Emails between former Montana Tech A.D., Chancellor raise more questions than answers
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 07:03:44 PM MST
We dug into emails between former Montana Tech Athletic Director Charles Bradley and his bosses the month leading up to his firing.
Montana Tech abruptly terminated Bradley less than a year after he was hired. Bradley told NBC Montana that leaders at Tech never told him why he was fired.
The same day Bradley was let go, Head Women's Basketball Coach Deann Craft and one her assistants stepped down in support of Bradley.
Two days later, Tech announced former Football Coach Bob Green would be taking over as Interim Athletic Director, and Assistant Women's Basketball Coach Lindsie Wilson had been selected as Interim Head Coach.
NBC Montana filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking emails between Bradley and his direct supervisors during his last month on the job. We found they raise more questions than answers.
Between December 15 and January 17, then-Athletic Director Bradley sent or received just 21 emails between Chancellor Donald Blackketter and Vice Chancellor Joe McClafferty.
NBC Montana shared the emails with Bradley's Attorney, Wayne Harper, to try and get some answers.
"He thought these emails reflected what little communication he had," said Harper about Bradley.
Some of the emails refer to the Digger Athletic Association, the nonprofit that raises money for Tech athletics, saying the DAA's executive board would like details on its responsibility to the board. But others show Bradley asking for support from the administration.
In an email to Blackketter on January 9, Bradley writes, "I'm working very hard to keep the drama away from you but I need your support."
We asked Bradley's attorney to help explain the context behind that email.
"He just wanted some support and discussion on that. To make sure that the protocol would remain to be 'go to the Athletic Director' and never got any feedback," said Harper.
Harper said some coaches and people with the Athletic Department were going to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors about funding and other issues.
"Obviously they were getting the response and/or the feedback they wanted by going over their boss's head or around him," said Harper.
According to the emails, the Chancellor was on vacation during the time Bradley asked for his support.
"Charles was pretty forthright and he said what he needed and what he thought should be done, protocol and things why never got any responses," said Harper.
The last emails between Bradley and Blackketter, starting on January 15, show that then-Assistant Coach Lindsie Wilson resigned her position. About half of the email is redacted and Wilson's letter of resignation doesn't give a specific reason for leaving the program, only that her last day would be January 20.
But Montana Tech fired Bradley, and Head Women's Basketball Coach Deann Craft stepped down, and Wilson was named Interim Coach.
We contacted Montana Tech but school officials told us they will not comment on personnel matters.
We reached out Wilson to get more details about her resignation. The women's basketball team is on the road today and we will let you know if we hear back.
You can find the emails between Bradley and Blackketter here.