Kent State drops lawsuit against Bradley

Rex Santus

Kent State has dropped its lawsuit against Bradley University concerning men’s basketball coach Geno Ford, who ended his career with the Golden Flashes in 2011 to take up the head-coaching position at the Illinois school.

“We’re no longer seeking financial damages from Bradley,” Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said. “We are continuing to seek damages from coach Geno Ford.”

Kent State has already won a $1.2 million judgment against Ford. The university has yet to receive any of that money, however, said David Ochmann, deputy general counsel at Kent State.

The court decision said Ford had no grounds to end his contract, which would have ended in 2015. In 2010, Ford renewed his contract at Kent State after his yearly salary increased to $300,000.

Kent State retains the right to pursue legal action against Bradley for unresolved damages, Ochmann said, because the case was dismissed “without prejudice.”

“Without prejudice means the party — in this case Kent State — reserves the right to refile its claims against Bradley University within one year of the date of the voluntary dismissal,” Ochmann said.

Bradley officials issued statements on the university’s website last week. The trial was scheduled to begin on Oct. 7 in Portage County.

“It is not clear why Kent State used taxpayer dollars to pursue this case against Bradley and then withdrew it less than two weeks before trial,” Bradley attorney Bill Kohlhase said in the statement.

“In my experience, however, plaintiffs do not dismiss a case if they believe they would receive a damage award by going to trial.”

In addition, Bradley athletic director Michael Cross asserted that President Joanne Glasser — and everyone associated with Ford’s hiring — had confidence Bradley was guilty of no wrongdoing.

“Our actions during the hiring of Coach Ford, just like the hiring of all our staff members, were ethical, legal and transparent,” Cross said in the statement. “We are very pleased that Bradley University’s position is effectively supported by this dismissal.”

Kent State hired Geno Ford in April 2008. During his tenure at Kent State, the men’s basketball teams went 68-37, winning two consecutive MAC regular-season titles in 2010 and 2011.

He was the highest-paid basketball coach in the Mid-American Conference.

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected]