Over the last month, former Florida State head strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderindre, has been embroiled in a lawsuit that was filed in 2019 which finally went to trial in April. The case stemmed from the aftermath of offseason workouts that Oderinde conducted shortly after he arrived at the University of Oregon in the same role after he followed former head coach Willie Taggart from USF.
Following a 2017 workout that left three Oregon players hospitalized, including former offensive lineman Doug Brenner, Oderinde was suspended without pay by the school for a month. The players suffered from rhabdomyolysis due to the intensity of the session. Per the CDC, it's a serious medical condition that can be fatal or result in permanent disability. Rhabdo occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death.
The lawsuit also stated that Oderinde did not carry industry-required certification to be a strength and conditioning coach for the school. At the time, his certification was from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). That program has been scrutinized because it requires far less coursework than the certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) or the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA), two of the leading organizations in the field.
In the wake of the proceedings, Oderinde testified that he had been fired from USF. Prior to being let go, he was serving as the head strength and conditioning coach for the women's basketball team. Previously, he worked with the men's golf team as well as the football team during his first stint at the university.
Brenner was at the forefront of the lawsuit after suing Oderine, Taggart, the University of Oregon, and the NCAA for an eye-popping $125.5 million. On Thursday, Brenner chose to accept a settlement with Oregon and dismissed his claims against Oderinde and Taggart in the process. The financial terms of the settlement were not immediately made public.
While speaking during the trial, Oderinde offered a public apology to Brenner and the two other players that were injured during the workouts in 2017.
“I feel like I owe him a public apology,” Oderinde said according to Oregon Live. “Doug, to you, your mother, your sister, to Sam (Poutasi), to Cam (McCormick), I’m sincerely sorry. It was not my intent. Not by any means. The person that I am and I think you know. That wasn’t my intent and I’m sincerely sorry for that.”
“You never want kids to be injured in anyways, especially from a workout or even at practice,” Oderinde continued. “But at the same time, you want to push kids and you want to push them safely. I feel like with today’s outcome, I believe Doug understands our intent was never for that, it was to build young men and to build a team.”
Taggart and Oderinde worked together at South Florida, Oregon, and Florida State. After the former was fired by the Seminoles in 2019, the two parted ways. Oderinde returned to USF in a lesser role while Taggart took over as the head coach at Florida Atlantic.
Though the lawsuit is off of his shoulders, Oderinde will now have to look for a new job.
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