A former Penn State football coach has countered the university’s lawsuit against him with claims of his own.
Former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has responded to the university’s case seeking almost $900,000 in damages with his own claims of breach of contract and pursuit of more than $75,000 from Penn State.
In documents filed Thursday, Shoop answered allegations raised in the university’s lawsuit claiming he broke his contract and did not pay the buyout.
“It is admitted that Mr. Shoop has not made any payment and, through counsel, has indicated a refusal to make such payment,” Shoop’s attorneys wrote.
They listed 16 reasons for that decision, including that the contract was “unenforceable,” “unreasonable,” penalized Shoop, was signed under duress and that his “working conditions with Penn State were intolerable,” essentially forcing him to leave.
In a counterclaim, Shoop alleged the university committed breach of contract for not paying the last month of his salary after he left due to a “hostile, negative work environment.”
Shoop’s lawyers say he was “constructively discharged/terminated from or forced or compelled to leave his employment with Penn State” on Jan. 10, 2016. He left Penn State for the University of Tennessee, where he serves as the Volunteers’ defensive coordinator.
His contract ran until February 2018, but a “termination without cause” provision quoted said he could be entitled to a prorated amount for the remainder of the year’s period ending February 2016.
The university first filed notice of the suit in April in Centre County, following up with a complaint a month ago. On June 30, the case was removed to federal court.
“Under the terms of his employment contract with Penn State, coach Shoop is obligated to make a liquidated damages payment to the university resulting from the termination by coach Shoop of his employment prior to the end of the contract term. We are filing suit against him to recover this mutually agreed upon amount,” Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson said when asked for comment.