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Statement: GCU ‘surprised’ to learn of fired coach Dan Majerle’s lawsuit

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Grand Canyon University said in a statement released Tuesday morning that it “was surprised to learn through members of the media” that former head men’s basketball coach Dan Majerle decided to sue the school for firing him unexpectedly in March.

“Rather than serving the university with a copy of his complaint, Coach Majerle appears instead to have provided copies of his complaint to members of the media,” the statement read.

Court documents obtained by Arizona Sports on Monday show Majerle is suing GCU for three causes of action, including breach of contract. It claims the school has “begun a campaign to disparage Majerle as part of its effort to avoid its severance obligation.”

GCU replaced Majerle with former Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew, who went 164-108 as a college head coach at Valparaiso (2011-16) and Vanderbilt (2016-19).

“The university hired Coach Majerle when he had no prior head coaching experience and no college coaching experience with the greatest hope and belief that he would lead the men’s basketball program for 20-plus years,” GCU’s statement read. “The university financially supported Coach Majerle and the men’s basketball program at the highest level during his seven-year tenure and wanted nothing but the best for him and the program.

“We regret that Coach Majerle’s tenure had to end the way it did, but the university is prepared to defend itself and its decision if necessary should Coach Majerle decide to continue with litigation. GCU is unable to comment further until such time as it receives a copy of Coach Majerle’s complaint and has an opportunity to review his allegations.”

The coach said he only received positive reviews from the school during his tenure and disputes there was “cause” given for his firing.

Majerle spent seven seasons coaching the Antelopes, leading them to a record of 136-89. This past season, GCU was 13-17, the first time one of Majerle’s team finished under .500. His contract ran through 2022-23.