Dan Majerle Files Suit Against GCU After Termination
“Thunder” Dan Majerle was a high-profile NBA star and an Olympic medalist who brought celebrity and prestige to GCU.
Until now, it was widely believed that for-profit universities only screwed students.
Phoenix, AZ- Sometimes you find a mismatch for which words cannot adequately describe. For-profit Grand Canyon University, in Phoenix Arizona, managed to entice former NBA Phoenix Suns basketball star and Dream Team member Dan Majerle to become head coach of its “un-heard-of” Antelopes basketball team.
Like a 98-pound, pimply geek marrying an international supermodel, most people asked themselves: how could Majerle partner with such a program? According to Wikipedia, GCU graduates just 33% of an estimated 90,000 actively enrolled students.
In short order, Majerle miraculously made the ‘Lopes relevant. They entered major venues and started taking down legitimate basketball teams including the Mountain West’s own Boise State, UNLV, and San Diego State.
Like so many students who are “soaked on the way in and blow-dried on the way out” by for-profit universities, maybe Majerle believed the university held more prestige than it actually did. Hindsight is 20-20.
Majerle is now striking back at GCU after the school stunningly fired him in March following his seventh season as the school’s head coach. Majerle is suing for the money he is apparently owed according to his contract. The lawsuit alleges in part that Grand Canyon has waged a “campaign to disparage Majerle as part of its effort to avoid its severance obligation” and is creating “false and pretextual reasons” for Majerle’s firing, according to the report.
While it isn’t exactly out of character for a for-profit university to convince trusting individuals to make major commitments with questionable returns, at least Majerle has the benefit of resources to plead his case.
Grand Canyon released a statement to media outlets Tuesday saying the university is “prepared to defend itself and its decision if necessary should Coach Majerle decide to continue with litigation.”
It’s imaginable that the negative press from battling an NBA superstar and USA Olympic Dream Team medalist, whose celebrity brought the Antelopes relevance, may not bode well for the university.
Majerle compiled a respectable 136-89 record and had a stretch of four straight 20-win seasons at GCU. This past season, the Antelopes had a losing 13-17 record after being picked to finish second in the WAC by the league’s coaches in a preseason poll.
The university replaced Majerle with former Valparaiso and Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew.