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Kaidanov, Penn State Resolve Wrongful Termination Suit

A year and a half after filing a lawsuit against his former employer, fencing coach Emmanuil Kaidanov has reached a settlement with Penn State.

The university announced on Friday night that the suit has been resolved, but provided no detail on what the settlement entailed.

“Penn State and Coach Kaidanov are pleased to announce that the parties have amicably resolved their differences and the civil action by agreement has been dismissed,” the university said in its statement.

Kaidanov was fired by the university after a 31-year career heading the Nittany Lions fencing program, a tenure that included 12 national championships and four NCAA Coach of the Year nods. He was suing the university for damages and reinstatement to his old job, alleging that he was wrongfully terminated after being accused of retaliation against an employee.

In Feb. 2013, a university staff member reported she saw a female fencer holding a marijuana joint. It was later determined to be a rolled up piece of athletic tape, and the student athlete passed a drug test.

Kaidanov admittedly approached the staff member at a later date and expressed that he was upset she didn’t come to him first. According to his termination letter sent by then athletic director David Joyner and athletics integrity officer Julie Del Giorno, this incident was considered a retaliatory action against an employee, which is grounds for firing.

While the university called that an act of retaliation, Kaidanov said in his complaint that he was obligated by Penn State policy to “ensure that each individual is treated with fairness and provided with the optimal opportunity to excel.”

It was a surprising personnel decision when Kaidanov lost his job in August 2013. A total of 28 fencers won individual national titles during his 31 years at Penn State and he was widely considered to be the best fencing coach in the country.

Kaidanov and his attorneys were not immediately available for comment on the settlement.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


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