More Light Shed on Former Fencing Coach's Departure from Penn State
A letter obtained by StateCollege.com may help explain why former Penn State men’s and women’s fencing head coach Emmanuil Kaidanov was reportedly let go from Penn State.
The letter was sent to Penn State Vice President, General Counsel Stephen Dunham and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner. It was given to StateCollege.com by a source close to the situation -- under the condition that the source's name not be revealed. The letter indicates that Kaidanov was discharged for retaliating against a secretary he could not fire.
The letter was written by Kaidanov's attorney Alvin de Levie,. de Levie says the allegation that Kaidanov retaliated against the secretary stemmed from "a conversation he had with [the secretary] that resulted in no punitive action against her."
In the letter, de Levie further argues that the allegation will have a "stigmatizing impact on him and will substantially impair his ability to coach elsewhere and certainly damage his good name."
De Levie said in a phone conversation that Kaidanov's firing was rushed and an overreaction by Penn State.
"It was a huge overreaction. In fact he never did retaliate against this woman," de Levie said. "It's just a contrived situation and [Penn State] mistakenly fired him... the question is why?"
The alleged retaliation occurred in February, de Levie said, and there was a brief meeting Kaidanov had with the university in July before he was fired in August. De Levie said he asked to meet with Penn State on his client's behalf but was told no.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the matter of Kaidanov's departure is confidential.
"We are not at liberty to discuss it," Powers said in an email. "I can confirm that he no longer is a University employee."
The letter also says that Penn State Kaidanov was not given proper notice of the allegations against him nor did they afford him the opportunity to respond to the allegations. De Levie also wrote in the letter that Kaidanov has always been faithful to Penn State.
"Some have argued that the firing of Coach Kaidanov was to silence legitimate and protected criticism of a public University employee and because of financial constraints associated with Penn State's accepting NCAA sanctions due to the Sandusky scandal," de Levie wrote in the letter.
De Levie wrote in the letter than Kaidanov has filed a grievance with the university, but that Kaidanov and his representatives should sit down with Penn State officials to discuss the issues of the dismissal. De Levie said he and his client are still deciding what to do legally.
"it’s a daily evaluation of whats going to happen and we take it day by day," de Levie said.
Kaidanov has led his fencing teams to a combined 12 National Collegiate Athletic Assocation championships. His teams won NCAA crowns in 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2009,2010. Kaidanov's fencers have earned 28 NCAA Individual Titles.
Wieslaw Glon was named interim Head Coach for the men's and women's fencing teams after serving as Associate Head Coach for the past few years.