Mark Morris is bringing out the heavy hitters as he builds his breach of contracts case against Clarkson University. Former Vermont coach Mike Gilligan and current Michigan State coach Rick Comley are being brought in to testify on his behalf, according to a report in today’s Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times.
Morris was fired last fall after 15 seasons as the Golden Knights head coach, in the aftermath of an alleged physical confrontation with Clarkson player Zach Schwan during a post-practice 3-on-3 session.
Morris is suing Clarkson for $15 million, saying he was wrongly fired.
Gilligan and Comley will brought in “so the jury can get a sense of what a hockey coach’s duties and responsibilities are and that this is hockey, not synchronized swimming,” said Morris’ attorney, Jack Piasecki, to the Daily Times.
Syracuse, N.Y., attorney James McGowan, who represents Clarkson, has asked the court judge to bar Gilligan and Comley from testifying.
“It is a procedural motion based on what experts are permitted to testify to. They should not be permitted to call them,” said McGowan to the Daily Times.
The trial is scheduled to begin in New York state Supreme Court in Canton on Aug. 4.
Morris was accused by the school of using his stick to flip Schwan’s helmet off, putting his stick between his legs, and shouting obscenities at him. Clarkson said he was fired for his actions, and for his refusal to cooperate with an investigation.
Clarkson has also used George Washington University law professor Jack Friedenthal in its defense for his expertise on NCAA rules. Friedenthal said in June that Clarkson’s actions are “well within the scope of potential punishments” for Morris.
Friedenthal was on the NCAA Division I infractions committee from 1992 to 2001.