John Gallagher, UHart reach contract settlement to end legal wrangling

Former UHart men’s basketball coach John Gallagher reached a settlement with the school Thursday regarding the final year of his contract. All legal matters between Gallagher and UHart are now resolved.

“The University of Hartford and John Gallagher have reached an agreement that resolves all legal matters,” according to a statement released by both sides. “The terms of the resolution are confidential. Coach Gallagher is grateful for the opportunity the University provided, and for what he and the team accomplished with the basketball program under his tenure. The University of Hartford wishes Coach Gallagher well in his future pursuits.”

Gallagher had no further comment.

The school and its former coach had been at odds for a year and a half, since UHart’s plan to move its athletic program from Division I to Division III was revealed in April 2021, a couple of weeks after Gallagher led the Hawks to the America East title and a blessing in the NCAA Tournament.

Gallagher coached the team last season, finishing 12-20. As this season approached, the school was in transition to Division III, a move that included following D-III rules, such as not allowing coaches and players to work together until mid-October. Meanwhile, cost cutting and staff reductions further affected the program.

Last spring, Gallagher filed a lawsuit against a member of the UHart Board of Regents, David Thompson, alleging Thompson had misled him about the school’s intentions and, as a result, Gallagher had turned down other jobs. Meanwhile, Gallagher and UHart were fighting in arbitration over the terms of his contract, which had performances of bonuses for winning in America East. With the school moving to independent status this year, those clauses became unreachable.

In October, the school was unable to furnish an athletic trainer to accompany the team to a scrimmage at Dartmouth. Gallagher cited safety concerns, and a lack of adequate resources for meals on the road when he resigned Nov. 8. The school said his resignation letter was “full of inaccuracies.”

At stake was the salary Gallagher owed for this final year of his contract. Gallagher’s attorneys reached a settlement agreement with UHart, so the various lawsuits and legal actions will be dropped and he is free to pursue other opportunities to coach in the future.

Gallagher, 45, coached UHart for 12 seasons, going 169-207, including 96-96 in America East play. The Hawks played in the CIT postseason tourney twice, and the trip to Indianapolis, where they lost to eventual national champion Baylor, was the program’s high-water mark. The transition to Division III is ongoing, with plans to join the Commonwealth Coast Conference next season.

Long time assistant uhart-opener-tom-devitt-20221109-20221109-u2mkihob7ra3fiufoc5oyxmbu4-story.html” data-ylk=”slk:Tom Devitt took over the program as interim coach” class=”link “>Tom Devitt took over the program as interim coach. Playing a mix of Division I mid-majors and Division III programs, the Hawks are 4-10.

Dom Amore can be reached at [email protected]

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