There are overbearing parents of players, and now overbearing donors to programs…
HARTFORD, Conn. -- A major benefactor to the University of Connecticut wants the school to return $3 million in donations and remove his family name from its football complex [b]because he says he was shut out of discussions about the selection of a new football coach[/b].
Robert Burton, chief executive officer of Greenwich, Conn.-based Burton Capital Management, said in a Jan. 19 letter to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway that his opinions were ignored and he did not support the way Paul Pasqualoni was selected as coach.
Burton called the situation “a slap in the face and embarrassment to my family,” and said he planned “to let the correct people know that you did not listen to your number one football donor.” He called the search process flawed.
“We want our money and respect back,” Burton wrote to Hathaway.
Burton, who played college football at Murray State, said although he was not seeking veto power in the hiring, he “earned my voice on this subject” as the program’s top donor. He said he has hired lawyers to enforce his demand to get his donations back.
The Day newspaper of New London first reported news of the letter Tuesday and the response from UConn, which has not said whether it will return the donations or remove the name from the Burton Family Football Complex.
“The primary reason [former UConn coach] Randy [Edsall] took another job is because he couldn’t work with you,” Burton wrote to Hathaway, according to The Day. “You are not qualified to be a Division I AD and I would have fired you a long time ago. You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors.”
In a written statement on behalf of UConn and Hathaway, the athletic department said that Burton was among many interested people who offered input, and that Hathaway “did receive and acknowledge” Burton’s advice before Pasqualoni was hired.
“In the end, the decision was appropriately made by the university in the best interests of UConn and our football program,” the statement said.