RAVENNA, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that Kent State University was awarded $1.2 million after its former head men's basketball coach left to coach at Bradley University.
On Friday, Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow granted DeWine's and Kent State's request for judgment against Gene Ford for allegedly breaching his employment contract. Enlow ruled that Ford did breach his contract and awarded damages of $1.2 million to the university.
Pursuant to a court order, Ford must pay Kent State $1.2 million in damages as calculated in the contract's liquidated damages provision.
"Ohio's public colleges and universities have a duty to students and taxpayers to be wise stewards of tuition and taxpayer moneys," DeWine said in a statement. "When coaches and high-profile employees leave public universities in breach of their contracts, the state of Ohio has an obligation to seek the compensation to which it is entitled. I am pleased that the court has awarded the damages due to Kent State."
The liquidated damages provision of the contract stated that if Ford terminated his employment or resigned, the university would be entitled to liquidated damages equal to the balance of Ford's annual salary due for the rest of his contract term.
In April 2008, Kent State hired Ford as its head men's basketball coach for a five-year term at $200,000 per year.
In April 2010, Kent State and Ford agreed to a new contract extension through the end of the 2014-15 season and a salary increase to $300,000.
In March 2011, Ford agreed to become the Peoria, Ill.-based Bradley University's head men's basketball coach.
Kent State filed suit against Ford and Bradley University a month later.
Kent State continues to pursue claims against Bradley University for allegedly engaging in tortious interference with Kent State and Ford's contractual relationship.
A trial is set in the case against Bradley University on Oct. 7.