Lechnir along with his attorney Jason Wied met with the media Monday in Green Bay to explain why they believe Lechnir will not return to his position after 25-years as head coach. In his opening statement, Wied said the University mishandled the funding of Alumni Stadium and now Lechnir was being blamed for debts associated with the project.
"We believe he was treated unfairly and that he has been unnecessarily and wrongly blamed for actions that were not his, and not his responsibility," Wied said.
According to appeal documents provided by Lechnir, his contract was not renewed because of unsatisfactory performance in "fundraising, student athlete retention and academic success, administrative duties, and community relations and engagement."
Lechnir and Weid refuted each of those claims Monday, citing 20-plus years of positive reviews which they say changed when Daryl Sims took over as Athletic Director in 2010.
"In one specific instance he was handed a job evaluation which wasn't favorable, but at that point hadn't become a surprise to Tom," Wied said. "Only to find out that the AD actually drafted a much worse job evaluation and had electronically filed that as the actual job evaluation. Tom found that out after the fact."
Wied also alleges that Lechnir was once given a performance review with the boxes all checked "renew" which were later altered by one individual to "non-renewed."
"We're not really commenting on the personnel matters involving Coach Lechnir right simply because he has exercised his right to an appeal," says UW-Oshkosh Director of News Services and Public Relations Alex Hummel. "There's a special panel of peer employees here that hears those kind of appeals, and right now they are weighing whether or not to open up a hearing."
The main area of contention continues to be the funding of Alumni Stadium. Lechnir and Wied say $550,000 dollars in private donations have been raised to cover the total cost of the project. The University says the entire Oshkosh Sports Complex is considered one total project which currently has a more than $1.6 million dollar shortfall, including $285,000 dollars in baseball stadium debt."
Hummel says the University recently conducted an audit with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP regarding funding of the Oshkosh Sports Complex and determined "no discrepancies in the reporting of pledges and donations for the supporting documentation that we were able to review and it appears the (UW Oshkosh) Foundation properly recorded all contribution activity related to the Baseball Fund."
"When he started to raise issues about where are these funds going?," said Wied. "Why do you guys keep attributing a debt to me and I don't understand where that debt is coming from? Talking about money possibility being diverted to other places, it became very clear from the behavior pattern of harassment from his supervisors that they didn't want to hear the truth. They didn't want to hear Tom Lechnir question where this money was going."
Lechnir says a conversation with an unnamed vice chancellor made it crystal clear for him what was allegedly happening.
"He told me, Tom we've 'blanked' this whole thing up," said Lechnir. "It's not your responsibility, it's our responsibility. You're going to get the blame. I lost the argument with the other vice chancellor to the chancellor regarding this and she's been given the green light to fire you."
Wied says they are willing to file suit if Lechnir's second appeal isn't heard or fails, while the coach says all he wants is his job back.
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