between her and her new husband and made crude comments in front of her.
Arizona Wildcats center Zach Hemmila died in his sleep in August 2016.
According to an autopsy report from the Pima County Sheriff's Office, Hemmila died from the toxic result of two prescription drugs.
The drugs named were an opiate painkiller and alprazolam.
In the notice of claims, Wilhelmsen claims Rodriguez's "demand for secrecy included doing nothing for a player that needed help."
Wilhelmsen said former assistant coach Matt Dudek knew Hemmila had a problem. She claims the night before Hemmila was found dead, former assistant Dudek took Hemmila to Rodriguez to get him some help because he thought there was something wrong with Hemmila.
According to Wilhelmsen, Rodriguez did nothing and said "he'll be fine."
Wilhelmsen said Rodriguez went to La Paloma for a massage in November 2016.
She said the school received a complaint from La Paloma accusing Rodriguez of making sexual advances towards the woman who massaged him.
Wilhelmsen claimed that due to Rodriguez's demand for secrecy, the complaint never made it to the university.
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