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Former assistant athletic director sues WVU

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The former assistant athletic director of football operations for West Virginia University filed a lawsuit against the school, saying he was fired because of his age.

Mike Kerin, who served as part of the Mountaineers football staff for more than 30 years, filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court on Friday, claiming the state Human Rights Act had been violated.

Kerin announced his retirement in August 2011, when Dana Holgorsen took over as head football coach for Bill Stewart.

Kerin claims after his termination he was replaced by "much younger" employees, who didn't meet the minimum qualifications his position required, the complaint states.

The case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom. Kerin has requested a jury trial. Susan Van Zant, an attorney in Williamson, is representing him. She did not return a phone call Monday.

The lawsuit names the school's Board of Governors, school President Jim Clements, Holgorsen and director of athletics Oliver Luck.

"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 young employees," the complaint states.

Kerin, who came to the school with former coach Don Nehlen in 1980, spent eight years as equipment manager, was named administrative assistant in 1988, director of football operations in 1998 and to assistant athletic director of football in 2008.

According to information on the school's website, Kerin was "instrumental in a number of special projects, such as the turf removal and installation at Mountaineer Field in 1997, 2002 and 2007, the construction of the indoor practice facility in 1998, coordinating the 1998 Pittsburgh Steelers preseason exhibition game, working with the Varsity Club on lettermen's events and the recent locker room renovation at the Puskar Center."

Kerin, a Colorado native, received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Colorado in 1977, the school's website states.

After announcing his retirement two years ago, Kerin told the Times West Virginian that Luck wouldn't renew his contract.

"I decided now was the time because [Luck] didn't renew my contract, so my future was uncertain. An offer became available, and it was something I was interested in, and I made the decision to go," he told the newspaper.

Kerin now works as the operations director at Mylan Park, an event venue in Morgantown not affiliated with the school. He was not at work on Monday, a woman who answered the phone said, and didn't return a phone call made to his home number.

Becky Lofstead, a spokeswoman for the school, said no comment would be made on pending litigation. Reach Kate White at 304-348-1723 or kate.white@wvgazette.com.


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