Deaton denies role in Snyder’s leaving

Ex-coach says Gary Link was sent to warn of impending firing.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:16 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Even though his investigation into a meeting between resigned MU basketball coach Quin Snyder and Gary Link is ongoing, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton on Wednesday denied any knowledge of that meeting prior to it taking place.

Deaton announced Tuesday that, at the request of University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd, he would look into the details of the Feb. 9 meeting between Snyder and Link, who is an assistant to MU athletic director Mike Alden.

Later Tuesday at a press conference, Snyder spoke about his conversation with Link, saying that he was told the Athletic Department had the backing of Deaton, Floyd and a Board of Curators member thought to be basketball booster Don Walsworth. Floyd and Walsworth denied Tuesday that they backed any decision that had been made at that time, and Deaton did the same in a statement released Wednesday.

“I was surprised to learn of coach Quin Snyder’s resignation that he announced on Feb. 10,” Deaton’s statement said. The statement also confirmed that Snyder would be terminated if he didn’t meet certain expectations by season’s end, but again denied any knowledge of the Link-Snyder meeting. Snyder also acknowledged during his press conference that there were expectations for his performance.

Still, “I was not aware that any contact was being made with him (Snyder) last week regarding his coaching position at the University,” Deaton’s statement said.

Deaton said Tuesday that the results of his investigation would be available by Wednesday, but MU news bureau spokesperson Mary Jo Banken indicated those would not be available until today at the earliest.

“Chancellor Deaton is currently collecting information from the principals involved in the decision process preceding Quin Snyder’s resignation,” Banken said Wednesday. “That process is taking longer than he had anticipated this morning that it would.”

She would not say who exactly was being contacted, but it is expected that Link, Snyder and Alden will all be asked for their version of events.

Snyder’s and Alden’s accounts contradict each other. Alden said in a press conference Sunday that he sent Link simply to gauge the mood around the team and Snyder, with no instructions regarding Snyder’s job status, whereas Snyder’s comments Tuesday told things quite differently.

“It began with his expression that he could come to me to communicate this information on behalf of the athletic director,” Snyder said of Link’s message that he would be fired. “I was inquiring as to a little more detail into that, and he informed me that he had been told that the president, the chancellor and a key member of the Board of Curators had all approved this decision.”

Gary Link has declined comment since the incident. On Wednesday, he was in Stillwater, Okla., broadcasting the Missouri women’s basketball game against Oklahoma State.

The investigation seemingly hinges on Link’s recollection of the meeting and whether he says he was sent by Alden.

Snyder said there was no misunderstanding as to what he was told, and that he was sure that Link carried the message from Alden.

Floyd’s statement said he wasn’t refuting what Snyder said. Outside his office Wednesday, Floyd said he had spoken with Alden late Tuesday night, but didn’t necessarily address the inclusion of his name in the message Link carried.

“I didn’t ask him about any of that stuff,” Floyd said. “It’s abundantly clear that I didn’t know anything about it, so I don’t need to ask him about a disconnect that I have no involvement in.”

It remains up to Deaton to see who, where and how the situation diverged into two stories.

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