Former Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings filed a federal lawsuit against the school on Tuesday, alleging that she was discriminated against when the university fired her in August, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Stollings alleged several counts of breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent inducement, defamation and sex discrimination in the lawsuit, per the report, but did not seek specific damages.
The 45-year-old, who was hired in 2018, had four years left on her contract.
Stollings fired in August after report of toxic environment
Stollings was fired in August after a USA Today investigation published exit interviews from players, who said they felt isolated and threatened by Stollings, and even alleged that they were admonished for issues like depression.
Some accused former strength and conditioning coach Ralph Petrella, who resigned in March, of berating and sexually harassing them. Stollings said she reported him as soon as she was aware of the allegations against him.
Twelve players left her program during her two seasons there. Athletic director Kirby Hocutt met with several players after the USA Today report was published, and then opted to fire her the next night.
Stollings said she felt she didn’t do enough to defend herself after the allegations came out, and that Hocutt already knew everything in the article before it was posted.
In the lawsuit, Stollings claims that the article had "multiple unsubstantiated claims and factual misrepresentations regarding the Lady Raiders and Coach Stollings, almost entirely from transferring student-athletes and largely echoing the explanations that transferring team members used to try to obtain immediate eligibility at another institution,” per the report.
Stollings alleged in the lawsuit that Hocutt “became afraid that his own position was at risk and began looking to deflect blame.”
She also alleged that she was fired in part because she is gay.
“Defendants also discriminated against Coach Stollings, and others, because she was a member of the gay and lesbian community employed by Texas Tech in the Athletic Department,” the lawsuit reads, per the report.
Stollings, who had coached at Winthrop, VCU and Minnesota, went 32-28 in her two seasons in Lubbock.
"I don't have a history of rules violations. I don't have a history of people calling me abusive and toxic,” she said in September. “What I do have is a history of positively turning around programs, and doing it very quickly at four schools.”
“I absolutely refuse the word toxic, put in any way, appropriately described this program.”
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