Hartford coach John Gallagher resigns day before program's final D-I season

Hartford men's basketball coach John Gallagher has resigned, one day before the program's final season in Division I was set to begin.

Gallagher informed school president Greg Woodward on Monday that he was stepping down from his position and accused the university of breaching his contract and jeopardizing player safety and well-being.

In his resignation letter, a copy of which ESPN obtained, Gallagher said the university did not send an athletic trainer to Hartford's preseason scrimmage Oct. 28 against Dartmouth. During the scrimmage, Gallagher wrote, a Hartford player was injured and did not receive timely treatment.

"At least one parent has expressed outrage at this situation," Gallagher wrote. "This is something that I, as a coach, cannot tolerate."

Gallagher also stated that the school has not provided any arrangements for the program to pay for student-athlete meals when on the road.

Hartford released a statement Monday refuting Gallagher's claims.

"First and foremost, the safety of our students is our top priority. The University confirmed Dartmouth College would have an athletic trainer on site for our recent scrimmage, who could assist both UHart and Dartmouth student-athletes. This is an institution with highly qualified medical staff and facilities. Additionally, other members of our staff have always had a University-sponsored credit card for planned meals and expenses," the statement read.

"Mr. Gallagher's resignation letter is full of inaccuracies. We are confident that these baseless claims and attacks will be disproved through the legal process. We wish Mr. Gallagher well and look forward to announcing interim leadership for our men's basketball program."

Hartford's board of regents voted in May 2021 to transition the school's athletic programs from Division I to Division III. The men's basketball program, formerly a member of the America East Conference, is competing this season as an independent. The university announced over the summer it had been accepted as a member of Division III's Commonwealth Coast Conference beginning in 2023-24.

Gallagher reportedly sued a member of the university's board of regents in August, alleging that he declined in the spring of 2021 to join Porter Moser's staff at Oklahoma as an assistant coach after receiving assurances Hartford would remain in Division I.

Gallagher joined Hartford in 2011, leading the Hawks to a surprise run through the America East Conference tournament and their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2021. Hartford finished above .500 in four of the past five seasons under Gallagher.