Originally created 07/25/99

Affidavit backs claims against Auburn



AUBURN, Ala. -- Bill Oliver's arrival as Auburn defensive coordinator was shrouded by secrecy, and he left without the head coaching job he was promised and with only one check toward a promised repayment of a $115,000 loan, Oliver's former agent claims in a sworn affidavit.

Oliver is suing the university, Housel and university trustee Bobby Lowder, claiming he was promised the head football coaching job after former coach Terry Bowden's resignation and that Housel and Lowder promised the school would repay a $115,000 loan Oliver took from Colonial Bank. University attorneys have denied his claims.

Ricky Davis, a Florida lawyer and former Alabama football player who represented both Oliver and Bowden, said in the July 15 affidavit filed in Lee County Circuit Court that Auburn Athletic Director David Housel told him repeatedly Auburn "would do the right thing" and "take care" of Oliver, who took over as interim coach after Bowden's departure.

Davis said in the affidavit he suggested to Housel that Oliver be provided with what he felt was reasonable compensation. After that, he said, Housel did not return his numerous phone calls.

When he wrote Housel on April 13 expressing disappointment at his lack of communication, Housel wrote Davis saying "that Auburn had no intention of doing anything further for Oliver," the affidavit said, according to a Huntsville Times report Saturday.

In the affidavit, Davis backs up Oliver's claim that he was promised the head coaching job, and said Bowden and Housel promised him before he became defensive coordinator in 1996 that the loan would be paid off.

Oliver received one check, for $23,000, toward the loan after the 1996 season, but no more, according to Davis' affidavit.

Davis said in the affidavit he and Oliver met with Bowden at Bowden's home on Christmas Eve 1995, before Oliver left Alabama to become Auburn's defensive coordinator.

"An Auburn supporter in Birmingham arranged for Oliver and me to fly to Tuskegee in his private plane, where Bowden would pick us up," Davis said in the affidavit. "Bowden did not want us flying in to Auburn, since he was concerned that Oliver would be recognized and it would get back to Alabama supporters and they would attempt to persuade Oliver to stay at Alabama."

Davis said in the affidavit the loan first came up at that meeting. He said Bowden told him that Lowder had told him "to do whatever it takes to get Oliver to come to Auburn."

Davis said he and Bowden agreed Oliver would not have to pay off the loan, no matter how long he stayed at Auburn.

When Oliver was named defensive coordinator in January, Davis said he and Oliver met with Bowden, Housel, Auburn sports information director Kent Partridge and assistant athletic director Buddy Davidson at an Auburn hotel, where the financial package was reviewed and confirmed.

"I asked that this be put in writing and was told by Housel that Auburn did not have written employment agreements with its assistant coaches and ... was not able to put these terms in writing," Davis said in the affidavit. "Housel, however, never disputed the amounts of Oliver's compensation package, nor did he state that Housel and Auburn had not approved the terms of the package, including the Colonial Bank loan."

Davis said Oliver told him he had been told that he would be permanent head coach at that while he was serving as interim coach he had discussed with Housel who he would hire on his staff.

"On several different occasions, Housel informed me that Housel and Lowder had scheduled meetings for Oliver to meet with Lowder," Davis said in the affidavit. "Housel later informed me that the meetings were canceled because of Housel's and Lowder's concerns that the media would become aware they met."

Davis said Oliver was interested in remaining on the Auburn staff even after Tommy Tuberville was named head coach. He said he passed that on to Housel, who said "he would have Tuberville contact Oliver."

Davis said in the affidavit he periodically telephoned Housel's office to ask about Tuberville's interest in Oliver being on the coaching staff "and, if Tuberville was not interested, to discuss Auburn's commitments to Oliver." He said Housel told him in March that Tuberville was not interested in having Oliver on his staff.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker ordered Oliver's lawsuit into mediation last week.