Johnny Dawkins was the head coach at Stanford from 2008-2016 before he was fired and became the head coach at UCF in 2016. Now that he’s been at UCF for over a year, Dawkins is taking the time to sue Stanford for a “breach of contract.”
The lawsuit filed by Dawkins against Stanford is a “breach of contract lawsuit” according to The Mercury News and Dawkins is seeking more than $7 million in damages due to the Cardinal firing him in 2016.
Dawkins believes he is owed around $2.3 million in direct damages along with an extra $5 million for punitive and exemplary damages. Here’s what the complaint said specifically about that $5 million:
“Punitive and exemplary damages of not less than $5 million for the tortious ingredients of its wrongdoing,” according to the complaint filed in Santa Clara Superior Court on Monday.
The former Stanford head coach claims he was fired without cause in March of 2016, despite missing the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons that season. During his eight seasons at Stanford, Dawkins was 156-115 and won the NIT twice, in 2012 and 2015. The only time Dawkins led the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament was during the 2013-2014 season, when they made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen.
Shortly after he was fired by Stanford, Dawkins was hired by Central Florida, where he went 24-12 this past season and led the Knights to the NIT Semifinals.
According to The Mercury News, there is a mitigation clause in Dawkins’ Stanford contract that states how much the school would owe Dawkins if he was hired elsewhere after he was fired. That is the specific clause he is referencing in his lawsuit.
However, and this is where things get tricky, according to court documents, Dawkins had agreed to “release any claims against Stanford upon his dismissal in exchange for the university dropping the mitigation provision in his contract.” In doing that, Stanford agreed to pay Dawkins $2.3 million.
Neither Allen Ruby (Dawkins’ attorney) or Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir commented to The Mercury News about the lawsuit.