Fired Soccer Coach Sues Nevada; Says NCAA Rules Broken

RENO Nev.

Nevada’s former women’s soccer coach filed a lawsuit against university officials on Thursday, claiming she was fired in retaliation for complaining about NCAA rules violations and discrimination against her players.

Terri Patraw, who led the Wolf Pack to their best record ever and first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, said she was given no reason for her firing in late August.

The lawsuit filed in Washoe County District Court by Reno lawyer Jeffrey Dickerson seeks Patraw’s reinstatement and unspecified restitution.

It provides no details of the alleged NCAA violations, discrimination or a claim she also was subjected to sexual harassment.

Nevada athletic director Cary Groth, university president Milton Glick, school lawyer Mary Dugan and the Nevada System of Higher Education are named as defendants.

Patraw complained to an unnamed supervisor “regarding matters of public concern, to include violations of NCAA regulations which govern national collegiate sports,” the lawsuit said.

She also complained about “discriminatory treatment against students and players involved in her athletic program,” the lawsuit said.

Patraw was “informed and believes that Groth feared that plaintiff had taken or would take these concerns outside” the university, the lawsuit said. “This was, (Patraw) is informed and believes, an additional motivating factor for her termination.”

Rhonda Lundin, director of media services for Nevada’s athletic department, said she had not seen the lawsuit. She said Groth was attending a function Thursday night and could not be reached immediately for comment.

Officials in the university’s communications department did not immediately return telephone messages or e-mails seeking comment Thursday night.

Groth said at the time that Patraw had submitted her resignation over the weekend of Aug. 25-26.

But Patraw said she rescinded the resignation within an hour of submitting it. She told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Aug. 28 that she had been in the midst of contract negotiations and had just been offered a contract extension and raise when Groth fired her.

“I told her some things she didn’t want to hear,” she told the newspaper.

The lawsuit said that as a result of the firing Patraw suffered past and future damages, “including emotional distress, mental anguish, harm to reputation, humiliation, grief, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, harm to career.”

The value of those damages will be proved at trial, the suit said.

Dickerson did not immediately return telephone calls seeking additional comment Thursday night. Patraw’s home phone number is not listed.

Patraw (pronounced PAT-truh) coached Arizona State to a No. 13 national ranking in 2000 then took three years off to get her masters degree in business at the school before she was hired at Nevada in 2004.

She led Nevada to records of 2-15-1 in 2004, 11-7-2 in 2005 and a school-best 13-5-4 in 2006. The team won its first Western Athletic Conference title last year and advanced to the national tournament for the first time, losing in the first round to Stanford, 2-1.

A former high school coach in Madison, Wis., Patraw also served as an assistant at Washington State and Kentucky. In college, she was a starter on Wisconsin’s Final Four squad in 1988 and was elected to her high school’s athletic hall of fame in Arden Hills, Minn.



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