Longtime Bemidji State University head football coach Jeff Tesch was fired on Monday and the union representing him said it planned to file a grievance over the termination.

Tesch had been on paid administrative leave since August after reportedly uttering a racial slur during a preseason practice.

A representative of the Bemidji State University Faculty Association said the grievance could take weeks or months to resolve, and could include mediation or arbitration.

The university did not respond Tuesday to calls for comment.

Late Tuesday it released a statement from Scott Faust, the university’s director of communications and marketing, confirming his dismissal.

“The complaint involving Jeff Tesch is now closed, and he is no longer employed by Bemidji State University,” the statement said.

Tesch also did not return a call for comment, but released a statement through the union:

“I want to thank the Bemidji community for the opportunity to coach this great program for two decades. I want to thank all the players who have touched my life in countless ways. I want to thank the assistant coaches, training staff, field crews, and all the people who put so much effort into making Bemidji State football the top quality program it is.

“Moving forward, I ask the community to please respect my family and the young men of the Bemidji State University football program during this difficult time.”

Tesch, who was placed on paid leave in August before the team’s first game, and two union lawyers last week broke the monthslong silence over the reason behind the leave when the coach spoke to a series of Bemidji-area news outlets.

Tesch told reporters that he was placed on leave after using a racial slur during a preseason practice. He said the football team banded together and said it wouldn’t play for him as long as he was the coach, according to an account in the Bemidji Pioneer.

Tesch compiled a 126-91 record during his 20-year tenure as coach and he was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s coach of the year in 2006.

Defensive coordinator Brent Bolte took over head coaching duties this season and the team is 7-3.