Former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez termed the latest allegations against him as “absolutely false.”

Rodriguez issued a statement Sunday in response to a second legal claim brought by his former administrative assistant. Melissa Wilhelmsen is seeking $8.5 million from the University of Arizona, alleging that the school was complicit in Rodriguez creating a hostile work environment and sexually harassing her.

Wilhelmsen filed a $7.5 million claim against Rodriguez last month. Rodriguez was fired Jan. 2. The UA hired Kevin Sumlin last Sunday to replace him.

“I am aware of the amended complaint and the absolutely false claims,” Rodriguez said via Twitter. “My family and I are eager for our side of the story to be told. The truth will come out, and the plaintiffs’ motives will be plain to see.

“It is important to remember that there was an extensive investigation into the matter that found no wrongdoing by me. Additionally, I took an independent polygraph test that confirmed I been have truthful throughout the investigation.”

In the second claim, Wilhelmsen and her husband accuse Rodriguez of slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on Jan. 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to players at a team meeting run by interim coach Marcel Yates on that date.

The claim was filed Friday with the Arizona Board of Regents, which has 60 days to respond before Wilhelmsen can pursue it in court.


Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.