VonAppen, UH settle contract dispute

May 25, 1999

By Stephen Tsai, ADVERTISER STAFF WRITER

Former University of Hawaii football coach Fred vonAppen will be paid a lump sum of $142,000 in a settlement reached with the university yesterday.

UH will draw money from the athletic department's rainy-day fund to pay for the settlement, people familiar with the situation said last night.

The settlement amount is a little less than what vonAppen is owed for a contract that expires in December 2000. VonAppen earns an annual base salary of $103,000.

VonAppen, who was fired last Nov. 30 after going 5-31 in three seasons as UH head coach, was seeking an additional $50,000 a year - the amount he received for television and radio shows last fall.

In a news release, vonAppen said he is satisfied with the settlement.

VonAppen did not return telephone messages left at his home last night. VonAppen's attorney, Guy Sibilla, also did not return The Advertiser's messages.

UH president Kenneth Mortimer told The Advertiser he was "pleased, for all of the parties, that this matter was resolved amicably. Fred can get on with his life and the university can get on with its football program."

After vonAppen was fired following the three worst football seasons in UH history, UH assigned him to serve as special assistant to the Honolulu Community College provost. HCC is part of the UH system. He was to be paid his base salary of $103,000.

But in a lawsuit against UH's Board of Regents, vonAppen disputed UH's claim that he could be reassigned. He also said he was owed the television and radio income.

UH said vonAppen signed a contract that included a reassignment clause and also argued that radio and television payments were year-to-year deals not guaranteed in his arrangement with the school.

Last month in Circuit Court, UH successfully won a motion to resolve the dispute before mediator Gerald Sekiya.

UH and vonAppen apparently reached an agreement before Sekiya could rule. Sekiya could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But a news release from Sekiya's law firm said "all pending issues between the parties have been resolved."

Photo caption:

Fred vonAppen was 5-31 in three seasons as UH football coach.

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