A basketball coach fired in Kentucky reportedly says she plans on taking legal action against her high school after being told its officials “wanted more white coaches and white players.”
USA Today reported Friday that LaVonda Johnson was sacked as Bowling Green High School’s girls basketball coach the day before.
Johnson said in a statement Thursday that her assistant coaches were canned after the 2015-16 season.
“During a meeting to discuss that decision, we were told by Principal William King that he wanted the coaching staff and team to ‘reflect the diversity of the school,’” wrote Johnson, who is African-American.
“When asked whether that meant he wanted more white coaches and white players, he responded, ‘Yes.’ Needless to say, we were shocked and offended by this statement.”
Some Twitter users on Friday criticized Bowling Green High School for ousting Johnson following her 254-56 record over 10 seasons.
This is bad for the city of Bowling Green. The school board should have stepped up. She is a great coach.— CP Price (@All_American_Me) August 4, 2017
King on Thursday called Johnson’s statement about their past conversation a “bold-faced lie” before adding he could not discuss her firing further.
“[It’s] because it’s a personnel matter,” he said. “I never said that and never would say anything like that.”
Johnson has reportedly filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the incident.
The former basketball coach has also purportedly lodged complaints with the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education and the Kentucky High School Athletic Administration.
King said all three agencies probed Johnson’s allegations “and found none of her claims to be correct.”
The Bowling Green Daily News on Friday obtained a memorandum of termination from superintendent Gary Field.
The memorandum reportedly cites an alleged pattern of Johnson failing to treat “student players with dignity and respect” as the rationale for her ouster.
Johnson led the Bowling Green High School Purples to four Fourth Region championships during her tenure there.
The 2010-11 squad under her watch, meanwhile, posted the program’s first-ever victory in Kentucky’s state tournament while finishing 25-2 that season.