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Former SBU Coach Denies Wrongdoing

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Fired St. Bonaventure basketball coach Jan Van Breda Kolff broke seven weeks of silence Tuesday and denied wrongdoing in the scandal involving the university's men's basketball program.

Van Breda Kolff says he was "wrongfully terminated" by those who want to "shift blame" for the scandal. The program fell into disarray in late February when it was discovered that Jamil Terrell was academically ineligible.

St. Bonaventure had to forfeit six wins in the Atlantic Ten and was barred from the conference post-season tournament. Then, the players refused to play the final two games of the season.

Speaking at a news conference at a Cheektowaga hotel, Van Breda Kolff claimed he was kept out of the loop when it came to Terrell's eligibility.

"If I was privy to that information, and somebody came to me and said we have a major problem, then it would have been an opportunity for me to clear this up, once and for all, take it to the NCAA, and get closure on this situation," van Breda Kolff said.

Van Breda Kolff shed some light on the controversial decision by the players to boycott their last two games. He said he continually tried to convince them to play and revealed for the first time that the players were willing to reverse their decision and play the final game against Dayton. But he was told by Atlantic Ten officials that it was too late.

Van Breda Kolff is owed $950,000 for the remaining four years of his contract and hinted he's ready to go to court to get it.

"Rest assured that I intend to aggressively fight the wrongful destruction of my reputation, the wrongful discharge from my position, the breach of my employment contract and the resulting damages to me," van Breda Kolff said.

St. Bonaventure spokesman David Ferguson said the university is confident of its position and will vigorously defend itself against any action from the former coach.

"The review committee did a thorough investigation. They interviewed 21 people. They collected 1,000 pages of documentation," Ferguson said.

"They concluded, along with the university that Mr. van Breda Kolff violated terms of his contract and NCAA rules. We took what we thought was appropriate action."

Ferguson said the university has admitted its mistakes and apologized, and the coach hasn't.