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Jimmy Williams’ $1 million settlement with Minnesota overturned


If you’re going to be changing jobs, don’t quit your first job until you’ve talked to the boss -- the real boss -- at your new gig.

Jimmy Williams learned that the hard way. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a 2010 ruling that awarded Williams more than $1 million over a rescinded job offer with Minnesota’s basketball team.

The long and short of it is that in 2007, Williams was an assistant with Oklahoma State with one year left on his contract when Tubby Smith guaranteed him a spot as an assistant coach on his staff. Williams quit his job with the Cowboys and began making plans to make his way up to Minneapolis. The problem? Williams was on the Minnesota staff in the 1970’s, when NCAA violations were committed. Williams never disclosed this information to Smith, which didn’t sit well with the decision makers at Minnesota, including Athletic Director Joel Maturi.

After years of legal wrangling, Williams will not be getting any money from the Gophers:

The court rejected the U’s claims that the case was outside the district court’s jurisdiction, but ruled that because Williams’ job negotiations with Gophers head basketball coach Tubby Smith, “does not involve a professional, fiduciary, or other special legal relationship,” he is not entitled to protection.

“We believe that the manner in which [the U] treated Williams regarding his prospective employment with the University was unfair and disappointing,” Justice Christopher Dietzen wrote. “We do not condone their conduct. But the question we must decide is whether appellants owed Williams a duty of care and, therefore, whether appellants’ conduct is actionable.”

Williams is currently an assistant with Memphis. Prior to joining that staff in 2011, “Williams had been training players by himself and also working with players at the prestigious John Lucas Camp in Houston since 2007,” according to the Memphis website.

(Photo credit: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.