From Purple to Penn

December 1997: Northwestern expresses interest in Andrew Coates, a junior forward at Eastside Catholic High School near Seattle.

April 1998: Coates sends two game tapes to NU coach Kevin O’Neill.

May 1998: After receiving the tapes, O’Neill e-mails Coates: “We want to make you a Wildcat,” he writes.

June 1998: Coates and his family visit NU and meet with O’Neill’s staff and University President Henry Bienen. O’Neill pushes for a verbal commitment and Coates eventually accepts NU’s offer.

July 1998: O’Neill sees Coates play for the first time at the Nike All-American summer camp. Hampered by sickness and injury, Coates plays poorly. After the camp O’Neill tells Coates’ father NU is no longer interested in his son.

July-September 1998: Coates’ father pens a letter to Bienen, who writes in a reply that the situation is “unfortunate” and that he thinks NU will honor the contract. Coates writes a second letter and receives no reply.

December 1998: Coates is slowed by injuries during his senior year and does not receive any postseason honors. He commits to the University of Pennsylvania.

November-December 1999: Injured in his first game at Penn, Coates has surgery and will sit out the season. The Coates family discusses a settlement with NU officials, but Coates’ father labels the talks “unproductive.”

March 2000: The Coates family files suit in Seattle, seeking unspecified damages against the university. Suit heads to federal court.