Fired USF Basketball Coach Should Be Reinstated, Judge Says
TAMPA, Fla. A judge recently recommended that the fired coach of the University of South Florida’s women’s basketball team be reinstated, saying the university did not prove she mistreated the team’s Black players. Jerry Ann Winters should receive back pay for the months she has been out of a job and be returned to the head coach’s spot, said Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Judge William F. Quattlebaum. “It’s a great relief for Coach Winters,” says her attorney Robert McKee, who said Winters wants to return to her job despite what has transpired. “I think she was relieved. She’s happy for some good news after being beat up over this.”But USF President Judy Genshaft issued a statement saying the university stands behind its case against Winters and says the judge had a “technical” disagreement without saying how USF conducted its investigation. “No quibbling over policy can change the facts,” Genshaft said in the statement. Winters has long maintained she is not a racist and denied allegations that she segregated and demeaned Blacks on her team. Those allegations are the subject of a series of lawsuits filed by eight former team members (see Black Issues, Oct. 26, 2000). Quattlebaum noted that the university did not present key witnesses in the case, including Dione Smith, the player who allegedly was the target of Winters’ wrath. Smith was a star player who was dismissed from the team after her relationship with Winters deteriorated. Smith has said she believes she was thrown off the team because she complained about Winters’ treatment of Blacks. Winters counters that Smith was a discipline problem. The judge said the university failed to present enough evidence in the case. The university can take the matter to its new board of trustees for a decision on whether to appeal the ruling.
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