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Ex-assistant coach claims he was wrongly dismissed by UDM officials

VN Co-Editor

Published: Friday, December 7, 2012

Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 00:12

Former assistant men’s basketball coach Carlos Briggs is claiming that he was improperly fired by the University of Detroit Mercy after disclosing misconduct by others.

Briggs, 49, who was in sixth season as a Titan assistant coach, made his charges in a statement he released to the media this week. 

Briggs said he was fired on Nov. 1, one day after athletic director Keri Gaither and men’s basketball assistant Derek Thomas abruptly resigned their positions. The resignations were announced within a matter of hours.

“On Nov. 1 the university wrongfully fired me in an effort to cover up the misconduct of others in the athletic department, which I had disclosed in detail after voluntarily coming forward in August,” Briggs said in the statement.

He did not elaborate on “the misconduct.”

Identifying him only by description, Briggs also brought head coach Ray McCallum into the controversy. Briggs said the information “had been known to my direct superior for months because the two of us had discussed the information at great length on numerous occasions including in staff meetings during the 2011-12 season.”

Briggs said that after he reported the misconduct anonymously online, university officials asked him to come forward for an in-person meeting.

“I did so and was reassured by university personnel face-to-face that I would be protected from harassment and retaliation,” he said.

However, Briggs charged that the athletic director learned he was the one who came forward and “harassed me in retaliation.”

Gaither and Thomas have not spoken to media since their resignations, and university officials have also declined to comment. UDM spokesman Gary Lichtman told the Detroit Free Press that he wasn’t at liberty to speak about personnel matters.

Briggs contended that another athletic department “began slandering me to the press and members of the alumni body. I asked the consultant to stop mentioning my name to others. The athletic director then in further harassment and retaliation against me wrote to the president and my direct superior libeling me by falsely accusing me of threatening the media consultant.”

The UDM whistle-blower policy, which was revised earlier this year in the wake of the Penn State scandal, says, “Employees may report suspected non-compliance issues without fear of reprisal or retaliation. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.”

Even though he claims he was fired on Nov. 1, Briggs’s name was only removed from the UDM website on Wednesday.

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