The Insider: Three former coaches file suit against UMD
Former University of Minnesota Duluth coaches Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles took their grievances against their former employer to the next level Monday morning by filing an eight-count complaint against the University of Minnesot...
Former University of Minnesota Duluth coaches Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles took their grievances against their former employer to the next level Monday morning by filing an eight-count complaint against the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in U.S. District Court.
The lawsuit by the three openly gay female coaches, who held a news conference later in the day in Eden Prairie, includes claims of discrimination based on age, gender, sexual orientation and - in the case of Canadians Banford and Miller - national origin.
“Sexism and homophobia are alive and well at the University of Minnesota,” said Miller, who led the Bulldogs to five NCAA national championships as women’s hockey coach, on Monday at the offices of a Twin Cities law firm. “The previous administration supported women’s sports and the rights of lesbian coaches and students. Changes in the campus leadership and hiring of the new athletic director led to the purge of the women you see before you today.”
Miller and her attorneys, Dan Siegel of Oakland, Calif., and Donald Chance Mark Jr. of Eden Prairie, were the only ones to speak Monday at the law firm.
Banford, the former softball coach, and Wiles, the former women’s basketball coach, declined to speak with the media through their attorneys.
The three former UMD coaches and their lawyers are seeking a jury trial, and while no dollar amounts were mentioned in the news conference or lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking back pay, front pay, damages for emotional distress, compensatory damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and prejudgment interest.
Initial proceedings are expected to begin next month, Siegel said.
The lawsuit outlines concerns over disparities in the treatment of men’s and women’s sports programs at UMD and claims that university administrators discriminated against the three coaches and failed to investigate reports of harassment and discrimination.
In a telephone interview, UMD Chancellor Lendley Black said he wouldn’t respond to specific allegations in the lawsuit, but he defended the school’s handling of the situation.
“I would say that we do take all matters of concern that are expressed to us seriously, and we do investigate,” Black said.
Kubesh All-Around Player of the Week
Ridgewater freshman volleyball player Baylie Kubesh was named the MCAC-South All-Around Player of the Week.
Kubesh had 2.8 kills/set, and added 2.5 digs, 0.5 blocks, 0.66 aces and 0.67 assists for the Warriors (5-2, 12-4).
West Central Conference Performers Of The Week
Boys: Josh Bailey, Benson
Girls: Savannah Aanerud, Morris/CA
Anna Grove, Morris/CA
Erin Bissett/Chelsey Niemeyer, YME
Peyton Weis, BOLD
- Tribune Sports