Former Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller is one of three ex-coaches at the school that are suing UMD for discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age and national origin, according to a published report Monday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The suit against the school’s Board of Regents was filed Monday in U.S. District Court, demands a jury trial and asks for back pay, future pay and damages for emotional distress.
Shannon Miller, Jen Banford (softball) and Annette Wiles (women’s basketball) are all openly gay and all claim their gender and sexual orientation played a role in losing their jobs UMD.
Miller coached the Bulldogs from 1999 to 2015, going 383-144-50 over that span and winning three regular-season WCHA titles, four postseason playoff championships and going to the NCAA tournament 10 times, winning five national championships.
In addition to the discrimination claim, their lawsuit alleges the school “created a hostile work environment, violated equal pay laws and Title IX principles and retaliated against the women.”
Attorney Dan Siegel called the situation “a purge of women coaches at the University of Minnesota Duluth.”
UMD chancellor Lendley C. Black denies the allegations.
“We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion here at UMD,” Black said in the article. “I’m quite confident that throughout this process, it will be made clear that our decisions were made in the best interests of UMD. I’m confident we made the right decisions.”
UMD informed Miller and Banford in December 2014 that their contracts would not be renewed for 2015-16 and then Wiles resigned in June.
Miller made the comment Monday that there are too many men “with 19th-century attitudes” in leadership positions at the school.
“We are shedding some light on some very critical issues,” Miller added in the report. “Sexism and homophobia are alive and well at the University of Minnesota.”