Penn State is suing former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop for nearly $900,000 after his alleged refusal to pay the university a buyout for breaking his contract early, according to Centre County court documents filed in June.
Shoop’s contract with the Nittany Lions’ football team ran through Feb. 15, 2018, but he resigned in January 2016 to become the coordinator at Tennessee. According to his contract, and in the complaint filed by Penn State, Shoop is required to pay the university half of his base salary for any remaining term if he chose to leave early.
In this case, that happens to amount to $891,856.
The case was moved out of Centre County to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday, according to PennLive.
Penn State released the following statement Tuesday morning: “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.”
At the time of Shoop’s departure, it was widely known that James Franklin’s longtime assistant was responsible for his own buyout. Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart even acknowledged Shoop was handling his own buyout — and how that was a statement about how badly he wanted the Volunteers’ job.
“(I)t’s a very, very loud statement about how bad Bob wanted to be a part of what is going on here in our football program,” Hart told GoVols247. “He was willing to handle that, and we were able to move forward then in a very rapid fashion to try to get something, which we were able to do.”
Shoop’s defense at Penn State ranked No. 2 in 2014 and No. 14 in 2015. In 2016, however, Shoop’s Tennessee defense ranked No. 95 — while the Nittany Lions, with Brent Pry moving up to the vacated role, finished No. 37 in total defense.
Penn State won the Big Ten championship last season and earned an appearance in the Rose Bowl. Tennessee finished tied for fifth in the SEC and played in the Music City Bowl.
Shoop declined to comment through a Tennessee spokesperson.