Penn State suing ex-assistant Bob Shoop for breach of contract (Update)

After two seasons, Bob Shoop left Penn State for Tennessee. (Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/TNS via Getty Images)

UPDATE July 6, 6:30 p.m. ET

Shoop has filed a counter-claim to Penn State’s lawsuit. He said in his claim that he was technically fired from Penn State before taking the Tennessee job and that he was subject to a “hostile” work environment and his work conditions had become “intolerable.”


Penn State is suing former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop for breach of contract.

The school is seeking $891,856 from Shoop, who left PSU in January 2016 to take the same job at Tennessee. The suit stems from a clause in Shoop’s contract at Penn State, where he coached in 2014 and 2015.


A clause in his contract stated if Shoop resigned before his contract expired on Feb. 15, 2018, he had to pay Penn State liquidated damages of 50 percent “of his base pay” for the remainder of his contract, according to the court documents. The contract stated Shoop wouldn’t have to pay PSU back, if he became the head coach at another university within one year of the date of his resignation.

The university claims that, with over two years remaining on his contract when Shoop resigned, he owes $891,856, the court records state.

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In the lawsuit, Penn State says Shoop, “through counsel, has indicated a refusal” to make the payment. Thusly, the school filed the suit in June. It was subsequently moved to U.S. Middle District Court earlier this week, per PennLive.

Via the Centre Daily Times, Penn State released a statement about the situation Tuesday morning:

“Under the terms of his employment contract with Penn State, Coach Shoop is obligated to make a liquidated damages payment to the University resulting from the termination by Coach Shoop of his employment prior to the end of the contract term. We are filing suit against him to recover this mutually agreed upon amount.”

When Shoop left Penn State for Tennessee, then-Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said publicly that Shoop intended to financially cover the buyout associated with his job change.

“It’s a very, very loud statement about how bad Bob wanted to be a part of what is going on here in our football program,” Hart told of Shoop’s decision to pay his own buyout. “He was willing to handle that, and we were able to move forward then in a very rapid fashion to try to get something, which we were able to do.”

Per PennLive, Shoop’s “memorandum of understanding” with Tennessee is included in court documents associated with the suit. It says Shoop “is solely responsible for satisfying any buyout or liquidation damages provision(s) between Coach and Pennsylvania State University and/or other prior institutions.”

Shoop coached alongside Penn State head coach James Franklin for five seasons — three at Vanderbilt and two at Penn State. Shoop’s unit was the second-best in the country in 2014. With other schools interested in Shoop’s services, Penn State gave him a three-year extension ahead of the 2015 season.

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In 2015, Penn State had the No. 14 defense in the country under Shoop. This didn’t go as well in 2016 at Tennessee as the Vols were 95th nationally in total defense, allowing 449.2 yards per game.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!