Tubby Smith, U of M must pay $1 million to Jimmy Williams

The University of Minnesota and head Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith are on the hook for $1 million in a legal battle now four years in the making with would-be assistant coach Jimmy Williams.

In a judgement released Monday morning, an appellate judge affirmed that Smith misrepresented his authority by offering Williams an assistant coach position at the U of M in 2007 without clearance from higher ups.

After Williams resigned from his coaching job at Oklahoma State, his role in several "major" NCAA violations came to light. The U took back it's offer, so Williams sued.

According to the judge, this is how it happened:

In Spring of 2007, shortly after being hired by the U of M, Smith called Williams and offered him the job. Smith and Williams had several long conversations about the position, even discussing salary parameters. Williams ultimately accepted the job, and told his boss at Oklahoma State he planned to leave.

Soon after, a university administrator approached Joel Maturi, the U of M athletics director, with some worries about the hire. Williams had worked at the U of M years earlier and committed some "major" NCAA violations, according to this administrator.

After discovering that Williams put the U of M on probation twice, Maturi nixed the hire. Williams found out on April 8, 2007, and quickly starting planning the lawsuit.

From the ruling:

Thereafter, Williams interviewed for assistant-coaching positions at Florida State University and at Kentucky. Williams was not hired for either position because, in his opinion, he disclosed his intent to sue Minnesota during his interviews.

Williams decided against trying to return to Oklahoma State and also passed on applying for at least one other assistant-coaching position. To this day, Williams has not returned to coaching in college basketball.

Last year, the U of M and Smith lost their case against Williams and were ordered to pay $1.25 million, which was later reduced to $1 million.

The ruling today rejects arguments from the U and Smith asking that the $1 million be thrown out and they be granted a new trial.

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