SHAWNEE — St. Gregory’s University released a statement Friday saying Matt Aguero, the school’s former track and cross country coach, engaged in unethical conduct when he recorded a conversation about his firing.
In response to the statement, Aguero told The Oklahoman on Friday he was “shocked and disappointed.”
Athletic Director Jeff Potter fired Aguero on April 23 after Aguero returned from running the Boston Marathon. Aguero was suspended for running the 2013 Boston Marathon, and ran again in 2014 against Potter’s wishes.
Aguero recorded a 38-minute conversation he had with Potter and Cheri Boyd, SGU’s director of human resources, after his initial firing.
Deadspin, a sports news and commentary web site, first reported the story, along with Aguero’s recording.
“The content of that discussion and the larger situation have been significantly distorted,” SGU President D. Gregory Main said in the statement.
“St. Gregory’s makes its personnel decisions carefully, and we protect our employees’ confidentiality, including Mr. Aguero’s and our Athletic Director Dr. Jeff Potter’s.”
For Aguero, the statement only made matters worse.
“I feel like all this they brought up is their way of distorting things,” he said.
Aguero ran the marathon on April 21, the day after Easter. Aguero told The Oklahoman on Thursday he saw no harm in missing that Monday because the university did not have classes.
“Even though no classes were held on the day of the Boston Marathon, it was indeed an official work day for staff and that was communicated in the employee handbook and on the University calendar on the campus intranet,” Main said.
Aguero said it was not made clear that employees had to work that Monday, and he said most coaches were not at the school that day.
“I believe I was the only coach that was let go for missing that Monday, and I know there were several other coaches, if not all of them, that weren’t on campus that Monday,” Aguero said. “I know my assistant coaches weren’t.”
In the recording, Aguero asks Potter if he would have been fired had he went to his mother’s house in Poteau instead of running the marathon. Potter said no.
Main’s statement also calls Aguero’s conduct after his firing unethical.
“The audiotape Mr. Aguero made public also partially discloses other performance factors that were involved in the decision,” Main said. “Unfortunately, his release of the tape also unethically violates the confidentiality of several of our students and recruits.”
In the recording, Potter and Aguero discuss student-athlete Vivien Majorel. Potter did not approve of Aguero allowing Majorel to go back to his home country of France to be with his dying grandfather.
Aguero said he spoke with Majorel after Deadspin released the article.
“The only athlete that is talked about by name is Vivien Majorel, and I got a message from him yesterday and talked to him today,” Aguero said. “He was very happy with the recording and the article that came out because he felt it would show that Dr. Potter treated him unfairly as well.”
In the conclusion of his statement, Main appeals to SGU’s status as a “caring community of Catholic faith and learning based on Benedictine values.” Main said SGU is “proud of (its) integrity, which includes holding everyone accountable for their actions.”
However, the statement did nothing to change Aguero’s stance.
“Some of the comments the president made, I wonder if he even listened to the audio recording at all,” Aguero said.