: USF Must Reconsider Firing Of Women’s Basketball Coach

: USF Must Reconsider Firing Of Women’s Basketball Coach


A state appeals court has ordered University of South Florida officials to reconsider the firing of a women’s basketball coach accused of racial discrimination.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled last month that one of the two reasons on which the university based the firing of Jerry Ann Winters was invalid. USF officials must now decide if they still have grounds for the firing.

The school fired Winters in December 2000 for allegedly retaliating against a player who filed a racial discrimination complaint against the coach, and for lying about her knowledge of the allegations in an affidavit.

The court ruled that Winters did not retaliate against the player, but let stand the school’s conclusion that the former coach breached her contract by lying in the affidavit.

Winters, who is White, kicked Dione Smith, who is Black, off USF’s team shortly after Smith complained about racism by her coach. Smith then filed a federal discrimination lawsuit. She is one of 12 players and a coach to sue, complaining of racism at the school. Both sides have agreed to a settlement, subject to a judge’s approval (see Black Issues, Sept. 26).

Winters, who took the case to the appellate court in attempt to get her job back, said she was “extremely satisfied” with last month’s ruling.

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