WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The University of Hartford announced that men’s basketball coach John Gallagher announced his resignation on Monday.
In his resignation letter, Gallagher said the university has “consistently and repeatedly” undermined the men’s basketball team. His resignation comes the day before the team’s first game of the season.
In his resignation letter, Gallagher said, “As I have communicated on numerous occasions, both directly and through my counsel, the University of Hartford has not only breached the material terms of my contract but has consistently and repeatedly undermined the Men’s basketball program to the point where player safety and well-being has been jeopardized.”
He continued saying, “Less than two years after the team proudly represented the University in the NCAA tournament, the program has experienced an exodus of its best players to other programs, the removal of its scholarships, and has been increasingly stripped of critical resources necessary to protect our Student-Athletes. Just this week, Sports Illustrated ranked the University of Hartford as dead last among the 363 NCAA Division I programs, and expressly noted that the University had “kneecapped” the program by removing scholarships. What Sports Illustrated may not know is that the elimination of scholarships is just the tip of the iceberg.”
In 2021, the university announced its decision to downgrade from Division I to Division III to save money and place more focus on academics.
Following the downgrade, current and alumni student-athletes of the university filed a lawsuit to stop the school from downgrading to Division III.
Gallagher told News 8 that the university also refused to send an athletic trainer with the team to Dartmouth for a closed scrimmage last week.
“You’re telling me we can’t get treatment on the bus,” he said. “We have a three-hour bus ride. We get home, and there’s nobody there to give us ice. The training room is locked. I had enough of it.”
While he said the university “built a winner,” it was “deteriorating.”
The University released a statement following Gallagher’s resignation saying, “First and foremost, the safety of our students is our top priority. The University confirmed Dartmouth College would have an athletic trainer on site for our recent scrimmage, who could assist both UHart and Dartmouth student-athletes. This is an institution with highly qualified medical staff and facilities. Additionally, other members of our staff have always had a University-sponsored credit card for planned meals and expenses. Mr. Gallagher’s resignation letter is full of inaccuracies. We are confident that these baseless claims and attacks will be disproved through the legal process. We wish Mr. Gallagher well and look forward to announcing interim leadership for our men’s basketball program.”