BATON ROUGE, La. – Grambling State coach Doug Williams sued the school on Friday claiming the school reneged on contract promises and now is trying to pressure him to sign a reduced deal on a “take it or leave it” basis.
The state court suit says that Williams agreed in February 2011 to a contract that included a guaranteed salary and performance bonuses following negotiations with Grambling President Frank Pogue.
But, it said, the University of Louisiana System governing board never voted on the contract as required by law, and Pogue told Williams last summer that “there was a problem with his contract being approved.” Pogue suggested renegotiation, which Williams rejected, the suit said.
“By this time, he had quit his previous job, sold his home, moved his family to Louisiana and was actively working as the Grambling head football coach,” the suit said.
The suit said Williams and his staff were not paid promised bonuses for winning the 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship, and Williams has been told that the money will be paid if he signs a reduced contract.
“A series of new contracts have been presented to Williams in which his pay is lower, bonuses are dropped and additional onerous provisions have been inserted,” the suit said. “He has been told to ‘take it or leave it.’ “
The suit also alleges that similar “bait and switch” tactics have been used on other Grambling employees.
The suit, which names Grambling, the UL System and Pogue as defendants, asks for damages equal to what Williams would have earned under his unapproved contract, plus punitive damages.
In a statement, UL System President Randy Moffett said the university and the system had been negotiating in good faith with Williams for almost a year.
“We have offered him one of the highest salary and incentive compensation packages in Grambling’s conference,” Moffett said. “We believe that we did everything possible to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement without compromising the University’s academic core.”
Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Williams is in his second stint as Grambling’s head coach. He succeeded the legendary Eddie Robinson at his alma matter, coaching from 1998 through 2003 and winning three consecutive SWAC championships. Before returning to Grambling in 2011, he was general manager of the Virginia franchise in the United Football League.
Williams was the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl. He won the most valuable player award of the 1988 Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins, who beat the Denver Broncos 42-10.
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