The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 26, 2013

Kerin files age-discrimination lawsuit

MORGANTOWN — Mike Kerin, who rose from equipment manager to assistant athletic director of football operations for West Virginia University, filed an age-discrimination suit against the school claiming he was dismissed two years ago because of his age.

It is the second lawsuit filed against the school and its athletic department in recent days, following one filed by Morgantown businessman John Raese. Raese’s suit against a number of top officials at the school, as well as a media company that competes with his own, involved the bidding of Tier 3 media rights and the awarding of a contract for new scoreboards in Milan Puskar Stadium and the Coliseum, as well as charging collusion between WVU and West Virginia Media.

Kerin’s age-discrimination suit was filed by Williamson attorney Susan Van Zant in Kanawha County Circuit Court on Friday and claimed the state Human Rights Act.

It names the board of governors, school President Jim Clements, football coach Dana Holgorsen and director of athletics Oliver Luck.

“The defendants acted in a pattern of discriminatory conduct by terminating the employment of experienced employees in the Athletic Department of West Virginia University by replacing the older employees with young employees,” the complaint states.

After 30 years with the school, Kerin announced his retirement in August 2011 following the dismissal of football coach Bill Stewart and the promotion of Holgorsen to head coach.

However, Kerin left no doubt that his retirement had been forced, stating in a Times West Virginian article, “I decided now was the time because (Luck) didn’t renew my contract, so my future was uncertain. An offer became available, and it was something I was interested in, and I made the decision to go.”

Kerin was replaced by Alex Hammond, a younger man who was promoted from recruiting coordinator to director of football operations. He had held no similar positions in his background.

Kerin, a Colorado native and one-time University of Colorado football player, came to WVU 1980 with coach Don Nehlen, first as equipment manager, then as administrative assistant in 1988 and director of football operations a decade later.

In 2008 he added the title of assistant athletic director of football.

After leaving WVU, Kerin took over as operations director at Mylan Park in Morgantown. Reached at work Tuesday, he refused comment.

Becky Lofstead, a spokeswoman for the school, said no comment would be made on pending litigation.

WVU has 20 days to respond to the suit.

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