Ex-Beilein Attorney Urges Diplomacy In WVU-Rodriguez Rift

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

With tensions running high over the departure of West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez, at least one person is urging both sides to behave diplomatically.

Wheeling attorney Bob Fitzsimmons represented basketball coach John Beilein when he left for Michigan. Fitzsimmons successfully negotiated an alternative to a $2.5 million buyout clause in Beilein's contract.

Rodriguez's contract has a $4 million buyout that the university intends to hold him to.

It's unclear if Rodriguez will try to challenge that. Fitzsimmons doesn't represent Rodriguez, but he says claims and counterclaims could create more ill will for a state that's already had too much.

After the Mountaineers' 13-9 loss to Pitt, angry messages were posted online about coaches and players. Since Rodriguez resigned, he's been vilified by airport hecklers, online message-board posters and columnists.

Fitzsimmons says he knows WVU can handle such talks quietly and out of the headlines, and he hopes Rodriguez's people will do the same.

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