Strong and Texas players could testify in dispute
Nov. 19, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An attorney for Oklahoma State said Wednesday the school could seek sworn testimony from Texas football coach Charlie Strong, Longhorns players and school administrators in its fight to recover nearly $600,000 from former Cowboys assistant Joe Wickline, who is now at Texas.
Oklahoma State sued Wickline in October for breach of contract, saying a clause in his contract let him leave without financial penalty only if he took a job with play-calling duties. Wickline countersued in Austin, saying he does call plays, even though Strong has said another assistant, Shawn Watson, is the "final voice" in games.
Oklahoma State is prepared to question Strong and others in pursuing its case, Oklahoma State lawyer Sean Breen said.
"Coaches, players, administrators, ex-players ... Ultimately, if this case gets to the merits, I think you'll see a lot of people having to answer questions," Breen said.
Oklahoma State filed its lawsuit against Wickline in Payne County, Oklahoma in October.
Breen works in Austin and is defending Oklahoma State against Wickline's lawsuit. His firm also has represented former cyclist Lance Armstrong in myriad civil lawsuits over the past decade.
In court filings in Austin this week, Oklahoma State asked the court to dismiss Wickline's lawsuit, arguing he can't sue Oklahoma State and Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder in Texas over his contract in Oklahoma. But if the motion to dismiss fails, Oklahoma State notes the school reserves the right to "plead and prove all claims," including whether Wickline acted in "concert or conspiracy with other persons and/or entities."
That's when Oklahoma State likely would pursue testimony from Strong and others, Breen said.
A Texas spokesman declined comment.
Texas has not been named as a defendant in either case. Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson said earlier this week he doesn't expect that to change, calling the lawsuits a "dispute between an employee and a former employer."
Patterson said he spoke with Strong about Wickline's Oklahoma State contract before Texas hired Wickline.
"We had a conversation and the expectation was, 'He's going to be calling plays, right? Right,'" Patterson said.