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Rich Rodriguez
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez reacts to an officials' ruling during the second half of the New Mexico Bowl NCAA college football game against New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Arizona fired football coach Rich Rodriguez amid sexual harassment claims

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The University of Arizona has fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez following a report he would be the subject of a major lawsuit, according to Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated on Tuesday reported that Arizona decided to oust Rodriguez after learning of information both during and after an investigation of his conduct.

The investigation raised concerns with Arizona officials about the direction of the school’s football program.

“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President [Robert] Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” Dave Heeke, Arizona’s athletic director, said in a statement late Tuesday.

The Arizona Daily Star on Tuesday reported that a notice of claim – which functions as the precursor to a lawsuit – had been filed against Rodriguez last Thursday.

The claim was filed to the Arizona attorney general’s office, and it alleged Rodriguez created hostile work environment.

USA Today on Tuesday reported that an outside law firm had also previously investigated Rodriguez after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Rodriguez was cleared of any misconduct, but a former administrative assistant at Arizona had threatened to file a lawsuit against him.

Sports Illustrated on Tuesday reported it remains unclear whether the former administrative assistant is the same person who filed the notice of claim against Rodriguez last week.

Rodriguez said in a statement shortly after his firing became public that he had fully cooperated with the probe into his behavior.

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The former football coach also admitted he had had an extramarital affair with a woman unaffiliated with Arizona.

Rodriguez contended, however, that his former assistant’s claims were false, and that the lawsuit being filed against him is for $7.5 million.

“I am not a perfect man, but the claims by my former assistant are simply not true and her demands for a financial settlement are outrageous,” he said.

“I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress.”

Arizona finished its most recent season under Rodriguez 7-6, losing four of its final games before 2017 closed.

Rodriguez finishes with a 43-35 record during six seasons in Arizona, including 17 games during his last three years there.

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