After years of legal tussling, the College of Charleston has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with former baseball coach Matt Heath on Friday to the tune of $350,000.
Heath had alleged that he was terminated by AD Matt Roberts to make way for Chad Holbrook, the former head coach at the University of South Carolina and a close friend of Roberts. Holbrook was indeed hired by Roberts in July 2017, following Heath’s firing in late June of that same year.
As the Post & Courier reports, Roberts at the time claimed that Heath had been fired for “just cause” related to allegations of physical and verbal abuse of his players. Heath denied those allegations, and filed his wrongful termination suit in July 2017.
The case had a brief resolution, when in October both parties signed onto a settlement agreement that would have paid Heath $166,000 — but the case was reopened shortly thereafter when a forensic expert turned up text communications between Holbrook and his father that seemed to contradict testimony given by Roberts.
The text messages seem to describe a plan to bring Holbrook on as coach while Heath was still nominally in charge of the program. Holbrook had been forced to resign from his post at South Carolina in early June 2017. An internal investigation into Heath was launched around that same time, and concluded with several misconduct allegations against Heath weeks later.
The original lawsuit alleged that the investigation had been “designed for one purpose only, to end Heath’s tenure as head coach in bad faith.” Heath claimed in a written response objecting to the investigation’s findings that he had not been given a chance to provide evidence or witnesses at a hearing, and that the report the investigation produced was “biased.”
Heath has since moved on to be an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee-Martin.