Former TSU coach sues university

Friday, November 13, 2009 at 2:16pm

Former men’s basketball coach Cy Alexander has filed a lawsuit against Tennessee State University seeking payment he says he is due under the terms of his contract.

Alexander claims the university owes him at least $325,200 in salary and at least $15,008.64 in leave pay. He says he has not been paid since April 16, 2009, shortly after he was fired.

The suit was filed Thursday with the Tennessee Claims Commission.

On July 18, 2006, Alexander signed a contract extension through the 2010-11 season.

Under the terms of that contract he was scheduled to receive $162,600 in salary for 2008-09 and “any across-the-board raise approved by the general assembly” in each of the next two years. The contract also contained a clause that stated that if Alexander was fired without cause he was entitled to his monthly salary for “the remaining term of his agreement or two (2) years, whichever is earlier.”

Alexander further claims that he has honored the terms of his contract, including “diligent efforts to obtain and accept employment.”

Alexander had a 67-107 overall record (48-56 in the Ohio Valley Conference) in nearly six full seasons as the Tigers’ coach. He was relieved of his coaching duties on Feb. 6 and, according to the lawsuit, was fired in early April.

Mark Pittman, an assistant coach under Alexander, served as interim coach for the remainder of the 2008-09 season. John Cooper was hired as head coach in March.

The season before Alexander was hired, TSU went 2-25 (0-16 in the OVC) under three coaches, Nolan Richardson III, Hosea Lewis and director of athletics Teresa Phillips. The latter attracted national attention when she became the first woman to coach a major college men’s team.

Alexander won seven games in his first season. He was given the extension after his 2005-06 team went 13-15 overall, 11-9 in the OVC. TSU reached the championship game of the conference tournament in his final full season.

Attorneys Steven E. Anderson and Emily B. Warth of Walker, Tipps & Malone in Nashville filed the lawsuit on behalf of Alexander.

Attempts to reach TSU representatives today for comment have been unsuccessful.