Ex-Penn State fencing coach plans federal lawsuit against university

The longtime Penn State fencing coach who was fired over an alleged violation of a university retaliation policy, and who has fought unsuccessfully for his job back, will file a federal lawsuit Thursday in Philadelphia, his attorney said.

Emmanuil Kaidanov intends to file the lawsuit against Penn State, athletics director Dave Joyner and athletics integrity officer Julie Del Giorno, said lawyer Alvin de Levie, who is representing the former coach.

The suit seeks to have Kaidanov reinstated as head coach and for him to receive punitive and compensatory damages, including back pay, de Levie said.

A Penn State human resources officer in October, weighing a grievance Kaidanov had filed, upheld the university’s decision to terminate the coach.

Kaidanov continues to dispute his firing, which came after he confronted a secretary who made a report to a Penn State hotline that she thought she saw a fencer with a marijuana cigarette.

The policy Penn State cited in taking action pertains to retaliating against a whistle-blower.

The coach approached the secretary and asked why she didn’t come to him, but Kaidanov did not know the report was made anonymously.

The fencer who was the subject of the report voluntarily took a drug test and passed it.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said Tuesday that the university had not been made aware of the potential lawsuit.

The university has declined to comment on the Kaidanov situation because it is a confidential personnel matter.

Kaidanov was set to enter his 32nd season at Penn State before he was fired.

At a news conference after her coach’s firing, a women’s fencing team member came forward to say she was the one who had been reported by the secretary.

Kane Gladnick said Kaidanov was standing up for her, and that his dismissal has upset her.

“I love Penn State, and I love going to school here, but reckless accusations of a university employee not only could have affected my future forever but also led to the firing of a great coach,” she said, according to one report.

Kaidanov’s Penn State teams compiled a 795-77 record during his tenure, winning 12 NCAA titles and finishing second nine times.

His last team national championship came in 2010. The Nittany Lions finished third last season with eight individuals earning All-American honors