The ugliness that is the standoff between the UConn football program’s biggest benefactor and Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway reached Gov. Dan Malloy Tuesday with Malloy saying he needs to hear both sides of the story before passing judgment.
The Day of New London broke the story Tuesday. The Burton family of Greenwich—they, of the “Burton Family Football Complex” at UConn—wants its money back, its name off the building and will completely cut off further donations to the football program.
Robert Burton wrote a vitriolic letter to Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway hammering him on several fronts. Copies of the letter, obtained by The Day, were sent Malloy, incoming president Susan Herbst and Lawrence D. McHugh, the chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees. Burton wants his $3 million that paid for the complex returned and his family’s name off the facility.
Burton’s UCONN BURTON LETTER informs Hathaway, “The primary reason [former coach] Randy [Edsall] took another job is because he couldn’t work with you…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.”
The Day reported that Burton has decided:
•The family will not pay for its $50,000-per-year luxury suite at Rentschler Field. “You already have many other empty boxes at Rentschler. My box will just join the list,” Burton wrote.
• The family will not purchase an $8,000 advertisement on the inside cover of the football program.
• All remaining scholarship dollars, including “the current balance” earmarked for football, will be transferred to the business school.
• The family will stop its $20,000 annual donation for a summer coaching clinic and plans to make no future donations to UConn.
• The family, which used the UConn business school to help “train our first line managers” for its business, will use the Syracuse University business school instead.
The Day reported that UConn disputes Burton’s main complaint that he was kept “out of the loop” in the selection of a new coach.