Ex-assistant basketball coach suing St John's over firing

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FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, St. John's head coach Mike Anderson calls to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova in New York. A former St. John's assistant basketball coach is suing the university and Anderson, claiming he was fired because of a health issue. Steve DeMeo says in a lawsuit he was let go in June after telling Anderson about a serious heart condition that necessitated work accommodations due to the pandemic and would likely require additional procedures and medical leave. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A former St. John's assistant basketball coach is suing the university and head coach Mike Anderson, claiming he was fired because of a health issue.

Steve DeMeo says in a lawsuit he was let go in June after telling Anderson about a serious heart condition that necessitated work accommodations due to the pandemic and would likely require additional procedures and medical leave. Previous to that, DeMeo asserts in the suit, Anderson had only praised his job performance.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday by Wigdor LLP in U.S. District Court, alleges DeMeo's dismissal violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, along with New York human rights and labor laws.

“St. John’s University and coach Mike Anderson categorically deny Steve DeMeo’s allegations of wrongdoing, but cannot otherwise comment on pending litigation,” the school said in a statement.

DeMeo, born in New York City near St. John's, spent two seasons at the school as an assistant under Anderson and was recently hired as an assistant coach at East Carolina.

Anderson was the Big East Coach of the Year last season and received a six-year contract extension from St. John's in May after leading the Red Storm to a 16-11 record and a surprising fourth-place finish in the conference standings.

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