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Former WVU athletics staffer files discrimination suit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A longtime, former WVU football staff member whose contract was not renewed under Dana Holgorson is now saying he was a victim of age discrimination.

Mike Kerin filed a lawsuit this week in Kanawha Circuit Court, alleging that he was terminated in August 2011 from his position as director of football operations and a younger and less experienced person was hired to do his job.

Kerin was hired in 1980 under Coach Don Nehlen as an equipment manager. Eight years later he became administrative assistant and in 1998 was made director of football operations.

He was named College Football Operations Director of the Year in 2010. But WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck declined to renew Kerin's contract when staff changes were made shortly after that under Holgorson.

Recruiting director Alex Hammond was tapped to move into Kerin's job.

At the time, a Times-West Virginia columnist quoted Kerin as saying, "Hey, it's the nature of the beast." He said he didn't agree with the decision, but understood it.

The lawsuit was filed by Kerin and his wife, Kathy, who live in Morgantown, against the WVU Board of Governors, WVU President James Clements, Holgorson and Luck.

According to the complaint, Kerin contends the defendants "acted in a pattern of discriminatory conduct by terminating the employment of experienced employees in the Athletic Department of West Virginia University by replacing the older employees with younger employees."

He alleges he was replaced by "employees who were much younger and who did not meet the minimum qualifications his position required as set forth in his job description."

See also: Mike Casazza's WVU Sports blog

Kerin says his termination was based, in whole or part, on his age and the action was in violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act. He believes that as a result he has suffered lost wages and embarrassment. 

"As a direct and proximate result of the defendants' actions, plaintiff is entitled to damages for indignity, embarrassment and humiliation in an amount to be determined by a jury," the lawsuit says.

Kerin has called the action "willful and malicious" and is also asking for punitive damages.

After he left WVU, Kerin became director of Mylan Park, a non-profit community recreational facility.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.  Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cherylc@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.


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