Former Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings filed a lawsuit against the school and athletic director Kirby Hocutt on Tuesday.
Stollings was fired on Aug. 6, a day after USA Today published a story detailing a reported culture of physical and emotional abuse in the Lady Raiders program. In Stollings’s two years as head coach of the program, 12 players left amid allegations of abuse.
The lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 20 in U.S. District Court in Lubbock, Texas, claims fraudulent inducement, fraud, breach of contract, defamation and sex discrimination.
“This termination could not properly have been for cause,” the lawsuit said. “Texas Tech’s own internal reviews had found — accurately — that Coach Stollings had not taken any actions which were in violation of her employment contract.”
The lawsuit says Stollings was fired due to “discriminatory biases against female coaches.”
“Texas Tech and Mr. Hocutt regularly, and in this instance in particular, penalized female coaches for employing the same demanding and effective coaching techniques that male coaches utilize and utilized without consequence.”
The lawsuit also states that the school’s decision to terminate Stollings was “a part of Texas Tech’s and Mr. Kirby’s mistreatment of members of the gay and lesbian community.”
“Coach Stollings is one of four members of that community who have been victimized in 2020 alone by Defendants’ discriminatory treatment of community members employed by the Texas Tech Athletic Department.”
In a press release posted on Stollings’s Facebook page, her counsel said: “Two internal investigations had already revealed the complaints that formed the basis of the article to be false and completely exonerated Stollings and the Lady Raiders basketball program.”
Texas Tech University System General Counsel Eric Bentley issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the lawsuit.
“I have reviewed the claims made by Marlene Stollings in her lawsuit and they are without merit. Her dismissal was handled in accordance with her contract and was appropriate from a legal standpoint,” he said, according to KCBD. “Her mistreatment of student-athletes and the public embarrassment it caused the university was unacceptable. I am confident in the defense of our leadership, who did the right thing to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes.”