Fired head coach calls discrimination because of his sexual orientation? Not something you want to have to deal with in your first few months as an athletic director.
But that's what Ed McLaughlin is facing. Women's volleyball coach James Finley was let go after one of the best seasons in the team's history. His team was told that Finley was let go because the school needed someone who would "better represent the university".
And Finley is openly gay.
In addition, another staffer has been demoted by McLaughlin, and she is also openly gay.
Those are the only two members of the athletic department that have had their positions changed since McLaughlin took over.
So VCU has a mess on his hands.
Do I think that McLaughlin has something against gay people? No. But that certainly does not change how this looks.
The University is stuck in a corner. McLaughlin cannot publicly say why Finley did not have his contract renewed, because that would violate the school's code.
I can't image that Finley did anything egregious that cost him his job - because why would he be fighting to get his job back? (Which he is.. the school is having its own internal investigation about whether or not Finley deserved to lose his job).
A coach getting fired when a new athletic director comes aboard is nothing new, especially in a non-revenue sport. A new guy comes, and he wants to pick and choose who comes with him.
Unfortunately for McLaughlin, this is not your typical situation.
As an openly gay coach, I'm sure Finley just wants to be treated like any other coach. Unfortunately, many coaches get fired by the new ADs for reasons that aren't apparent to them.
A similar situation is happening at the University of Colorado. Jon Embree was fired after his second year as their head football coach, after two of the worst seasons in the program's history. The man before him, Dan Hawkins, had five almost equally dismal seasons as head coach. Embree is black, Hawkins was white. One former Buffaloes coach says Embree's firing "offends every person of color."
No one wants to lose their job. And when they do, and don't get an answer that is satisfactory as to why, they believe that their employer must have had some sort of grudge against them.
And if you're a minority, that's discrimination.
And in the public eye, that's a mess.
Even though that's not fair for McLaughlin, he should've seen this coming.
So whether he's a bigot or not, McLaughlin still has some cleaning up to do.
Ignoring questions will not let it go away. Having all members of your athletic staff read from a statement will not let it go away.
He has to come out with answers, or this is going to stain his reign at VCU before it even really begins.
Source : http://blogs.nbc12.com/marcmadness/2012/11/vcu-has-mess-on-its-hands.html